View Full Version : Best disk maintenance in OS X?

03-07-2002, 04:00 PM
I use DFA, NDD, NAV, Disk Warrior and File Buddy on my OS 9.x machines, but what's the best for OS X? All opinions welcome, good and bad. I'd especially like to hear from one of you Gurus in Hardware Heaven as to what you're using.


03-07-2002, 04:18 PM
Waiting for native Disk Warrior, Norton, SoftRAID. Add to that Carboncopy Cloner (http://www.bombich.com/mactips/image.html) to backup and have a bootable emergency volume, Synk (synchronize and backup), running fsck and Disk Utility 10. Putting /Users on another drive (divide system and data for better performance and spread I/O over multiple drives), Apple RAID and/or ExpressStripe (ATTO) raid. A 'clean copy' of OS X on another (external) drive - in case 10.1.x breaks something or fails), FireWire backup (and to carry to another computer). Make sure you have a good system when you install or test something (anything) new.

But I don't boot into OS 9 for a week or more at a time now. 10.1.3 is stable; OmniWeb 4.1sp52 runs well as does Mozilla 0.9.8+.

Backup regularly, cloning is quick, Synk will update a copy of /Users in 10 minutes (10 GB).

Read a lot!

03-07-2002, 05:49 PM

I have been successfully repairing my OSX volumes booting onto and running Disk Warrior. My copy of DW is recent enough to have a 9.2 system folder that allows me to boot my Quicksilver. I had severe problems and lost a OSX drive, disk Warrior fixed the index without a problem, all you can ask of a utility.

I also look forward to native OSX utlities arriving. Hope the wait isn't too long.


03-09-2002, 02:13 AM
Rick, that is exactly what happened to me yesterday, and I was able to recover everything with Diskwarrior. I got into big time problems running NDD(frm cd) first, where it found all kinds of major errors which it could not repair and then basically froze up- florfing my applications folder and leaving hundreds of parts and pieces all over the place. DW rounded them up and was able to put back 99%.

So today after re-initializing and re-installing (usingCarbonCopyCloner), I ran everything- all 11 partitions on 6 drives- through DW first. It found stuff to fix- some bad boot blocks and some other more minor custom icon stuff. Now everything's clean as far as DW is concerned.
I'm going to run Disk Doctor now, but I have to say I have never liked it- it doesn't really tell you what the heck is going on and I never know whether it has conjured imaginary problems or fixed real ones.
For now as a routine, I may run only Disk First Aid first, then DW, then Speed Disk, then DW again..

Got my Applications folder in my remote Users folder now. Seems very tidy that way, and with the apps on adifferent drive than the system, its fast as hell.


03-09-2002, 08:05 AM
I can tell you that Norton DD works fine, but only 6.03, and you probably need to give it an insane amount of memory to run. If you do boot from CD, you would need to use a copy on one of that many many drives you've got!

Disk Utility and fsck first, DW next, then NDD. I never bother with SD. Easier and safer to just use CCC which defrag/optimizes. Disk Doctor has fixed major boot block problems safely, but I always set it to fix minor, ask on major, and don't bother with creating an undo folder. I give it 350MB (!) to run, and ***** . Earlier versions were pain, and the new 7.0 betas are just that and not trustworthy.

Glad it's working out and you got your system fixed!

03-09-2002, 06:52 PM
I ran NDD very cautiously- it found and repaired only minor problems: the endless "the bundle bit is off but should be on.." type.
Symantec says NDD will repair X but should be run from the cd. It sounds like your suggesting, Gregory, to run an installled version of the app while booted from 9.1 on the Norton cd(?). I guess that way I could crank up the allocation..

I'm still trying to figure out 'fsck-y'. Do I access that from the Terminal? (You're talking to a complete command-line ignoramous!)

My next task is to optimize my other 9 system to be used by X as 'Classic'. This system is on a different drive than my 'working' 9 system f. I'm looking at it now as just a large application and expect to be able to reduce its size to under 100mb..

This is really fun! I've finally achieved my original objective which was to have each of the major components- the boot OSX, the OS for 'classic', the apps, the docs, and the scratch disk- all on seperate hard drives for max I/O. Granted the 'classic' OS9 and my backup X are on external fw's, but they still crank!
Disbanded my softRAID stripe- tired of waiting and not having all my drives in X. I don't mind the slower open and saves on the big tiffs; the way I'm using the 2 drives has speeded up everything else.
Sorry to digress!


ps. I like the way the volume with the remote home folder takes on the home icon on the desktop..

[This message has been edited by gmidd (edited 09 March 2002).]

03-10-2002, 09:22 AM
For tip on Optimizing Classic (http://www.bombich.com/mactips/optimize.html) You want to be careful about fonts installed in Classic as there are some that can cause trouble when OS X boots; it looks in the Classic System Folder.

If you have trouble with a startup item or with an app that is set to auto launch in Login you can now hold down the shift key and they will be bypassed. Startup items before login point, and login items after and before the desktop etc is finished loading. Added (reinstated) with 10.1.3. It's a wise idea to not put applications in Login items. Or even to auto start Classic on startup. They can interfere and stop all of them from loading; carbon and cocoa don't mix (cocoa and espresso do! why not this 'modern OS?'). This business of not launching all your apps will hopefully change. Maybe 10.2 this summer.

fsck is run from startup usually by booting while holding down Command + S. You will see a black screen with white text. Single user mode might look like DOS but this is unix from the command line. When it stops it will have instructions to issue "/sbin/fsck -y" After that, and it is on the screen before you ran 'fsck' is the '/mount -uw /' command. What you do then is either logout or reboot. I prefer to reboot as it sounds and seems safer, kills all processes and restarts.

You can also shut down the OS X Aqua GUI via "sudo shutdown" and you're in the single user mode. FSCK can't be run while anything else is running.

There is Disk Utility to verify and repair other volumes than the startup volume.

FSCK will only repair the startup volume selected in Startup Disk. So even if you boot from a CD using the "C" and not Startup Disk, then you can still go into "single user mode' on startup by holding down "Command + S" and run fsck. Not sure what difference there is or if Disk Utility is identical or what, but if there are any problems with your system (even if you just want to be sure 'cause something froze-crashed or something it can be very useful.

You have to KEEP running fsck or Disk Utility's Disk First Aid until there are no more errors. Some errors are fixed on the first pass, then other fixes are made on subsequent passes. Seems fast, efficient, and works. ie, you can trust it. Only after fsck and/or Disk Utility, then if you think you need more or want to be absolutely certain, use those other tools: Disk Warrior first and follow up with Norton 6.03.

Of course X is so fast, that if you really are in doubt, backup... I advise you have TWO backup sets. you don't want to ruin the good one, you want to make sure to backup your current files in case. 20-30 minutes to restore via CCC is a whole lot faster than DW + NUM and all the rest.

Oh, and don't be surprised to see some errors if you run Disk Utility DFA after you've been running... if *nix ever crashes and you hard boot -- you lose MORE most likely, and it can be worse, because updates to the volume info is deferred, writes are cached and deferred, all in the name of I/O and performance. There are multiple copies of the volume info. It is suppose to sync and write out changes but it seems to be 'lethargic' and doesn't quite respond to a 'force all writes to disk.'

If you think or find something amiss, grab the 10.1 -> 10.1.3 combined update (38MB) as a mini-reinstall to fix preferences and settings.

"Mac OS X Unleashed" is 1400 pages that covers the basics and the arcane and deserves a place in any Mac reference bookshelf.

If you haven't - grab OmniWeb (http://www.omnigroup.com/omniweb)

03-10-2002, 09:46 PM
Thank you.

I've been checking out O'reilly and Bombich fairly regularly now, but I can see I'm going to have to hit the books on X and Unix. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif Unleashed and the Lost Manual sound pretty good.
After this weekend, I have a new appreciation for a more careful approach to working with repair utilities and bulletproof backups. I ended up losing some data and corrupting a bunch of files. I was able to recover most of it, but by the skin of my teeth.

However, had I been more patient and thorough prior to these major reformats, I would not have learned this valuable lesson...

I've got OmniWeb but haven't tried it yet..

In my partitioning scheme, I neglected to account for the swapfile process.Fortunately, my scratch disk partition is ideally positioned to be assigned as such.. that's on the list, but first some command-line and the gradual refinement of a 9 volume for classic.


[This message has been edited by gmidd (edited 10 March 2002).]

03-11-2002, 09:19 AM
Glad you got out with only a few scratches. Swap? I almost never even pageout and have never ever seen a 2nd swap file created. That's with only 768MB. put system volume on one volume, make sure it has breathing room.

I finally put custom icons for all my partitions... it really spiffs up the desktop nicely! Even put the 'home' icon on the partition with '/users'.

03-12-2002, 06:44 PM
I knew there was an artist in you! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I'm gonna try this swapfile relocation: http://www.bombich.com/mactips/swap.html to my scratch disk.

I had more pageouts on my 9.2.2 when apps were on the same volume as system folder, than I ever do on my daughter's B&W running 9.1 with system and apps all together (that's one snappy little rig). Now, no more pageouts on the QS with apps and system and docs all on different hard drives.-g

03-16-2002, 09:43 PM
Well, I think I moved the swapfile via command-line, but wasn't really sure so I took the easy way out and used SwapCop (http://homepage.mac.com/jschrier/index.html)...results still pending.
But back to disk maintenance...

I've been having pretty solid results with the following protocol:
After running Disk Utility from my backup X volume to verify/repair my main X volume and remote Users volume, I restart to my backup 9 volume, which has DFA, DW, NDD, and Speed Disk. I give each of these apps 50-100MB and run them one at a time to check my main X & 9 Volumes.
First, DFA. Then DiskWarrior. Then Norton Disk Doctor. Then Speed Disk. Then Diskwarrior once again. If any major problems are found by any of these, I run the app again 'til no problems. I found this to be more a more stable approach than booting from the DiskWarrior or Norton cds. I was getting alot of Finder crashes during this process 'til I dramatically upped the allocation for each utility (thanks Gregory!). I'm also very careful to work on only one volume at a time, running it through the whole protocol before moving on to the next volume. I can really see the wisdom in Kaye's approach now, though some might see this as overkill.

After running the repair cycle today I downloaded and ran Delocalizer (http://software.bombich.com/local.html), Monolingual (http://homepage.mac.com/jschrier/index.html), MacJanitor (http://personalpages.tds.net/~brian_hill/), and Xoptimize (http://versiontracker.com/moreinfo.fcgi?id=10451&db=mac). I then ran my repair cycle again to make sure no apple's got out of the basket. All of these seemed to work pretty much as advertised...

Hey, OmniWeb's not too shabby! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

[This message has been edited by gmidd (edited 16 March 2002).]