8 Replies Latest reply: Apr 10, 2012 2:40 PM by Gary - former developer
Gary - former developer Level 1 (95 points)

I recently ran DiskWarrior. It found over 300 files that were "unlinked". I took that to mean they were "alias" files. That was no big deal since I've been doing a bit of housecleaning.


The REAL mystery was where they were found.


They were in a hidden directory called 'sbin' which was located one level down on my system disk.


I fired up File Buddy and discovered a whole bunch of hidden files and directories in the same vicinity. They are ALL unix-style stuff such as 'var', 'usr', 'man', etc.


As far as I can recall, I've never loaded X onto this disk. So where did these files come from? Is it safe to toss them out?





G4, Mac OS 9.2.x
  • Level 8 (41,760 points)

    sbin, and the others, are system-level binary file systems that you cannot remove without disabling your operating system.  They are more than Unix-style file systems, the Darwin kernel, the base of the Mac OS X system, IS a Unix kernel.  It is derived from FreeBSD, a Unix operating system.


    There also parts of X-windows contained in the Mac OS X system, plus X11R6 is a windowing system that is optional under Mac OS X.


    Removal of these files and file systems will not enhance your system.

  • Michael Black Level 7 (20,416 points)

    /sbin contains binary programs, mostly system administrative tools and utilities.  Ordinarily, these will ONLY be available to user=root and no other users nor groups will have permission to run these or do anything with or to them.  That's the thing that makes it different from /bin which may contain programs that can be run as regular users or software specific users.  Since /sbin programs and code can only be used by root,  it is not even included in any other users path since they have no need to use anything there, nor the permissions to do so anyway.


    This is a bit dated now, but still basically applies - http://osxdaily.com/2007/03/30/mac-os-x-directory-structure-explained/


    Keep in mind that at its core, OS X is a UNIX operating system.

  • Level 8 (41,760 points)

    If the reference Michael pointed to gets you really interested in Unix, an excellent text is Mark Sobell, A Practical Guide to the Unix System, mine is the second edition but the book is still in print, but not cheap.  Will tell you how to operate at command level with the system.

  • Don Archibald Level 10 (101,350 points)



    According to what he posted, Gary has, to the best of his knowledge, never installed OS X on that drive. He's running OS 9.


    Seems to me that he needs none of those Unix/OS X-related files.

  • Level 8 (41,760 points)

    Oops, good catch, Don...didn't look at his tag.


    I am still hesitant to remove system-level files.  But raises a question, why is he seeing Unix system files on a Mac OS 9 system?  Haven't used my 7600/132 machine in a while but sure don't remember those being there.


    Of course there are a lot of things I don't remember anymore

  • Michael Black Level 7 (20,416 points)

    True, but it begs the question where a hidden directory named /sbin would come from if some form of either OS X had been installed at some time (since no Linux install would have gone onto an HFS or HFS+ formatted disc, it must have been from an attempted OS X install ???).

  • Don Archibald Level 10 (101,350 points)

    Or maybe that drive had been used previously, such as as an extra drive on an OS X machine, maybe for Time Machine or even a clone?

  • Gary - former developer Level 1 (95 points)

    I looked at the "date last modified" field of some of the files. It was 2001 on all of them. I MAY have had a go with X back then. I mean it's "possible". And it's entirely possible I blocked the "adventure" out of my mind.


    Anyway, I tossed the files without causing any problems.