I think I have the terminology right - it's a soft shutdown via apple menu > shutdown and a hard shutdown if you have to hold the power button down until the computer shuts off.
Yesterday I had my LaCie 500GB D2 Quadra v2 ext hdd connected via 1394 and opened and closed some files on it. Then I tried ejecting it and nothing happened. I figured then my mac wouldn't shut down properly and later it wouldn't. I got the multicolored spinning wheel for an hour before I finally did the hard shutdown. I didn't get a message that files were in use or the os couldn't eject the LaCie volumes - it just didn't. Likewise, no message about being unable to shut down. I'm guessing the system was hung up on trying to unmount the LaCie.
I'm assuming my mac came w/ a clean install and I keep it up to date - well, I let automatic updates keep it up to date. It seems to have problems handling ext hdds, tho. This happens w/ both the LaCie Quadra and the WD My Book ext hdds. It fails to eject some/all volumes, the mac fails to shut down and once finder crashed when I went to open a file on the ext hdd.
I've tried using the terminal command
sudo umount -fv DRIVENAMEto unmount the drive. That didn't work. I've found a suggestion to id any open files/processes on the ext hdd using the command
lsof | egrep 'Backup'where Backup is the name of the ext hdd volume and then use the kill command to end those processes. I don't understand why "egrep" is included in the command. I didn't understand much on the man pages for lsof, grep or kill.
The example of the kill command given was
kill -9 ###where ### is the pid of the processes ID'd by the lsof command. -9 sends a "non-catchable, non-ignorable kill" signal so I guess that's the right option/operand/parameter/whatever to use.
Is there a good online tutorial or a good book on terminal commands for the mac beginner?
I've had to do 3 hard shutdowns this month - 2 appeared to be associated w/ ext hdds and 1 when the screen stayed dark when I opened the lid. Control + Eject followed by Return key might have worked to do a soft shutdown blind, but I didn't know that shortcut then. Is that within normal limits for glitches in a mac?