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Reader Comments: macOS Catalina vs Mojave, Drive Initialization Hanging/Crashing

See also: Major Data Loss Today — But Luckily I Had Just Made Several Backups.

As it stands, I have three 8TB SSDs that I am unable/afraid to put into “production” use on my 2019 Mac Pro, for fear of seeing them wiped out. I do have two of them installed, but I just don’t use them except as “canaries” for now.

Update: I am using my SSDs again. A key thing seems to be NOT using 128K stripe size. At this time I cannot say more, but basically the issue might be more general than SoftRAID.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering David T writes:

I am in agreement with your assessment of macOS Catalina. So far, for me it is a stinker.

I recently purchased a MacBook Pro 16”, which comes with Catalina. While I very much like the increased memory, storage and processing speed that comes with this laptop, I wish I’d been able to downgrade to OS 10.14. That has been running reliably on my previous computer.

However, with Catalina, I have had significant reliability and disk crash issues associated with SoftRAID and things as simple as initializing volumes. Attempting to initialize a volume in SoftRAID under Catalina 10.15.2 has never worked correctly, and results in a hung system, and frequently a hard crash requiring a power-off restart, with the disk in question left in an unusable state, no longer recognized by even Disk Utility. The troublesome drives were on Thunderbolt 3 directly connected to the 2019 MacBook Pro running Catalina, housed in an OWC Thunderbay 4 enclosure.

The disk is only fixable by initializing it under OS 10.14. So I have been managing disks under my old 10.14.6 system, with no problems. Hard errors associated with drives are really scary, and for now I’m not trusting Catalina for any critical storage and backups.

I’m not letting Catalina near my main photos disk at this point, and just running anything critical under my older system. Really unfortunate.

Maybe your issues are also related to bugs in Catalina that cause problems with SoftRAID and volumes?

Then there are the many other buggy behaviors in Catalina, like the display profile coming unstuck after waking from sleep, and requiring to reset that in ColorSync. Waking from sleep is also more random that under 10.14, in terms of how the system comes up.

Also, as you’ve noted, many older software versions no longer work. For as much money as Apple is minting from so many activities, one would expect (demand) that they should provide a rock-solid OS.

For me, reliability and lack of strange errors is way more important than all the new sort of fluff that they stuff into each new OS. I wish management at Apple would make their OS integrity and dependability a first-order deliverable. Well, that’s my two cents. I’m hoping that 10.15.3 might fix some of the worst of this stuff, but we’ll see. But right now, I would gladly switch back to Mojave. I should have waited on my MacBook Pro purchase until Catalina was more reliable. In the future, I’l never buy a new Mac computer until the OS is at least at version 3 or 4.

MPG: I completely agree on the reliability comments. As a professional, my view is that Apple demonstrates a disdain for professionals and corporate customers or anyone who gets work done on a Mac (vs those who use Apple stuff as entertainment products).

I’ve been writing about Apple Core Rot for 7 years now—at some point an ethical/moral line is crossed between making mountainous piles of money and respecting/serving customers. It is my view that the the line has been crossed. But since Apple is mainly a phone company I don’t expect changes other than plenty of lip service public relations—show me the money, so to speak, and Catalina speaks volumes. The pain iOS 13 caused me and many others is a bad sign. Clearly the financial incentives at Apple do not value quality software.

In a way, I am glad that Catalina appears to not be responsible for the total data loss I encountered recently. I know that because three RAID stripes were instantly wiped out on the 2019 iMac 5K running macOS Mojave around XMAS. But that is macOS Mojave 10.14.6, and quite possibly whatever the bug is got into revisions of Mojave and then Catalina.

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