I have several external hard drives. They're consumer drives which "go to sleep" (spin down) automatically when unused; I can't (and don't want to) run them 24x7. I use them strictly for backup and long-term storage.
Very often, I'll use some irrelevant feature of a program (like "Undo" in Microsoft Word on a doc that's on the main drive) -- the application will freeze, and I'll hear an external hard drive spin up. (Or every single drive spin up, one at a time.) Then the program will unfreeze. The program does not seem to be bothered if I unmount the drives; it simply stops doing that.
And I am wondering: What on earth is it looking for? So I can figure out how to stop this annoyance. For instance if it's tapping fonts it found on the external drive, I can make sure they're inaccessible inside ZIP files.
My question is: How can I have a persistent log of accesses to files by applications? I've tried using
lsof | grep /Volumes/ but it is only a snapshot of currently open files; it always seems to miss the moment when that app has that file open.
I tried the fs_usage approach, got bursts of this message:
fs-usage: buffer overrun, events generated too quickly: 123456 But eventually this surfaced:
23:32:47 getattrlist /Volumes/Teeny/RSreorg 0.000006 Microsoft Ex 23:32:47 getattrlist /Volumes/Teeny/RSreorg 0.000002 Microsoft Ex 23:32:59 getattrlist /Volumes/Teeny/RSreorg 0.000005 Microsoft Ex 23:32:59 getattrlist /Volumes/Teeny/RSreorg 0.000002 Microsoft Ex 23:32:59 getattrlist /Volumes/Teeny/RSreorg 0.000003 Microsoft Ex 23:32:59 getattrlist /Volumes/Teeny/RSreorg 0.000002 Microsoft Ex
This happened as I was closing an Excel spreadsheet. That's a scratchpad disk, and that directory was deleted years ago. The spreadsheet was a new file that had nothing to do with that location.
Searching the drive for the text string
RSreorg revealed only 2 files, both
~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.plist, one with gibberish at the end (temporary file?)... Web search reveals Microsoft stores my license keys there, but text scan reveals hundreds of other useless and wrong directories. What on earth is Microsoft doing?
And apparently this answer endorses deleting the file outright.