Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Mac OS X

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Fixing Hard Drive Problems

Leopard comes with a tool that can check for and repair minor hard drive problems. The program is Disk Utility, and you'll find a copy in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. Although Disk Utility is something you will hopefully very seldom use, it is also a very important tool for recovering from drive-related issues.

Repairing File Permissions

If you begin to see system errors related to denied permissions or failures to access needed components, you can run the First Aid component of Disk Utility to verify or repair file permissions. To do so, open Disk Utility from the Utilities folder. Select the drive you want to examine and then click the First Aid button (see Figure 31.3). Verifying permissions displays any anomalies in your file system, but does not fix them. Repair, on the other hand, finds and fixes any issues. These processes might take several minutes, but you can watch as Disk Utility lists all the files on your computer for which the current permissions don't match what they should be.

Figure 31.3

Figure 31.3 The First Aid component of Mac OS X's Disk Utility can check your drive for basic directory problems and fix them.

Finding and Repairing Hard Disk Damage

In addition to identifying and fixing permissions problems, Disk Utility can verify and repair drives. You can use this feature for preventive maintenance. If you repair your hard drive periodically, you might avoid the "sudden" appearance of a larger hard drive failure. Hard drives, as storage devices that are continuously in use, can develop localized problems before a user becomes aware of them.

You cannot repair directory problems on a startup drive (the drive from which the operating system is running) from the Disk Utility application on your hard drive. If you need to repair your main drive, you must boot from your system installation DVD and run a version of Disk Utility from that disk. To do this, insert the DVD and restart your computer while holding down the C key. When your system is booted, choose Open Disk Utility from the Installer application menu.

After Disk Utility has started, select the disk you want to repair, and then click the First Aid button to display the repair options. You can choose Verify Disk to check for potential problems without repairing them, or choose Repair Disk to check for errors and repair them, if found, all at once.

The nice thing about Disk Utility is that it's free, but it's not a 100% solution. Several popular commercial programs offer to go beyond Disk First Aid in checking your drive and repairing catalog damage. Here's a brief description of several hard drive diagnostic programs and an explanation of what each program does:

  • DiskWarrior—This single-purpose program is from Alsoft (www.alsoft.com), a publisher of several Mac utility products. Its stock in trade is the capability to rebuild, rather than repair, a corrupted hard drive directory file. It checks the original catalog to locate the files on your drive and then uses that information to make a new directory to replace the damaged one.
  • TechTool Pro—In addition to hard drive repairs, TechTool Pro (www.micromat.com) can optimize the drive and even run a wide range of diagnostic checks on all your computer's hardware and attached devices. One great feature is the capability to perform an extended test of your computer's RAM. This might be helpful if you suddenly face a lot of crashes after doing a RAM upgrade. To add to its bag of tricks, TechTool Pro can also do virus checks. To check a Mac OS X drive, you have to restart from your TechTool Pro CD.
  • Drive Genius—Drive Genius (www.prosofteng.com/) is a one-stop shop for everything "disk" related. From drive repair to partitioning and backup, this tool provides a wide range of common disk tools within a single package. Drive Genius is a newcomer compared to DiskWarrior and TechTool Pro, but is arguably the best all-around disk utility available.

Optimizing Your Hard Drive

In the course of normal use of your Mac, the computer continually writes various files, deletes others, and fits them into unallocated spaces on the hard drive. Over time, the hard drive fragments; that is, a single file splits into sections and the different parts spread out wherever they fit.

The demands that large files such as digital video place on the hard drive can cause this fragmentation to have a significant impact on the length of time needed to read or save a file. Defragmenting takes the various parts of each file from different sections of the hard drive and reassembles them into one contiguous block. Doing so allows the computer to read the file without having to jump around the hard drive.

The good news is that Leopard automatically attempts to defragment large files as it writes them to the disk. The bad news is that as your drive fills up, automatic defragmentation becomes less and less effective. Over time, you might want to invest in a third-party defragmentiation solution. Both the TechTool Pro and Drive Genius products discussed in the previous section offer this feature.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020