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Will Disk Warrior Help These Issues?

1563 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2012 12:59 AM by fane_j RSS
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Katie \'OConnell Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 20, 2012 4:25 PM

Have been using my MacPro for about 18 months and it's been almost flawless ... until the last few months. Seem to be experiencing all kinds of strange system behavior, like:

 

  • applications sometimes freeze when using File->Quit
  • sometimes when I select "Restart" from Finder menu (espec. after a force-quit of app), everything on the desktop disappears EXCEPT for my wallpaper and the system never reboots
  • when viewing Finder windows in Column View, often it takes a loooong time for subdirectories to appear
  • lately, when I reboot, the grey screen with the Apple logo and rotating wheel stays for ... maybe 2 minutes or more? Then it goes to a blue screen for about as long before giving me my desktop
  • backup to Time Capsule (via WiFi) runs very slow and sometimes interferes with the network

 

Here's what I've done:

 

  • rebuilt permissions a million times
  • ran Repair Disk a hundred times (no problems)
  • ran Onyx and cleaned caches and Launch Svcs database and other things
  • ran Apple Hardware Utility (no problems)
  • pared down fonts that are loaded into the system at start-up

 

I have an older version of Disk Warrior that is showing my hard drive to be fairly fragmented. I'm wondering if I updated DW and de-fragged the hard drive, it might improve system performance (?) Someone recently told me that de-fragging is no longer necessary since OS does this on its own. I'm NOT a techie type person and am clueless about such things.

 

I have four internal 1-Terrabyte hard drives, none of which is more than 25% filled.

 

I'm still using Snow Leopard since I have apps that are not Lion-compatible.

 

Any ideas or suggestions?

Mac Pro Xeon 64-bit Workstation, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 16 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,490 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2012 4:35 PM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    No, DW will not help. It has a function to show disk fragmentation, but has no ability to actually do anything about it. If it were me, I'd:

     

    1) Make a complete backup of the drive as it currently is.

     

    2) Boot to your Snow Leopard DVD and reinstall the OS. DO NOT choose Erase and Install. Do the standard install, which will leave your preferences, personal files and third party apps on the drive.

     

    3) Install all available updates.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,080 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2012 4:42 PM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    I think you're barking up the wrong tree with DiskWarrior. DW is good for fixing certain specific directory corruption problems but defragmenting is not likely to be an issue (that "somebody" was right).

     

    Read through some of the following in case you missed something, particularly using Activity Monitor to determine if a particular process is hanging or occupying a lot of CPU time.

     

    General Mac maintenance: Tips to keep your Mac in top form

     

    General purpose Mac troubleshooting guide: Isolating issues in Mac OS X

     

    Identifying resource hogs and other tips: Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used

     

    To identify possible hardware problems: Apple Hardware Test

     

    If all else fails reinstalling OS X from your original install DVDs may be justified. A simple reinstallation (i.e. without erasing first) will not erase your data. All that will be required subsequent to that is to run Software Update.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, Mac OS X (10.7.3),  27 years Apple!
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,080 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2012 5:02 PM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    Then I would devote your attention to Activity Monitor. Make its window nice and large so you can capture most of the running processes. Sort the list by showing "active processes" and select the %CPU column. Perhaps you can correlate the slowdowns to something you can identify. Post a screenshot if you are able.

     

    Also, next time you reboot, hold ⌘ V to invoke "verbose mode". This will cause a lot of cryptic messages to appear but if a process is taking a lot of time to load, you will be able to report what it is and perhaps someone can provide some insight.

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,655 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2012 6:42 PM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    Katie \'OConnell wrote:

     

    System performance didn't really improve after that.

    Employ the new user technique.

     

    <http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4053>

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,080 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2012 10:07 AM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    Yes, hold ⌘ V as soon as you hear the startup chime. Keep holding it until you see the lines of text appear instead of the spinning progress indicator. The purpose for this is to determine what is taking your computer so long to start in your initial complaint:

     

    • lately, when I reboot, the grey screen with the Apple logo and rotating wheel stays for ... maybe 2 minutes or more? Then it goes to a blue screen for about as long before giving me my desktop

     

    Don't expect to make sense of what it is doing, but if it is hanging for that long you will have enough time to read what it appears to be doing while you are waiting wait two minutes or more.

     

    Here is something else to try:

     

    Starting the computer in "safe mode": Mac OS X: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode?

     

    Read about what Safe Mode does before doing it - particularly, it will take longer to boot and some things simply won't work normally. However, if running in safe mode mitigates your problems it will be a clue we can work with.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,080 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2012 10:39 AM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    Now that I'm looking at your instructions, I see you've type in a capitol V ... does this mean I should have held down a Command-Shift-v combination?

     

    I understand, no, it is not necessary to hold the Shift key. Here is an excerpt from Apple's KB article:

     

    Starting up in single-user or verbose mode

      1. Shut down your Mac if it is on.
      2. Press the power button to start the computer.
      3. Immediately press and hold the Command (Apple) key and one of the following:
      • the "s" key for single-user mode.  (Command-S)
      • the "v" key for verbose mode.  (Command-V)

    You have successfully entered single-user or verbose mode when you see white text appear on the screen.

     

    Are you using a wireless keyboard? Give me some time and I'll try to see if there is anything special needed to invoke Verbose Mode with it.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, Mac OS X (10.7.3),  27 years Apple!
  • FatMac\>MacPro Level 4 Level 4 (2,065 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2012 11:13 AM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    Katie \'OConnell wrote:


    ...I have an older version of Disk Warrior that is showing my hard drive to be fairly fragmented. I'm wondering if I updated DW and de-fragged the hard drive, it might improve system performance (?) Someone recently told me that de-fragging is no longer necessary since OS does this on its own. I'm NOT a techie type person and am clueless about such things...

    I'm not sure we're all talking about the same thing here. Disk fragmentation is normally understood to mean files which don't have enough room on a hard disk to be written in one continuous piece; rather they're separated into parts which are sprinkled around the available spaces on the hard disk and then the disk's directory keeps track of the parts and when the files are to be opened, the directory serves to locate all their various segments. Disk Warrior doesn't address that at all.

     

    Rather, it deals with the internal fragmentation of the directory itself. To quote from the Disk Warrior Manual, "To understand directory optimization you first have to understand the way that the directory is internally organized. If you don't want to read the details it is enough to know that the data structures in the directory can be internally fragmented and use space inefficiently. Directory optimization is the process of organizing the data structures for fastest access. Directory optimization typically results in a 50% to 60% decrease in the time it takes programs to scan the directory and a 10% to 20% decrease in startup time."

     

    I can only speak from personal experience but when a partition on my Mac begins to behave strangely, I will check it with Disk Warrior to see both the degree of fragmentation of the Directory (the graphing process) and if the Directory itself contains errors (the rebuild directory process before a repaired directory is written). If the fragmentation is minimal and the directory is otherwise OK, I leave it alone. If errors are detected, I let Disk Warrior write it's replacement. Often, when the partition has been misbehaving and I follow that routine, including writing a repaired directory, the drive will go back to normal behavior. Sometimes it doesn't but DW has never made things worse.

     

    One of the advantages of our Mac Pro's is that with multiple drives and partitions, we can boot from a different startup disk and do these repairs easily.

     

    As far as disk fragmentation goes, it's my understanding that the Mac OS will try to write files contiguously, rather than just using the next available space, as long as there's enough free space to do it (which you have) and the files aren't too big. I believe using Disk Utility to Restore the boot drive to another drive or partition will defragment the source drive in the process, while restoring a non-boot drive will do a block-copy, which transfers the drive's contents, fragments and all.

     

    BTW, if you wish you can set your Mac to automatically boot in Verbose mode:

     

    To turn on Verbose booting, at the Terminal type the following:

    sudo nvram boot-args="-v"

     

    Disabling Verbose booting is just as easy:

    sudo nvram boot-args=

    Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 5,1 6-core 24 GB 5870 27" LED ACD
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,080 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2012 12:25 PM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    localized.rsrc (more than one, reside in a Library/Application Support/sub-sub directory

     

    Those contain language-specific resources, for instance dialog boxes in languages other than English.

     

    I would be hesitant to simply delete them since the application requiring them might "unexpectedly quit" if they are not present. You should determine what applications need them - the "sub-sub directory" name will probably be the name of the app - and reinstall the app. It is also possible they may be required by your system in which case the best way to fix the problem would be to reinstall Snow Leopard as I do not know of a better way to restore localized resources.

     

    If those files were damaged that may explain the principal cause of your difficulty.

     

    com.carbonstuff.apple.plist was created by a program known as PhaseOne "Media Pro 1" which may also be known as "Microsoft Expression Media" and is something you may have installed at one point. Does that ring a bell? If you need the program re-install it. If you do not know what it is then delete the plist.

     

    00000006.plist is almost certainly safe to delete.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, Mac OS X (10.7.3),  27 years Apple!
  • FatMac\>MacPro Level 4 Level 4 (2,065 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2012 2:56 PM (in response to Katie \'OConnell)

    Katie \'OConnell wrote:

     

    Quick update: I acquired Disk Warrior and ran it to rebuild my directories. So far, things seems to be running more smoothly.

     

    However, I am perplexed about the files that DW found to be "damaged" and not able to be repaired. Do I go in and manually DELETE these files?...

    Since DW doesn't fix files, just directories, all it can do is tell you about damaged files. One solution is a handy troubleshooting tool called AppleJack: http://applejack.sourceforge.net/ and http://sourceforge.net/projects/applejack/. It runs in single user mode so if your OS has  problems, this can do some repair without having to first get to the desktop. I just tried running DW's file and folder check and got a fairly long list of "damaged" files, all but one of which were in the Users' Preferences Folder. Running the "validate preferences" option in AppleJack identified them and moved them to a Preferences(Corrupt) folder it created right next to the Preferences Folder. The .plist files aren't active there but if one's absence did cause problems, you could just move it back.

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