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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.4 - Total System Maintenance


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Halcyon

 
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Is it really necessary to run software like DiskWarrior or TechTool Pro to achieve total system maintenance? What will they do apart from, or better than, what the built in functions in OSX do? By "built in functions" I'm referring to the scheduled maintenance that the systems performs during late night hours, if you leave your computer on.

I'm thinking more in terms of OS10.4.9 on Intel Mac's, but I guess this can apply to all OSX either PPC or Intel.

TIA
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Brown Study

 
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Lots can go wrong. If nothing ever did, there would be no need for the disk utility or fsck -fy.

Yesterday I ran Applejack in the AUTO mode, and it found a minor error, an orphaned file that it discarded. Twice it's found corrupted preferences files. Once in a while it otherwise repairs/modifies the system files (it uses fsck -fy) but like fsck -fy, it doesn't say what was fixed.

Some software updates wreck the permissions. iTunes updates always do on my machine — not just one or two but a list as long as your arm.

I've never had a need for DiskWarrior or anything beyond Onyx and/or MainMenu and running the crons. I run Applejack or the others regularly to keep the small anomalies from snowballing.

This ignoring the so-called heavyweight repair utilities and their constant upgrades needed with systems prior to OS X has been successful ever since I went from 9 to 10.2.
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MacHeadCase
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I only use DiskWarrior when nothing else can fix problems I have.

I run MainMenu every day. But I always make sure I have my DiskWarrior updated and ready to go just in case as it has bailed me out on a couple of occasions when nothing else short of a reinstall could help.

One time there was this power outage while I was working with my iMac. Nothing I could do would make the startup go past the grey Apple logo with the spinning wheel, the fans going ballistic.

Needless to say, I'm glad I have DiskWarrior. You certainly don't use it every day but IMO it is part of my essential utilities.
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Halcyon

 
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Ok, I can see how DiskWarrior can be a life safer...so I'll jot that down at the top of my list of "software to get".

Otherwise, I agree lots of things can go wrong...but maybe I should've been more precise on my inquiry: Is the scheduled maintenance that OSX performs automatically; when the machine is on but not being used, comparable to what DiskWarrio or TechTool Pro can achieve? Or either one of them does more, better or worse? (Taking into consideration some features, like emergency start up disk, etc., that are obviously not built into OSX).

Everyday lots of people post messages soliciting help for certain oddities they encounter while working, playing, etc. with their computers...I wonder how many of these could be avoided if there is a piece of software out there that does a better job of Total System Maintenance than the system itself does.
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MacHeadCase
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The built-in system maintenance scripts run only when the Mac is awake i.e. if it is in sleep mode, those scripts do not run.

I always feel it's a personal choice: I choose not to let my iMac run 24 hours a day and I shut it down at night. To save on electricity bills, ecological concerns and for random power outages (although here we are good, only had two power outages in 12 years), plus the G5 gets more than warm so in summertime with the sweltering heat, I feel it isn't good for the computer nor me! LOL
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Brown Study

 
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A longer explanation:

The overnight cron jobs — daily, weekly, monthly — are simply text-file updates.

File repairs such as those done by Disk Utility and DiskWarrior need to be run from an external source because a running system can't perform it's own brain surgery.

fsck -fy (file-system check; force because the system is journaled; yes, do each without asking my permission whether to fix each one) is the command that Disk Utility uses.

If you have only one OS X partition, the external source to fix any errors could be the DVD. If you have a second OS X with Disk Utility on an external, bootable disk or another bootable partition, it could be run from that.

But if you boot your machine in single-user mode (holding down the Command key and "s" key as it boots), the system stops loading before the GUI comes into play. At that point, typing fsck -fy is the same as running Disk Utility's repair function from the DVD because the yet-to-be-loaded GUI is external to the repair mechanism.

The free Applejack does a host of repair and maintenance tasks this way, and is well worth the price.
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Halcyon

 
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This is all very enligthening.

I thought that system cron jobs where performed even if your machine was asleep...bummer.

It seems that the most important maintenance/repair has to be done while booting from another disk (or other alternatives mentioned in the thread).

Did a little bit of reaserach on AppleJack and it seems to be a "must-have" piece of software for everyone (downloading it right now).

Will dig into TechTool Pro and DiskWarrior and evaluate which one is more convenient/better/important to spend my hard earned money in. It seems it is important to have one of these in case a catastrophic failure should occur.
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Brown Study

 
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Thought I should mention, since you are downloading Applejack, that it won't show up as an application after it's installed. It kicks in before the GUI does, so you never see it until it's invoked.
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MacHeadCase
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Halcyon, I dunno what others think about this, but I personally would not invest in TechTool. You already have bundled with every new Mac Apple's Hardware Test and I seem to recall in pre-OS X days that TechTool made a big thing out of being able to defrag the hard drive and it did it very well too. I bought TechTool Pro back then.

But now with OS X, you don't need to defragmenting the hard drive, OS X does this on its own: at least for any file that is smaller than 20MB. This is true unless your hard drive is filled up to the gills, in which case defragmenting would be quite useful to speed up the system.

So to me, TechTool isn't a must-have like it once was.
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