Disk Utility can't repair disk -- Help!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Apple!Fre@k, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Apple!Fre@k macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    My iMac has been running slow, text lags, Safari crashes on a regular basis, and roughly once or day my entire system completely freezes and I have to hold down the power button to restart it. So I figured I'd try repairing permissions and repairing the disk via Disk Utility.

    I restarted and held down Command + R and then used Disk Utility to verify and then repair the disk. Then I got the dreaded message "Disk Utility stopped repairing Macintosh HD" "Disk Utility can't repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files."

    YIKES!

    I've got 1TB of files. Is there any software out there which is better than Disk Utility and might be able to fix the problems without having to individually save all of my files and do a fresh install and replace all of my files? Such a procedure would easily take a full day or more given that I have so many files.

    Any recommendations would be truly appreciated!

    I just bought a 27" iMac that is on the way and should be here in about a week, but I fear that if I don't resolve this problem now and migrate over to the new one, I'm only going to be giving the new iMac all of these same faults.
     
  2. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    #2
    it sounds like you may be suffering from hard drive failure. I've found Disk warrior to be very good, but if i were you i'd concentrate initially on making sure you have a backup you can use to migrate to your new machine in the event it this one completely stops working (Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner etc) then after you have done that try to repair the damage with disk warrior
     
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #3
    I use a PC DOS-based program called Spinrite as a maintenance and data recovery utility on all my HDD's. You have to have an IBM-PC in order to use it though. You take the HDD out of the Mac and connect it to the IBM-PC and run the program. Below is my old MBP HDD in a Dell PC with Spinrite working on it.

    Independent review of Spinrite (not me)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    The SMART Utility, for OS X, was indicating a bad sector on my iMac HDD and recently I took it out and installed an SSD. I put the HDD in a Dell PC and ran Spinrite on it, correcting the bad sector.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #4
    Diskwarrior, agree with the above poster (Paulywauly), what I don't agree with is that he says it is fried, the chance is there yes, but many times a disk is repairable, if Diskwarrior fixes it then afterwards see the smart status, if this checks out OK your HD is OK.
    But, you should always, repeat always have a backup, even a fairly new HD can fail.
    They aren't that expensive and will save your butt one day.

    For Diskwarrior you need a working OS X bootable drive, a USB stick will do, minimum 8 GB.
     
  5. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thanks, SandboxGeneral, but I don't have a PC nor access to one nor do I really want to open up my iMac and pull the HDD.

    DiskWarrior looks good, but jesus, it's $100! Should I really get it?

    I already have my entire machine backed up in the cloud with CrashPlan. I don't have TOTAL faith that it's REALLY ALL backed up, but it says that it's got 960GB backed up there so I'm guessing it must really be there. lol

    I don't get the feeling that my HDD is dying. Seems more like there is corruptions and that sort of thing in the software itself that needs to be sorted, right? What about defragmentation and that sort of stuff? I've never done that and my files have carried over from machine to machine since I got my first iMac back in 2005, so I've got about 8 years worth of files that have migrated from 4 different iMacs. Bugs are bound to get in there, right? I think I just need software to sort it all out?
     
  6. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #6
    I have to check out if Diskwarrior is really that expensive, thought it was around $40.
    Don't worry about fragmentation, OS X is not windows.

    Edit: Just checked, 5 cents short of $100, WOW, that is expensive.

    I would make a physical backup, then reinstall from scratch, but before you go ahead you have to format the disk and after this you should look if the HD is OK, if not buy a new one.
     
  7. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Okay, cool.

    So do you think my problems will be solved once I migrate my files over to the new iMac with 3TB Fusion Drive? I just don't want to transfer corruptions or any bad crap over to the new iMac that will slow it down and not give me the fastest speed.

    I CAN'T STAND the text lag (when you type and it takes a few seconds for the computer to catch up) and it's obviously a huge hinderance to have Safari crash on me twice a day and have my entire machine totally lock up about once every day. I'd imagine it can't be good for the computer either to have to force restart every time it does that.
     
  8. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #8
    What happens if you make a new User in User & Accounts (Admin Account), then login into that account and see if you get the lockups and crashes there, if you don't get them there it means your normal account has issues, if this is the case you will migrate these as well!
     
  9. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    #9
    We have no way to know whats actually wrong with your hard drive, it could be hardware related or possibly not. Disk Warrior might work, but you may spend $100 on something that may not be able to help you right now. When it comes to data recovery you always need to plan for the worst, make sure you have a way to retrieve your data before you do anything else. You would make better use of your time doing this before trying to fix anything.

    Your best bet right now would be do check through your Crashplan backups, make sure everything you need is on there then switch your current iMac off till the the new one arrives. if there is a hardware problem your drive could develop more bad sectors whilst in use, corrupting data you want to migrate.

    If you do leave your Mac switched on i'd advise at least disabling Crashplan, just to make sure it doesn't copy over any corrupted data to their servers.
     
  10. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I'd have to use the new account for at least a few hours in order to test that and my files wouldn't be in that account so there's really no work I could get done for that time so I'd just have to surf the net and write random stuff for hours on end. So not sure that's a practical test. LOL

    I just did the SMART Utility test and it appears the drive passed with flying colors. Normally, that'd be a good thing, but now I think it means that it's my software like I suspected and the issue won't be corrected by migrating over to the new iMac. :(

    What do I do?

    P.S. Does that Power Cycle Count of 5700 meant that my computer has been restarted 5700 times? :eek: Or does that just mean that it's been put to sleep that many times? And 16,000 hours on the hard drive? WOW! That's like 2 years 24/7, which actually I guess makes sense since I've had it since November 2009, which makes it about 3.5 years old and I usually keep the computer on.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. simsaladimbamba

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    #11
  12. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I already have a 3TB fireproof/waterproof hard drive that I was planning to regularly backup to via my Airport Extreme, but for some reason it won't make the wireless connection to it. Was going to use SuperDuper. Is that good, too?

    But like I said, I'm already backed up with CrashPlan in the cloud, so creating a backup isn't a super high priority since I already have one (even though it would take a couple of days and a couple hundred bucks for them to ship me a hard drive with my stuff on it).
     
  13. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #13
    Just because SMART doesn't indicate a problem with the HDD doesn't mean there isn't. SMART isn't exactly very smart and can really only be useful when you put the disk under load and write to the drive as a whole. Only then is SMART truly practical and can be used as a measuring stick. I'm not saying it's completely useless, but it's certainly not reliable.

    Above text from Steve Gibson of the podcast Security Now, episode 385 (transcript)
     
  14. simsaladimbamba

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    #14
    That is why you should also use a local backup, it costs almost nothing except the HDDs and the software (CCC is still free with version 3.4.7, but SuperDuper! can be used too), and you do not need to wait days for it.

    With a bootable backup you are back in business within hours, maybe even minutes depending on the last backup.

    You clone your HDD to the backup on a preset schedule and once the original HDD fails, you simply boot from the external backup HDD. No need to wait days and spend hundreds for an online backup to get to you, which is atrocious pricing anyway.

    And the fastest backup is still a wired one via USB 2.0 or 3.0 or Firewire 800 or Gigabit Ethernet or Thunderbolt. Wireless backups are slow.
     
  15. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    #15
    If you make it an Admin account you have access to your normal account, I added that in my last post (edited), but of course all bookmarks in Safari aren't there as with all programs settings depend on the User Account.

    Power cycles means just that, change of power, so your Mac has that many counts, I had at least 15000 hours (Probably many more) on a former Pismo until it died.
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #16
    "I don't get the feeling that my HDD is dying. Seems more like there is corruptions and that sort of thing in the software itself that needs to be sorted, right?"

    My advice will be a little different than other posters here.

    First, if you do not have a bootable backup clone drive, it's time to get one made, RIGHT NOW.

    DON'T use Time Machine. Use CarbonCopyCloner instead.

    Do you have an external drive capable of holding the ENTIRE CONTENTS of your internal hard drive?

    If not, time to get one, RIGHT NOW.

    I would suggest you spend $28 and get one of these gadgets:
    http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Dock...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B003UI62AG
    One of the best computer purchases you'll ever make. Did I say only $28?

    Then, get a 1tb "bare" HDD from the vendor of your choice.

    Once you have this stuff, put the new drive into the dock and connect it to your Mac.

    Turn it on. You will probably get the "this disk is unreadable" alert because it's not yet initialized. Use Disk Utility to initialize the new drive (and partition if necessary).

    Next, use CarbonCopyCloner to "clone" the contents of your old drive to the new, docked drive. Of course, with a large amount of data, it's going to take a while.

    When that task is complete, DO A TEST BOOT to be sure that the new cloned drive is bootable:
    - Restart
    - As soon as you hear the startup sound, hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN
    - In a few moments, the startup manager will appear
    - Click on the docked drive to select it, then hit return
    - The Mac should boot from the docked drive

    When you get to the finder, take a few moments to check around. Go to "about this mac" and be sure you're booted from the docked drive (will look the same as your internal). Make sure all your stuff is there and where you want it to be.

    At this point, you can again try Disk Utility (from the docked drive) and "aim it" at the internal drive. Try repairing again. Any better?

    If you still get errors, you _might_ try re-initializing the internal again. Sometimes the process of re-initialization will clean out directory errors, etc., that have cropped up over time.

    Once the drive is re-initialized, test it again, SEVERAL TIMES (even if it reports ok the first time).
    If the drive checks out ok, you can then re-clone from your backup volume back to the internal, and it should be "like it was before", only now the drive problems should be cleared up.

    Then again, it may still give you errors, at which point you have to decide to replace it, or whatever.
     
  17. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    #17
    +1 this
     
  18. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Many thanks for this info!

    Two questions:

    1. Why get that device and a regular hard drive, instead of just an external hard drive?

    2. What do you mean by"re-initializing?" How do I do that? And why would trying the Disk Utility again after I've backed it up in the manner you suggest cause any difference to the effectiveness of Disk Utility on the internal drive that I've already tried to repair?
     
  19. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    #19
    1: A dock is more flexible, if you need to ever repair or diagnose a hard drive in the future it is easier with one of these. Although, you can do what Fishrrman is suggesting with any USB hard drive.

    2. Without meaning to bore you to death with jargon, reinitalizing the drive basically resets it. It should get rid of any corruption caused by software error. This can be done in the Disk Utility. If this is successful you can simply clone the external drive back to the internal and it may resolve the issue. If it does't, just continue to boot from the external until your new iMac arrives, then migrate to it from the external drive.
     
  20. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Thanks! But if I'm cloning the drive, aren't I also cloning the old problems over to the new drive?
     
  21. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    #21
    Not necessarily. When configuring your clone setup in CCC just make sure you do a file level copy rather than a block-level copy. a block level clone would clone the entire drive in its current state (including errors). a File level copy will skip any corrupt files and let you know which ones are corrupt afterwards. You could always retrieve these from Crashplan later if you need them.

    If the issues you are having are simply due to software related issues or a damaged directory cloning back to your internal should resolve the issues. If when doing this you have any of the following issues your hard drive is most likely failing and would need to be replaced:
    1: You can't reinitalize the drive after booting from your external clone.
    2: When you clone back to the internal drive CCC reports errors.
    3: If you continue to have the exact same issues you have right now after this process is completed.
     
  22. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Brillant! Makes total sense now. THANK you!!!
     
  23. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #23
    The reason for getting a USB3/SATA dock instead of a "standalone external" hard drive is _flexibility_. Makes it easy to put a drive in, work with it, then swap it out if you need to use another drive. A "docked drive" will behave the same as an "external" drive, insofar as your Mac sees it.

    I provided one example of a USB3/SATA dock that I personally recommend, but there are many many more. Just go to amazon, and enter "USB3/SATA dock" in the search bar.

    I forgot about the "file copy" vs. "block copy", and the previous poster was exactly right. If you see "block copy" when using CCC, DON'T use that. Just use a regular "file copy".

    CCC may ask if you wish to clone the "recovery partition". That's your choice, but I don't think you really need to do that, when just backing up the contents of your internal.

    When you "re-initialize" the (bad) internal drive, what you are doing is erasing the old directory (where all the file/folder information is stored), and replacing it with a new, clean, "empty" directory. The drive will now be "empty", and you can re-clone the contents of the backup BACK TO the internal.

    Over time, a drive's directory can get corrupted. Sometimes running Disk Utility can fix this, other times not. If there is no actual physical damage to the drive itself (just a badly corrupted directory), a re-initialization may clear all this up, and you will have a normally-functioning drive once again.
     
  24. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Okay, so I'm in the process of doing this, but how do I reinitalize the drive in Disk Utility? Is that simply the process of unmounting the Macintosh HD and then mounting it again?
     
  25. palmharbor macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Worth the $$ DiskWarrior

    D.W. has saved me multiple times....worth the money, lasts for years.
     

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