10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2013 3:21 AM by Flipsken
Flipsken Level 1 (0 points)



I am new to mac and am looking for some tools. Maybe with all your experience you can guide me:


- Is there a similar program like HD Tune Pro (only PC) for MAC which will test the healt of a hard drive. Have had some issues

with several lacie drives and want to proactively check them on a regular basis. I know disk utility does a test but it is quite basic, giving only

ok or not ok. Would like to see a report of bad sectors, warnings, ...

- When I buy an external HDD (Lacie, WD) I do not know which hard drive is actually inside without opening the casing. Is there a tool

that can show the actual HDD drive brand in eg. Lacie D2 or WD My Book. (saw some videos where a WD casing is opened and there

is actually a Hitachi drive inside.

- slightly off topic : any ideas on best external HDD (doubting between WD and Lacie). Lacie D2 thunderbolt or 2big thunderbolt look nice, but have had some issues before with lacie rikiki disks (not sure if I can trust them anymore, and they all seem to have Seagate inside now, of which brand I hear a lot

of bad reports). Any thoughts on Raid 1 mirroring ? (Lacie 2 big vs WD Thunderbolt Duo)






iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • arthur Level 5 (5,145 points)

    Check out micromat Techtool, or Checkmate. CheckMate - Micromat
    I used Techtool in the past, and it worked well.

    These third party utility programs seem to be less and less relevant. My macs know how to keep themselves out of trouble these days. I just use disk utility if there's a problem, which is extremely rare.


    If my drive is starting to fail, it's usually obvious. More important for me is to remember to do regular backups.

    If you go to About this Mac in the Apple menu, and then choose More Info..., and then System Report..., this may give you the manufacturer info you are looking for.

    I haven't made the jump to the Thunderbolt drives; I have a fantom greendrive and a LaCie that work fine.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,221 points)

    There are no useful applications of that kind other than perhaps "SMART Utility," if you think SMART data is worth keeping track of (which it isn't.)

  • Allan Eckert Level 9 (50,689 points)

    I concur with Linc. So far all of the maintenance applications I have tested have been less then stellar. They either don't do what they claim they will or they go off and do dangerous things without even the least bit of warning they are going to do it.


    My suggestion avoid them at all costs.



  • Flipsken Level 1 (0 points)



    Thaniks for your inputs...

    So basically I should just sit and wait until a HDD dies at some point (of course I will have 1 or more backups of important files).

    But still, for a peace of mind, I like to run some test tool from time to time, which would give some indication of what's going on.

    Also on this forum I read a lot about maintenance tools in general for OSX and whether or not ther are needed. Most claim they are not, and OSX (in my case Mountain Lion) does everything itself behind the scenes.


    So no need for utilities, disk fragmentation, disk checks, ..."it just works" - as Steve used to say ?? ;-)


    My apologies but I'm coming from the PC world where these kind of tools are indispensible for keeping your pc more or less working (like a car mechanic). ... one of the reasons I switched to MAC

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,221 points)

    How to maintain a Mac


    1. Make redundant backups, keeping at least one off site at all times. One backup is not enough. Don’t back up your backups; make them independent of each other. Don’t rely completely on any single backup method, such as Time Machine. If you get an indication that a backup has failed, don't ignore it.


    2. Keep your software up to date. In the Software Update preference pane, you can configure automatic notifications of updates to OS X and other Mac App Store products. Some third-party applications from other sources have a similar feature, if you don’t mind letting them phone home. Otherwise you have to check yourself on a regular basis. This is especially important for complex software that modifies the operating system, such as device drivers. Before installing any Apple update, you must check that all such modifications that you use are compatible.


    3. Don't install crapware, such as “themes,” "haxies," “add-ons,” “toolbars,” “enhancers," “optimizers,” “accelerators,” “extenders,” “cleaners,” "tune-ups," “defragmenters,” “firewalls,” "barriers," “guardians,” “defenders,” “protectors,” most “plugins,” commercial "virus scanners,” "disk tools," or "utilities." With very few exceptions, this stuff is useless, or worse than useless.


    The more actively promoted the product, the more likely it is to be garbage. The most extreme example is the “MacKeeper” scam.


    As a rule, the only software you should install is that which directly enables you to do the things you use a computer for — such as creating, communicating, and playing — and does not modify the way other software works. Use your computer; don't fuss with it.


    Never install any third-party software unless you know how to uninstall it. Otherwise you may create problems that are very hard to solve.


    The free anti-malware application ClamXav is not crap, and although it’s not routinely needed, it may be useful in some environments, such as a mixed Mac-Windows enterprise network.


    4. Beware of trojans. A trojan is malicious software (“malware”) that the user is duped into installing voluntarily. Such attacks were rare on the Mac platform until sometime in 2011, but are now increasingly common, and increasingly dangerous.


    There is some built-in protection against downloading malware, but you can’t rely on it — the attackers are always at least one day ahead of the defense. You can’t rely on third-party protection either. What you can rely on is common-sense awareness — not paranoia, which only makes you more vulnerable.


    Never install software from an untrustworthy or unknown source. If in doubt, do some research. Any website that prompts you to install a “codec” or “plugin” that comes from the same site, or an unknown site, is untrustworthy. Software with a corporate brand, such as Adobe Flash Player, must be acquired directly from the developer. No intermediary is acceptable, and don’t trust links unless you know how to parse them. Any file that is automatically downloaded from a web page without your having requested it should go straight into the Trash. A website that claims you have a “virus,” or that anything else is wrong with your computer, is rogue.


    In OS X 10.7.5 or later, downloaded applications and Installer packages that have not been digitally signed by a developer registered with Apple are blocked from loading by default. The block can be overridden, but think carefully before you do so.


    Because of recurring security issues in Java, it’s best to disable it in your web browsers, if it’s installed. Few websites have Java content nowadays, so you won’t be missing much. This action is mandatory if you’re running any version of OS X older than 10.6.8 with the latest Java update. Note: Java has nothing to do with JavaScript, despite the similar names. Don't install Java unless you're sure you need it. Most users don't.


    5. Don't fill up your boot volume. A common mistake is adding more and more large files to your home folder until you start to get warnings that you're out of space, which may be followed in short order by a boot failure. This is more prone to happen on the newer Macs that come with an internal SSD instead of the traditional hard drive. The drive can be very nearly full before you become aware of the problem. While it's not true that you should or must keep any particular percentage of space free, you should monitor your storage consumption and make sure you're not in immediate danger of using it up. According to Apple documentation, you need at least 9 GB of free space on the startup volume for normal operation.


    If storage space is running low, use a tool such as the free application OmniDiskSweeper to explore your volume and find out what's taking up the most space. Move rarely-used large files to secondary storage.


    6. Relax, don’t do it. Besides the above, no routine maintenance is necessary or beneficial for the vast majority of users; specifically not “cleaning caches,” “zapping the PRAM,” "resetting the SMC," “rebuilding the directory,” "defragmenting the drive," “running periodic scripts,” “dumping logs,” "deleting temp files," “scanning for viruses,” "purging memory," "checking for bad blocks," or “repairing permissions.” Such measures are either completely pointless or are useful only for solving problems, not for prevention.


    The very height of futility is running an expensive third-party application called “Disk Warrior” when nothing is wrong, or even when something is wrong and you have backups, which you must have. Disk Warrior is a data-salvage tool, not a maintenance tool, and you will never need it if your backups are adequate. Don’t waste money on it or anything like it.

  • Flipsken Level 1 (0 points)

    thanks for the info

    this clears out a lot...

    what is the source of this article ?

  • Kurt Lang Level 8 (36,635 points)

    There are articles to be found at reliable Mac sites which will state pretty much the same things. Linc has consolidated the opinions of such sites, his opinions, and the opinions of many other experienced Mac users who can pretty much all agree with everything he listed.


    Like all users, you can of course ignore, or disagree with parts of, or all of his info. But overall, it's accurate. The only exception I can think of is the disk utility app, DiskWarrior. That one is truly useful for fixing almost any drive with mild to severe file table damage. It's not something you would run as a maintenance tool, but can really save your bacon when used when necessary.

  • Flipsken Level 1 (0 points)

    ok thank you all for the important info

    no need for paranoia then, just use the system sensibly and enjoy the wonders of Apple ;-)

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,221 points)

    what is the source of this article ?


    I'm the source. It's based on my own experience and research.

  • Flipsken Level 1 (0 points)

    thanks a lot

    I'll continue by this info then.

    Just for my own peace of mind, I ran some checks with the proposed ClamxAV scanner yesterday and no virusses or malware found.

    Tool works very well. For the rest, apart from making redundant backups, I will not use any of the crapware ;-)