6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 12, 2010 4:17 AM by japamac
noelmac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have been having an ongoing problem with my MAC. It freezes up, and I must to a hard shut down with the power button and then restart it and use Disk Warrior to repair my error "Invalid Volume Directory Count." I have been told by tech support that after replacing my .plist files, replacing the hard drive, re-installing the operating system (Snow Leopard) and deleting .plist files again (this was 4 different case numbers), that the only thing that will solve my problem is to wipe out my hard drive and start over. This morning I had, for the first time, an error in white print on a black rectangle, telling me that I needed to restart my computer, I have never seen this before, so I restarted it, had the same error, ran Drive Genius 3 and repaired the problem, again. I haven't contacted Apple yet, but the reason for this post is that I am looking for a hard copy of how to wipe out my hard drive, reinstall the the operating system, and starting again. I use my computer for just about everything, but I have stored my photos on separate hard drives (some internal, some external). My issue will be saving my Safari Information (URL's and passwords), documents, and my iMail information, before I wipe the hard drive. This has been very frustrating and I need to resolve this matter.
Any help or direction is greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

macpro tower, 4,1, Mac OS X (10.6.4), 16 gig RAM, 4 TB Storage, 24" Monitor
  • noelmac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I wanted to add this information, but messed up. This is the stuff I will need to do once I have wiped it clean. Do you see any conflicts?
    Thank you again. Will need:
    Email information, addresses, folders, etc. (complete file)
    Safari Information, URL’s, passwords (complete file)
    Word Processing documents
    Photos

    Programs to re-install
    Snow Leopard (then updates)
    Safari
    CS5
    LR3
    Br
    Viveza 2
    Portrait Professional Studio
    Picasa
    PhotoMatrix Pro
    Pages
    SuperDuper
    AppZapper
    Toast 10 Titanium
    Drive Genius 3
    Clean My Mac
    Tech Tool Pro
    Blackberry Manager
    Canon Utilities
    CNET TechTracker
    Data Rescue 3
    Design Pro
    Eye-One Match 3
    Fetch
    Garmin WebUpdater
    Microsoft Office 2008
    Microsoft Silverlight
    Palm
    Omni Page
    QuickTime Player
    Version Tracker Pro
    VLC
    Wacom Tablet
  • japamac Level 7 Level 7 (24,390 points)
    Hi-

    Before you start, clone the drive to another volume using SuperDuper!.
    This will give an exact copy of your system, applications and data, which is also bootable, and will allow you to compare/duplicate all of your settings, passwords, bookmarks, etc.

    About Erase and Install:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3910?viewlocale=en_US
    While you are at it, and to be sure it isn't a drive issue, write zeros, one pass, using security options in Disk Utility.

    Regarding your main issue, it may be a RAM issue that is the root, or even graphics card.
    The following thread lists similar symptoms, and has links to discussions regarding the same:
    http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=12560766#12560766
  • japamac Level 7 Level 7 (24,390 points)
    Regarding possible application conflicts, it is usually considered prudent to install only mission critical applications, testing as you go.
    Some of the utilities that you list are better placed on an emergency boot volume; OS X, Drive and maintenance utilities only, rather than on the main system drive.

    After mission critical software is installed and system performance is confirmed, then one may add the other "bells and whistles".

    Regarding the Wacom tablet; the drivers can often cause a problem if the incorrect version is used or left installed.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,485 points)
    Even though DW does a great job, sometimes it is just wise to backup data you need, and restore from last good system image, not continue to use.

    RAM can cause trouble, doesn't matter that it is ECC though that can help, but not with parity errors.

    There are four or so FAQs on kernel panics.

    There is Kappy's Guide to Using Migration Assistant in the User Contributed Library.

    Using MA or Setup Assist to import home folder is good.

    Most such accidents happen to the boot system, not to user stuff, so it is SAFER to put home account folder on a different drive and make the OS and apps independent.

    Too many cooks spoiling the soup? too many background processes probing the system health and health of drives? they can trip over each other. End up with too much salt.

    With good prudent use of SuperDuper, you should never have to reinstall the OS a 2nd time.

    A lot of tech support go by a cookbook approach that may or may not fit.

    If you have DW on an emergency boot drive, because you never want to use it from CD, and you have a good solid Apple only OS with just the drivers and such you need, that can be the basis to clone to a new "Test System" and build up a full working system.

    I like to use TriBackup along with CCC and SuperDuper to backup and synchronize data, home prefs, and media libraries off to another drive. At least you have some or most of yours on separate drives.

    New drive, run it through its paces first for a couple days before you load an OS on it. Have Windows? have WD drive? Use WD Lifeguard.
  • noelmac Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    OMG! THANK YOU!
    I have contacted Apple and they will be calling me after 1 PM, but I really want to be prepared.
    In my machine I have 4 internal 1 tb drives, and I also have 3 external 1 tb drives. There are no partitions on any of the drives.
    Drive 1 is for the MAC HD with all of the op system on it and programs.
    Drive 2 is for Time Machine Backup
    Drive 3 is for photo storage (I can, if need be, move this to an external drive)
    Drive 4 is for my Clone Backup (using SD)
    Assuming that I am going to have to do a complete wipe and re-install, what would you do with the internal HD's? I am new at the MAC, and do not fully understand the mechanics of the system, but I would really like to make my system as bullet proof as possible. Based on what I have installed in my system, could you suggest using the current HD set ups accordingly? Can I put the OS on a partitioned HD, and create another partition with the programs and data? Would it be better to have a separate HD for the OS, and one with the data? Should I create another partition for the Time Machine backup or is it better to have a separate HD? Same with my SD cloned backup, should I partition a HD, or put in on a separate HD?
    My information that I really need (mail, Safari and documents, can they be saved in a specific place so I could reinstall them separately?
    I am really at a loss on how to do this, and I really appreciate the help and direction.
    Thank you again.
  • japamac Level 7 Level 7 (24,390 points)
    Assuming that I am going to have to do a complete wipe and re-install, what would you do with the internal HD's?

    Configured as they are they are fine.
    Drive number 4 could be partitioned to have a small emergency boot volume and the rest for the SD! clone backup of the system drive.
    Can I put the OS on a partitioned HD, and create another partition with the programs and data?

    Applications should be on the same volume as the OS.
    User data can be kept on a second drive.
    You want to keep the system drive lean: no more than 50% of capacity.
    It's better to not partition the system drive and keep data, etc., that is commonly used on that partition.
    Would it be better to have a separate HD for the OS, and one with the data?

    OS and applications on one, data on another.
    See the post by Kappy in the following for how to keep the home folder on a seperate drive:
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=12524708&#12524708
    Should I create another partition for the Time Machine backup or is it better to have a separate HD?

    TM is space hungry.
    Give it it's own drive, and keep SD! clone on another drive.
    My information that I really need (mail, Safari and documents, can they be saved in a specific place so I could reinstall them separately?

    The clone is the source for that, even a restore from TM may serve that purpose.