Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Bugs & Fixes: DiskWarrior to the rescue

Ted Landau | Feb. 17, 2014
Alsoft's DiskWarrior is a disk repair utility. Plain and simple. But don't dismiss it as a one-trick pony. When you have a hard drive that otherwise seems beyond repair, this is the utility you want to have. While I have been making this recommendation almost since DiskWarrior debuted back in 1998, a recent incident confirmed that it is just as true today.

My startup disk was an SSD running Mavericks (OS X 10.9). I checked the Alsoft website for compatibility. Right off the bat, I wasn't encouraged that the home page design seemed almost identical to how it appeared years ago. A more troublesome indicator was that the current 4.4 version of DiskWarrior was released in 2011. The base 4.0 version dated all the way back to 2006. With all the changes that have taken place is OS X over this period of time, could such an "elderly" utility still be a viable troubleshooting tool? Had the developers had abandoned the program? Apparently not. The Alsoft webpage clearly stated that DiskWarrior worked with Mavericks. While that was encouraging, I remained skeptical.

By now, I'm sure you can see where this is heading. I launched DiskWarrior and it reported that my startup drive had problems. Unlike Disk Utility, it offered to rebuild and replace the damaged directory. I gave it the green light. DiskWarrior whirred away for a bit and then claimed to have succeeded. Sure enough, when I restarted the drive, it worked! The drive has been performing flawlessly ever since.

The story gets better. After relating my success with DiskWarrior to Chuck Joiner, he informed me that he had an external Thunderbolt drive that would not show up in the Finder. Disk Utility reported the drive was fine and so it fixed nothing. He now turned to DiskWarrior and the drive was quickly back in business.

Subsequently, Shawn King informed me that he had attempted to merge partitions on a drive — following the guidelines of an article here at Macworld. Unfortunately, the merge failed, leaving him with a disk that would not mount. As with Chuck, Disk Utility erroneously claimed Shawn's drive was "OK." Once again, DiskWarrior got everything restored and running.

After the dust settled, I contacted Alsoft for some additional information. They pointed out that Apple has made virtually no changes to volume formatting in recent years. Plus, it doesn't matter whether you have a hard drive, a Fusion drive or an SSD — the rules are the same. That's why DiskWarrior continues to function well despite minimal updates.

Further, if you have a problem that DiskWarrior cannot fix, definitely give Alsoft a call. They offer various "custom fixes." This could involve accessing an otherwise hidden feature of DiskWarrior, allowing Alsoft access your computer via screen-sharing so they can make manual changes to the drive's directory, or even sending your drive to Alsoft for them to attempt more extensive repairs. All at no charge. In almost all cases, unless it's a hardware failure, they will get the drive working again without data loss.

Bottom line? Mac software and hardware have changed a lot over the years. But one constant is that DiskWarrior can still save your bacon. Good to know.


Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.