What choice disk utilities for OS X?

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by BillBob, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. BillBob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    #1
    I'm new to the iMac G4/800 and would like opinions re pros and cons of the available disk diagnostic utilities: Norton SystemWorks, Micromat Drive10, Alsoft Disk Warrior, and others possibly. I've heard of problems with SystemWorks, Drive10 does not optimize, and although Disk Warrior optimizes I know little or nothing about it. Most of these if not all as I understand it boot using OS 9, not OS X. Right now, all I have to use is Apple's Disk First Aid which doesn't offer much help beyond minor fixes. How is the upcoming "Jaguar" version of the OS going to make these obsolete? :confused:
     
  2. evildead macrumors 65816

    evildead

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    #2
    tools

    I have used all 3 and TechTools pro. By far TechTools is the best package but there is no support for OSX yet. System works has a OS X app but when you boot off the CD it runs in OS 9. Drive X is all os X but it is limmited in what it can do for you. If you were planning on bying something, I would wait till TechToolsPro for OSX comes out. That is unless you just got to have something nowand you can afford to buy software. I would tell you that you should go with Norton only becuse they have at least some sumport for X.

    Just broke the 700 posts Mark. Man, at one time I was on the Top 10 posters list. I guess I have been too busy to keep up.


    -evildead
     
  3. BillBob thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2002
    #3
    TechTool Pro 3.0.6 Slow in Optimizing

    Thanks for your thoughts re TechToolPro and other disk diagnostic utilities available for disks running OS X.

    I finally got my old TTPv.3.0.1 updated to v. 3.0.6 and booted from OS 9 and ran it (I don't have my iMac's disk partitioned). Only complaint is running TTP's optimization (defrag) mode seems to take hours and hours to complete! My disk was badly fragmented but it has taken more than 12 hours of continual defragging and I still have 5 stubborn fragments left! Anyone know why defragging should take so long? Never had such lengthy sessions before when running it only on OS 9.2 so I presume OS X has something to do with it?

    Anyone know whether Symantec's Norton SystemWorks defrags more efficiently than TechTool Pro? Which Norton utility does SystemWorks include? Is it Norton Utilitities v. 7 or higher? Thanks all! Happy Mac-ing!:)
     
  4. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #4
    I use Norton Disk Doctor (part of SystemWorks), it works very well, first time a an it it said it found some 'Major' disk errors which could not be fixed whilst that disk was the startup volume, so all you have to do is simply boot from the CD and it fixes everything, it's so easy and I would reccomend it.
     
  5. Nipsy macrumors 65816

    Nipsy

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    Jan 19, 2002
    #5
    It seems everyone is far too zealous about this.

    Mac OSX is Unix, so the drive tool of choice is fsck -y. If you are using drive tools as a preventative measure, you're likely to do more harm than good! If you are booting into OS9 to do preventative maintainence on OSX, your doubling your chances for failure. The speediest way to defrag OSX is to wipe a partition, Carbon Copy Cloner OSX to the empty partition, and Carbon Copy Cloner it back.

    If you are doing recovery based work, use fsck -y within single user mode until it shows no errors. If this is not enough, boot to 9, copy any files you CANNOT lose from you OSX partition, and use DiskWarrior, then Norton.

    I have heard a million or so stories about people blowing up their OSX partitions using Norton, TechTool, Drive10, etc. I ask them why they were using those tools (trying to ascertain the root problem) and they say, 'Oh, I do it once a month.'

    If it ain't broke...
     
  6. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #6
    Nipsy, I know nothing about UNIX :rolleyes: , I hear you when you say don't try and fix what's not broken, but surely regular maintenance can't be a bad thing?
    Now, about this 'fsck -y', is this a safe thing to run? I currently have no problems (that I know off), but I will no doubt run Norton DiskDoctor in a month or so just to check on everything, if it does find problems should I then run fsck rather that DiskDoctor?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Nipsy macrumors 65816

    Nipsy

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    Jan 19, 2002
    #7
    At this point, with drive tools not EXPLICITLY designed for OSX, it does look like regular maintainence is 'a bad thing'. Norton for OSX seems to hook itself in very deep, and has been know to cause kernel panics.

    I would say that if you don't have problems, don't create them.

    OSX automatically fsck's the boot volume on startup (if necessary). If the machine is unable to boot, hold down command s while booting. When you get to a prompt, type 'fsck -y'. Repeat until no errors are found.

    If you are unable to repair the OSX boot volume this way, drop into 9, and use DiskWarrior.

    Try to boot again.

    If you still can't, drop into 9 and try Norton. After running Norton, run DiskWarrior.

    From what I've seen and heard, you are VERY likely to break something if you try optimizing or using disk tools when you aren't experiencing any problems.

    If you want to know more about fsck, open a terminal window, and type 'man fsck'
     
  8. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #8
    Thanks Nipsy, very informative, I think I'll keep a copy of your post for if I have any problems in the future. Much appriciated :)
     
  9. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    Location:
    Natick, MA
    #9
    One word for you there... bullsh*t. Oh yeah, I want to set up multiple partitions on my hard drive, move all those gigs of data off of it to someplace else, [try to] wipe that partition alone and put everything back. :rolleyes: Ever heard of FILE FRAGMENTATION??? Copying files to different location will NOT fix that, if anything, it will make it worse. :rolleyes:

    Well, lets hear some of these 'million or so stories' there bubba... I want to hear it FROM those people, not you. Back your statements up with real info, not speculation.

    I've run NSW, TTP and DW2 on systems with BOTH OS 9.x AND OS X (10.x) and NOT had anything 'blow up'. MAYBE using multiple partitions is where all those 'million' or so people have f*cked up their systems... Ask eyelikeart when he returns from his little trip away from N.O. and see what he has to say about running utilities on his laptop. :p

    BTW, I have run the utility set that I use on hundreds of systems, and have NEVER had any files lost or partitions/drives f*cked because of them. If anything, they have recovered over a dozen or so drives that would not appear on boot, or where people would get the flashing '?' on startup that wouldn't go away.

    As for booting into OS 9 to run them, your point is??? I created a new cd when I got my new TiBook since the old one that I had created, wouldn't boot it up. No biggie, if you know how to do it that is. Took longer for Toast to burn the cd then it did to create it.
     
  10. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #10
    Ok, now i'm confused :confused:
    Who here is correct? The relatively new Nipsy, or the AASP AlphaTech?
    I must say Nipsy, I am now inclined to go with Aplha on this.
     
  11. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #11
    Consider this... Apple recommends using Norton as the primary system utility to fix issues that Disk First Aid and the such cannot repair. Also, ALL the other AASP's that I have EVER spoken to, also use the three main utilities that I have listed, and use, to repair software issues. TTP can also help to trouble shoot hardware issues.

    I run DiskWarrior 2 FIRST, letting it do it's job. Then I run TTP, making sure it DOES NOT defrag, check for viruses, or software incompatibilities. FINALLY, I run Norton, using Disk Doctor and then Speed Disk. That order and method has repaired more systems then I care to count. Considering how I probably run the trilogy on every system about once every few months at work, for the past 2-1/2 years now. There are over 250 Mac systems there, and then number is only increasing. The ONLY Mac drive that I have not been able to fix that way actually had a blown controller board (on the drive itself). It was a slot loading iMac and it was a Quantum drive.
     
  12. britboy macrumors 68030

    britboy

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    #12

    You really should try to learn something about it. There's lot of little (and big) things that you can do with it. For example, single user mode can be used to log on to an OS X computer, without even needing to know the password :)
     
  13. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #13
    Right that's it, you've made up my mind, I'm deffinatly going with AlphaTech.
    It's nice to have our own resident AASP on the boards :D
     
  14. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #14
    Really???? Do you have any links where I can find out more about this?

    Thanks.
     
  15. Nipsy macrumors 65816

    Nipsy

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    Jan 19, 2002
    #15
    This is patently false.

    Actually, since the copy process copies files, and not blocks, this is a quick and simple way to reduce FILE FRAGMENTATION. If a file is at the beginning and also at the end of drive A (fragmented), the process of copying it to drive B will not place parts of it at the beginning and end of drive B. It will place it at the beginning. This process will not optimize (move commonly accessed files to the fastest parts of the drive platter). Pretty simple...
    Feel free to visit MacGurus.com, xlr8yourmac.com, macfixit.com, etc. I have read numerous posts about people running utilities because they think its a good idea, and needing to recover.

    When you get a flashing startup ? is a good time to use disk utilities. The flashing ? indicates a PROBLEM, which necessitates a REPAIR. I am trying to convey that people are actually breaking OSX by using OS9 tools on their installations unnecissarily, and that Norton for OSX has been documented to cause kernel panics.

    That utilites written for OS 9 predate OSX. While the file system (HFS+) remains very much the same, the directory structure, permissions, etc. are new within OSX. Therefore, using an OS 9 utility should be a last resort, after using fsck -y from single user mode (an OSX native [built in by Apple] disk repair tool).

    From www.macgurus.com

    "One of the forgotten features, I think, of OS X is that it is the first OS to use a true HFS+ volume format. The earlier compatible OS versions up to 9.1 use an HFS volume "Wrapper" which contains the HFS+ volume within it. I believe OS X reformats its volume partion as HFS+ with no wrapper."
     
  16. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #16
    Ok, now you've gone and done it! :confused:
    What to think???
    I await Alphas reply, he doesn't normally take this sort of thing laying down :eek:

    ...I smell a bit of flaming coming on...
     
  17. Nipsy macrumors 65816

    Nipsy

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    #17
    I'm not going to say one is right and the other wrong.

    I will say that alpha is incorrect when he says that the copy process does not reduce file fragmentation, and I will also say that different problems have different solutions.

    The best way to keep your machine running is to do research, and find a methodology (tools, sequence, etc.) that you trust.

    I will also stand by my statement that defragging or optimizing via an OS 9 tool can cause you new problems.

    Rather than trust either of us, I would recommend you google the following (alone, and in concert).

    OSX+

    Kernel Panic
    Norton Disk Doctor
    DiskWarrior
    fsck -y
    optimize
    defragment

    Read as much as you can before you jump back into OS9 to do 'maintainence'. It could save you time in recovery. Visit the sites devoted to repair (rather than rumor), macgurus.com, macfixit.com, xlr8yourmac.com, Apple discussion forums, Apple til's, etc.

    At the end of the day, its all up to you...
     
  18. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #18
    I routinely run preventative mantenance on both my own system as well as many at work. Doing this prevents issues from ever developing (hence the term preventative). Just about everyone that I know, does NOT partition up their hard drives, and have NOT had any of the utilities (for either OS 9 or OS X) cause ANY problems. Seems like the common thread to all of your 'Norton f*cked up my drive' scenarios is multiple partitions. In the hundreds of times that I have run the utility trilogy on systems, I have NEVER had them mess up a drive, or corrupt files (critical or otherwise). If anything, they FIND corrupted/damaged files, and repair them IF you tell them to. Otherwise, they point out the damaged file to you and ask what you want to do about it.

    To give a blanket statement that Norton and the other utilities that do not run native under OS X shouldn't be used is ignorant. NSW2 does run under OS X, but you do need to install it to your drive to run them, and it doesn't have Speed Disk as a part of it. I do not [yet] have Drive 10, but intend to get it at some point on my own, unless we get a copy at work. Considering how we will be migrating to OS X at some point in the future (no info as to when yet) I am sure that I will get a copy, if I ask for it. It's a bit difficult to get a utility that runs under an OS that is not yet installed onto the client systems.

    BTW, I have NEVER had a kernel panic after running the utilities on my OS X system. Then again, the only time I have ever had a kernel panic was caused by hardware issues or trying to run a lower OS on the system that came with a higher version.

    I posted the order I run the utilities in before, and what I had do what. Doing such will fix about 99.5% of all your computer issues, and not cause any. Don't let ttp optimize, let Norton do it, since it does a superior job of it.

    Oh, and copying files to other partitions only works if you have other partitions. Not everyone wants to go through the crap to se that all up (zero benefit from what I have seen/experienced and a major hassle if something goes wrong). Also, not everyone can afford to have external hard drives to use for file fragmentation fixing. It's is infinately easier to simply defrag the drive then to do the other crap.
     
  19. BillBob thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2002
    #19
    Made Up My Mind Too!

    As the original poster, I've definitely made up my mind on this issue. I spent agonizing hours running TechToolPro3s disk optimization (defrag) utility which signalled something amiss! Luckily, I haven't lost any data, and I wrapped up by running the UNIX mode fsck -y. I think all the responses and comments are helpful, and it is obvious that at this stage in the development of OS X we have no really good comprehensive disk diagnostic utility short of SystemWorks and Drive 10 both of which have their own issues as discussed. BTW, anyone know if the Disk Warrior version included on SystemWorks is the full version and capable of optimizing? This isn't quite clear.

    Although I have not partitioned my HD that certainly seems like an option although at this point in time perhaps we ordinary home-user mortals might just wait and see. Thanks again to everyone for an informative and lively discussion on this topic! :)
     
  20. Nipsy macrumors 65816

    Nipsy

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    #20
    Wait, your basing all this on YOUR machine? The 250ish you're supporting aren't OSX boxes? That would explain why you've not run into any problems.
     
  21. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #21
    BillBob, don't let TTP3 defrag your drive. Norton does a superior job of it. Granted, you will need to boot into OS 9, from a cd, but that is easy. The version of Disk Warrior that ships with NSW is not the same as the version that is sold by itself. It is called a 'Recovery Edition' for a reason.
     
  22. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #22
    uh oh! here we go...:eek:
    Bring on Alpha, hehehehe ;)

    Fortuneatly I don't have any problems at the moment, but, if/when I do get them I shall probably just boot from my SystemWorks disk and run DiskDoctor.
     
  23. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #23
    There are systems running OS X in the mix, just not all that many of them. I have run it on my own OS X systems dozens of times, with never an issue. I have also configured OS X onto customer systems (for my side support business) and never had any of them have any issues. Then again, I know what the f*ck I am doing when I both set the system up, and run the utilities. As is the case with just about everything, if you don't know what you are doing, it's easy to f*ck it all up.

    I have some people at work testing out OS X, as are the other tech's within the company I work for. Not a one has mentioned word one about NSW/NUM, or any of the other utilies we use causing any issues. I create the utility cd's for all of them, so I would hear back if there were issues.
     
  24. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #24
    Don't forget Speed Disk as well... If you never ran that, you could be surprised at how much fragmentation you find.
     
  25. Nipsy macrumors 65816

    Nipsy

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    #25
    Well, since it does sound like you're ramping up to roll out OSX on a broad scale, I implore you (for your sake) to really research the issues with tools as you get ready to put it into end users hand, and learn every detail about fsck. Also, you seem really adamant about not using partitions for some reason, but there is a lot of excellent information on the pros of partition usage and data availability out there. Makes a load of sense to look into if you have a COE you'll be imaging onto multiple drives.

    I rolled out OSX & X Server on 300 boxes over the last 3 months, and learned some hard lessons from the first 50.

    Food for thought...
     

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