The Artima Developer Community
Sponsored Link

Java Buzz Forum
Disk Utilities are Worthless

0 replies on 1 page.

Welcome Guest
  Sign In

Go back to the topic listing  Back to Topic List Click to reply to this topic  Reply to this Topic Click to search messages in this forum  Search Forum Click for a threaded view of the topic  Threaded View   
Previous Topic   Next Topic
Flat View: This topic has 0 replies on 1 page
Elliotte Rusty Harold

Posts: 1573
Nickname: elharo
Registered: Apr, 2003

Elliotte Rusty Harold is an author, developer, and general kibitzer.
Disk Utilities are Worthless Posted: Aug 26, 2013 9:10 AM
Reply to this message Reply

This post originated from an RSS feed registered with Java Buzz by Elliotte Rusty Harold.
Original Post: Disk Utilities are Worthless
Feed Title: Mokka mit Schlag
Feed URL:
Feed Description: Ranting and Raving
Latest Java Buzz Posts
Latest Java Buzz Posts by Elliotte Rusty Harold
Latest Posts From Mokka mit Schlag


Yesterday morning I had to hard reboot my Mac Pro when it wouldn’t unlock from the screensaver. When it came back up there were a few question marks in the task bar, some surprising warnings about full disk space from an extension I thought I’d turned off years ago, and unexpected software update messages. I eventually realized that my 480GB OWC Excelsior SSD had died, or at least was not being recognized. This is my primary boot drive, but instead my Mac had booted off another system disk with an older group of apps and Mac OS X 10.6.

Not a disaster; my data is backed up and my home directory never lived on this drive in the first place. I sent a message to OWC support (27+ hours and still no response, by the way) and then fired up Disk Utility. Disk Utility could not see the missing drive.

Next I launched TechTool Pro. Completely worthless. It found a few corrupt files on other drives but had no idea that the SSD drive even existed. And then it occurred to me that this is a common pattern. Although I have about on personal hard drive failure a year, I have never been able to use TechTool, DiskWarrior, Norton (back in the day) or any other such repair utility to fix anything.

The problem is that the hardware has failed (at least that’s my working hypothesis at the moment) and there is nothing any software can do about that. They are all cases of looking for your keys under the lamppost. The tools diagnose and fix the exceedingly problems they can do something about rather than the common problems that actually occur. Every hard drive failure I can recall has been either:

  1. an issue solved by reformatting and restoring from backup
  2. a problem that required replacing the drive or controller, or mounting the drive on a different system (it’s surprising how often Windows can mount a disk the Mac can’t and vice versa), or in a USB dock.

At no point has TechTool or anything else ever been able to help with a missing disk, and missing disks are essentially the only failure mode I’ve encountered. If the drive can’t mount, they can’t operate.

Nor have the various utilities that promise to watch your system in realtime and alert you of problems before they happen ever helped either. I long ago learned to turn these off because they cause more problems than they solve.

The only tools that actually help with disk and system failures are:

  1. Good backups
  2. Spare drives to swap in when a failure occurs
  3. Spare computers to use when the whole system is dead and needs to go to the shop

But disk utilities? They’re worth about as much as the floppy disks they aren’t shipped on.

Read: Disk Utilities are Worthless

Topic: Servlet Upload File and Download File Example Previous Topic   Next Topic Topic: Safely Create and Store Passwords

Sponsored Links


Copyright © 1996-2018 Artima, Inc. All Rights Reserved. - Privacy Policy - Terms of Use