recovering/rebuilding osx

Discussion in 'macOS' started by mcdawn, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. mcdawn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    #1
    Hi there,
    I have a macbook pro running macosx 10.5.5, but lately a have some troubles with my running system. Some of the symptoms include random freezes, crashes, and problems with X11.

    I think it would be healthy to d a clean install, however the problem is that I have installed loads of scientific software from source, it would be a lot of work to re-install these (a couple of days at least) Especially because the make files usually do not include mac systems and I need to edit those make files by hand.

    My first thought was to rebuild my directories using the build disk utility or disk warrior or drive genius. That is what I tried. When I verify the disk however using disk utility, everything freezes (eh, not a good sign I think). After say about 10 minutes it unfrreezes and says either everything is fine (no need for repair) or it gives an error and says it needs repair (weird). It did the same booting in target mode and using another mac disk utility. In those cases no troubles were found, which also seems awkward.

    However, I was not quite assured, so I decided to run Disk warrior. When I run a diagnosis, it finds 37% of the files dislocated, so that's not good. When I run it from the disk, I get an error and I can't rebuild after it does find troubles. I have not tried it yet from another mac.

    I have also repaired disk permissions, which seems to work. However, if I repair them twice, it again finds the same faulty disk permissions. In addition, when I try repair the permissions using disk warrior it runs into an error.

    Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say, is that my system does not seem to work properly. Other problems occur with X11, that crashes when a do a remote login and after that it can't run X windows (after the crash), while when I login as another user on the same machine, and I run the same login in the same version of X11, I dont have that problem.

    My question is, how should I proceed. I really would like to avoid installing all my software again. I also have a back-up drive, back-upped by Time machine. However, I am not sure if time machine recovers everything. (i.e. can you recover software that is installed in usr/local and uses a lot of lib's installed by hand. I mean, how do u know which files to recover etc..)

    I would appreciate any advice on this matter.
    kind regards
    daan meerburg

    One other question, though it seems a little misplaced, I'll refile it in mac hardware. I have serious troubles with my keyboard and trackpad. It stops working randomly. First I thought it was the same problem with the first versions of leopard, when the keyboard would sleep before everything else, but I now believe it is a hardware problem because when a apply pressure to the topcase it starts working again. Probably something is wrong with the connectors. I was wondering if this is a knows issue, because my macbook is just over a year old?
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    1) Does your disk pass SMART status check when you loaded Disk Utility to try and fix it?

    2) Your scientific software that you compiled yourself shouldn't really be spread over the computer, right (meaning, since they're not Mac apps, they probably won't even have stuff in the root or user Library)? Shouldn't it be fairly easy to copy the binaries of these apps back onto a new installation? Like just make a backup on another drive of the whole /usr/local folder, for instance. I wouldn't even use Time Machine for that purpose. If you have a large drive that you could do it with, then use SuperDuper to make a clone backup of your whole drive. Otherwise copy off the important stuff. A clone or partial backup will be easier to work with in this scenario than Time Machine.

    3) Is it possible you have a hardware problem like bad memory?

    4) The keyboard thing isn't a terribly common issue, AFAIK, but your analysis sounds right. For the MB, I believe you have to actually open the casing to try and tighten the connector and fix this?

    If your computer is out of warranty, I guess I'd try re-installing the OS first (after making a backup) and seeing if the computer is stable (since it might be a hardware issue). And then open it up and try and fix your keyboard.
     
  3. mcdawn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    #3
    First of all, thanks a lot for your very quick response. Now for the answers:

    1)If I run disk utility the SMART status is verified, as well as in disk warrior. When I ran a repair two weeks ago in target mode, it did not find any problems (which is strange, since disk warrior does find problems, it even can't repair them, giving an error).

    2)I think you are right, I thought about that actually. Since the binaries are made for this machine, copying them as a whole (as you suggest the whole /usr folder would be possible. I do have some cross linked libs, installed using fink, so I guess I'll have to copy the /sw folder as well). I guess that would be the best option. Do you imply to do a clean install, when you refer to re-install?

    3) I ran a hardware test using my osx installer cd a couple of weeks back and it did not find any problems, so I dont think the memory is bad (if that is what you mean)

    4)Indeed, I will first perform a new installation, and check whether the keyboard and mouse problems resolve themselves. If not, I'll let my boss pay for the fix!:p

    So, you don't think rebuilding is a good idea? Even though at this point it doesn't seem to work, I have not tried to run Disk warrior or Drive genius from an external drive (though it did boot from the disk warrior CD).

    Again, thanks a lot for your advice,
    kind regards
    daan
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    Hi Daan,

    Re:...

    1) Yes, that's very strange. I don't understand that either. Although I believe that DiskWarrior looks for more kinds of problems than Disk Utility Repair Disk. Disk Utility's Repair Disk is exactly identical to fsck -fy. That's the only thing it does.

    2) Yes, with this degree of problems, I'd recommend going as far as reformatting the drive also. Hopefully the Fink apps are not too complex to backup.

    3) I'm not 100% sure that bad memory gets caught using that test. Hopefully it is not the issue, but I would not remove it from the list yet.

    What a mess! Hope that you get somewhere soon!
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #5
    Passing the hardware test isn't really meaningful. Failing it might be, but you rarely see that. I'd say this problem is likely to be related to hardware, if only because most problems like this are caused by hardware. Hence, the suggestion of attempting an erase and install is not a good one IMO. If hardware is the issue, the install could quite easily fail before it's completed. Now, you're worse off than before. If anything like this is tried, I'd certainly go for an archive and install first. This is far less destructive and much easier to recover should it go wrong.
     
  6. tremulant14 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #6
    I don't know if you already reformatted or whatever, but you can try repairing permissions using the unix prompt when your mac starts.

    1. Restart your mac.
    2. After the "chime", immediately hold Apple (Command) + S for a few seconds, until you are on the unix prompt.
    3. Type "fsck -f" (with the space between k and -)
    4. It will take a little bit, but it will repair any damage.
    5. Type 'Exit' to leave the prompt, or hold the button to restart.

    That worked for me when Disk Utility and DiskWarrior failed to work. I hope that helps.
     
  7. mcdawn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    #7
    Thanx a lot everyone.

    I'll try to do a clean install (I dont have the leopard installer CD were I currently am for the next week) and indeed, as suggested by Reilly I'll back up everything (I guess that's pretty much already done in Time machine, but I'll make sure to backup my whole disk just in case).

    Before I do that I'll also try to the disk repair straight from the command, and see if that works.

    I will let u know how it goes, especially when it goes wrong:)

    daan
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
  9. mcdawn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    #9
    the keyboard problem is indeed a hardware problem, known to exist in this version of the macbook pro. it has to do with the ribbon under the battery (see http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7284240#7284240 for example). The problem has become much more severe in recent days/hours. What I dont understand though, is that apple does not seem to recognize this as a manufacturing flaw, as who would take out the battery and start destroying the ribbon. They should have been much more careful, placing the ribbon right under the battery. Anyway, I'll drop it of at the nearest apple store, where unlike in the US, I will probably have to wait a couple of weeks before it gets fixed:(
     

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