DiskWarrior 4.0

December 1st, 2007 Desktop, Software, Tech

DiskWarrior is among the most respected file health utilities in the Mac world, but your first question might be; do we need them any more?

Since Mac OSX dispensed with the old ‘rebuild desktop’ function we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. Yes, the UNIX foundation upon which Mac OSX is built is a lot more robust than the old file system, but problems can still occur. As disk sizes grow, we have a lot more information on them, with deeper directory information, directory blocks and volume headers.

If that all sounds a bit too technical, here’s all you need to know. The directory information tells your RAM where a file is stored. It can cause everything to missing files or folders, disks not mounting on the desktop properly, an inability to move or copy files or crashes when files are used. It can happen for any number of reasons, and it can be as damaging as not backing up.

Where most directory structure utilities delve into the directories on your disk and retool or ‘clean’ them, DiskWarrior takes a different tack. You simply start up from the install CD and then select the drive you want to index. DiskWarrior reads the entire directory structure of your disk, including a repair of broken or missing information.

Rather than get halfway through your existing directory structure only to realise it can’t go on because of problems, it writes a new data directory for your whole system from scratch, showing you both and giving you the opportunity to replace your existing directory with the new, cleaner one DiskWarrior has built for you.

The new directory is also rebuilt to maximum efficiency and will result in better file system performance. While you won’t really notice a difference in speed, it’s nice to know you have a completely re-engineered file directory every time you run the software instead of file errors piling up and resulting in lost files or — worse case scenario — damage to your start-up files so your system won’t even boot up.

A very nice touch is DiskWarrior’s preview mode, which lets you browse through the files in the existing directory as well as the one the program intends to replace it with. Because it scans damaged areas for files and folders it could restore, you have the opportunity to do a little rudimentary data retrieval if the directory damage has affected valuable files.

DiskWarrior couldn’t be easier to use — the entire process described above happens in around five mouse clicks. Put aside at least an hour to perform a full scan and repair though — just starting up off the CD took 15 minutes, even on a fairly new system. Leave it until last thing at night and let it work its magic.

And don’t just wait for problems to arise. By the time they manifest as lost files or worse, the damage has already been done to your directory structure. Use DiskWarrior regularly for preventative maintenance. Although we haven’t been trained to believe so under Mac OSX, directory problems can still happen, and DiskWarrior takes care of them before they do.

RRP $165

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