DiskWarrior 5

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Stephen Hart
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DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:44 pm

From Macintouch:
DiskWarrior is a respected disk repair and recovery utility, based on unique disk directory repair routines, from Alsoft Inc. A long-awaited DiskWarrior 5 rewrite is finally available, bringing 64-bit code to handle massive directories (such as those created by Apple's Time Machine) while retaining support for older Macs (even PowerPC models). Other improvements include the ability to run from an OS X Recovery partition; delivery on a bootable flash drive with the ability to update for newer OS X versions; GUID partition repair; performance enhancements; and even better disk repair and file-recovery capabilities. DiskWarrior 5 is priced at $119.95 for Mac OS X 10.5 and later (PowerPC or Intel) and older versions are available for earlier Macs. Upgrades for existing owners are $59.95.
I've used and advocated DiskWarrior for many years. Uniquely, it does not repair a directory, it builds a new one and replaces the old one.

However, for a few years, now, I've not seen DiskWarrior find the kinds of errors you want to bother with. And Alsoft has really fallen down with Time Machine and Yosemite. Time Machine drives look to software as if they have a full backup for each incremental backup. That's not the case, but apparently DiskWarrior saw it that way. The new version is 64-bit software so it can handle Time Machine drives.

There are a number of other improvements, including getting the software on a bootable flash drive that can be updated with OS upgrades.

I bought an upgrade. I'd be happy if I never need it.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:26 pm

I got my Flash drive with DW 5 today, and tried it out. I don't have any damaged or corrupted volumes to test on, or a very full Time Machine drive, but it works great on everything I did have to throw at it.

It comes on a thumb drive, which can start up older Macs, or be used when started up from the recovery volume on newer Macs.

It also comes with an application to automatically build a startup flash drive (2GB minimum) for your Mac, with DiskWarrior on it. I haven't done this, so I can only report that the instructions say not to add files to change the names of files on the drive. (That's because those are system files.) If you want to build a startup flash drive with a whole toolbox on it, there are instructions on the web.
Last edited by Stephen Hart on Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by JerryFreilich » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:25 pm

I got mine also and discovered that you can quickly and easily copy the app to your own computer (which replaces, without asking, the older version 4). In that configuration (which is how I generally use it) you can connect problem computers or hard drives to your principal computer in Target Disk Mode and use Disk Warrior to work on the problem drives. I understand the various benefits of the thumb drive but I'm surprised that Alsoft hasn't made it easier to simply download and use version 5 from their website.

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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:18 pm

I've used DiskWarrior in that mode for a long time. Once you copy it to your hard drive, it gets propagated to any bootable clones, so you can use it from there. Or, as you say, you can use it on any connected drives for Macs.

Now that we can start up from flash drives, I'm thinking more in that direction. I followed DW's instructions and made another startup flash drive with DW on one partition. I think I'll make a generic Yosemite startup on the other partition.
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:59 am

I've used DiskWarrior 5 now several times and am completely satisfied. It doesn't seem to do much more than the older versions, but it does that well. It does claim to create an optimized replacement directory whether or not there are major issues to repair and it shows you a display of the degree of optimization. (FWIW, it does not replace Smart Utility, which gives very detailed information from the drive's SMART sensor.)

Here's some more detail on the DiskWarrior Recovery Maker app included on the shipping flash drive.

This app makes a drive that's different from the shipping drive, and also different from a Yosemite startup drive. The flash drive or a partition on it must be at least 2 GB.

The app copies the recovery volume from your Mac's hard drive, and adds a serialized copy of DiskWarrior. The result is a boot drive, but you boot into the recovery mini system. In addition to Disk Utility, etc. the graphic list of choices you see includes an icon for DiskWarrior 5. You choose this startup drive just like any other, either holding down option during startup or by choosing it in System Preferences > Startup Disk.

The shipping flash drive can only start up Macs capable of using older OS versions. That's presumably an issue with licensing of more recent OS X versions from Apple. If you can't start up from the shipping flash drive, you can use the recovery partition on the Mac, if it has one.

Alsoft strongly suggests you make the bootable flash drive. Actually, both are probably useful.

Costco has inexpensive SanDisk flash drives in 16 GB and 32 GB size (and bigger ones for more money). (And there are other sources if you want to save a little more money.)
You can partition flash drives with Disk Utility, so you could make a drive that has a copy of the shipping drive for older OS Versions on one partition and the recovery OS on another partition and even a full Yosemite install on another partition.

I would add that I feel a sense of relief having DiskWarrior back. It's no panacea, but it's sure handy in case of bad directory corruption.
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by JerryFreilich » Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:43 pm

Stephen, help me out here. There's something about this that I'm not understanding. I have a 750 GB external drive (pulled from a MacBook Pro) that I would like to use as a Disk Warrior 5 volume... and also as a way to install or reinstall Yosemite. I am not clear how to proceed. Right now, the external drive has on it only the Yosemite installer. I can boot from it and it can be used to install Yosemite on a computer that would need it. How do I make it into a Disk Warrior 5 emergency disk?

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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:08 pm

Well, I'm speculating here, but here are some things worth a try. I'm assuming you're intending to deal with Yosemite-capable Macs. (I think for earlier Macs, you'd have to make a partition for them.)

* Here are instructions to make a bootable Yosemite install drive in a few different ways. (Sorry about the autoplaying video!)
• You can install the full Yosemite as well as the Yosemite Installer app. That would make your drive into a bootable Yosemite startup drive. You can then put any app on this partition.
Last I checked, the Mavericks and Yosemite installers would only run when resident in the target's Applications folder. But I might be wrong about that. In any case, that'd be just a matter of drag and drop. Note that the installer deletes itself (from the target drive) after an install.
As long as it can boot the Mac in question into Yosemite, this partition should be able to run DiskWarrior as a normal app. It used to be that Alsoft recommended you put DiskWarrior in Applications/Utilities, but now they say nothing on that point.

* You could make a partition on the drive for DiskWarrior Recovery. One note I saw on Macintouch indicates that the app will only build the partition on a Flash drive. You can then clone that to the partition on your external hard drive.
The DiskWarrior Recovery Maker app makes a bootable partition that will boot into the recovery volume copied from whatever Mac you build it on. (They're different for Mavericks and Yosemite.) When you boot from this partition--using option on startup or choosing the partition in System Preferences > Startup Disk--you're in a recovery volume, but in addition to the usual main menu items, you also have the choice of DiskWarrior. No need for Terminal as below.
This is slick because it's a minimal environment.

* You could clone the DiskWarrior shipping flash drive onto a partition. This will boot older Macs. For newer Macs, to use this partition (or the shipping flash drive), you need to hold down Command R during startup. Then you need to choose Terminal from the menu and type /Volumes/DW/go to get DiskWarrior to start.
This is also in a minimal startup environment.

To be clear, I'm talking about three partitions here. The first one has to be big enough for a full Yosemite install. The second two only need to be bigger than 2 GB. (The Macworld article will specify what size you need for the various options it outlines, I presume.)
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by bluesky » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:37 am

Hey Jerry
I picked up one of these new SSDs to use for troubleshooting and booting newer Macs. I thought you might like to hear about it. Mine is the 120GB for $99, but they also have a 240GB for $180.

https://www.visiontek.com/solid-state-d ... etail.html

Well, this thing is awesome! I spent Christmas messing with it and setting it up how I want..

I reformatted it as Mac OS Extended Journaled using GUID partitioning. Then, while still booted into my iMac operating system, I re-downloaded the OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite installer. I ran the installer, being sure to direct it to install onto the formatted VisionTek USB SSD 120GB drive.

Upon the final restart I was booted from the USB SSD running a fresh copy of Yosemite. From that point it was just like setting up a brand new computer. I installed my necessary utility applications that I use and tested it on my old iMac (which I had the SSD into). Then I booted it on Valerie’s 2010 MacBook Pro and my newer Late 2013 MacBook Pro SSD. Everything functioned perfectly!

And this thing is FAST. When booting my old mid-2010 iMac from the USB SSD, getting to the log in is very quick. And then it runs everything fast as would be expected from a good quality SSD internal drive. I used it continuously for over an hour doing installations and testing various things. The USB SSD gets a bit warm, but doesn’t feel excessively hot. And I didn’t see any degradation in speed.

It’s like I now have a full blown Mac in my pocket, that I can boot into from any newer Mac. I plug it into the Mac's USB 2 or 3 port, restart the computer and hold the Option key until I see the bootable drive choices. I choose my USB SSD and boom, I am to the log-in screen in seconds. It really is pretty cool.
"All computers wait at the same speed."

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Stephen Hart
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:27 pm

I have a partition on my SanDisk 32 GB drive that I plan to install Yosemite on for similar functionality. A smaller partition is the DiskWarrior Recovery boot partition.
The only issue I have is that I didn't save the Yosemite installer, so I need to download it somewhere with fast internet. The last time I did it at home, it took all night and then some.
Costco has SanDisk drives in various sizes.

There's some discussion on Macintouch about the DiskWarrior software license. It's actually simple, but it's hard to interpret. Here's the relevant part:
2. Permitted Uses and Restrictions. This License allows you to install and use the Alsoft Software on any computer owned by you for the purpose of performing its functions on any disk owned by you. This License does not allow the Alsoft Software to exist on more than one computer at a time. You may make one copy of the Alsoft Software in machine-readable form for backup purposes only. The backup copy must include all copyright information contained on the original. Except as expressly permitted in this License, you may not decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, rent, lease, loan, sublicense, distribute or create derivative works based upon the Alsoft Software in whole or part or transmit the Alsoft Software over a network or from one computer to another.
One thing seems clear: installing on all your personal Macs appears to violate this license.
Backing up your computer to more than one backup (which every sensible Mac owner should do) also appears to violate the backup clause of the license.

What's unclear to me is how the license addresses making copies of the supplied flash drive or making copies using DiskWarrior Recovery Maker onto a flash drive. A flash drive is not a "computer," but could be considered a "backup," maybe.

It's also unclear what someone who does troubleshooting for others (as a volunteer or for pay) is supposed to do. For example, when I used DiskWarrior 5 on my wife's Peninsula College Mac mini, I didn't "install and use" it, but I did use it.
I can't make any negative comments about lawyers in general, as we have some in the extended family. ;)
Last edited by Stephen Hart on Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DiskWarrior 5

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:38 pm

Also just noticed this mention on Macintouch. This is a thumb drive, but with a SandForce controller so it's the same speed as an internal SSD.
The drive Dave mentioned above uses the same scheme.

http://eshop.macsales.com/NewsRoom/Fram ... omini.html
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