My Mac diagnostic tool belt

My Mac diagnostic tool belt

Summary: I keep a special folder of Mac OS X diagnostic and repair applications on my Mac's hard drive in case of emergency and there are a couple tools that every self-respecting mobile Mac user should have in their arsenal tool. This is a short list of some of my essential selections...

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TOPICS: Apple
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I keep a special folder of Mac OS X diagnostic and repair applications on my Mac's hard drive in case of emergency and there are a couple tools that every self-respecting mobile Mac user should have in their arsenal. This is a short list of some of my essential selections:

The conventional wisdom is to run Disk Utility's a Repair Disk Permissions operation regularly and before and after a Mac OS software update but I'm increasingly starting to agree with John Gruber that Repair Permissions Is Voodoo.

Instead, I keep a complete clone of my hard drive on an external Firewire hard drive and keep it at home for safe keeping. I make the initial clone to the external using Mike Bombich's excellent Carbon Copy Cloner, then I synchronize the newer files weekly with Qdea's Synchronize Pro X (US$100).

If I suspect that my machine's acting a little wonky I run Jonathan Nathan's Preferential Treatment which checks all my preference files (both user and system preferences) for corruption by using the "plutil" command line tool.

If I have a permission issue (which happens often if you have multiple Mac OS X accounts on one Mac and share iTunes and iPhoto libraries between them, for example) Gideon Softworks' FileXaminer (US$10) can usually fix them without a trip to the Terminal.

Tiger Cache Cleaner (US$9) provides easy access to dozens of OS X maintenance and utility chores, including: repair permissions, run maintenance scripts, rebuilding prebindings, cleaning system logs and Spotlight meta data, eliminating duplicate or orphaned Login Items. TCC can be configured to run on an automated schedule.

Lastly, if you really get into a bind and lose a hard drive that's not backed up, my go-to recovery utility is ProSoft's Data Rescue II (US$99), especially now that they released a Universal Binary version and a bootable CD option that works on Intel Macs.

What's in your Mac tool belt?

Topic: Apple

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  • Tool Belt Must-Haves

    My Al-Book 1.5 spat its HD last weekend with some un-backed-
    up data aboard. It was seizing during boot so I took it out of the
    case to keep it cooler (a mighty job in itself) and connected it to
    a FW case. It would show up in About This Mac but not mount. I
    then used Disk Warrior to get it to a point where Disk Utility took
    over to repair the drive. Once mountable I used Carbon Copy
    Cloner to resue the data to a waiting external drive. Ta-da!

    As an aside, I've tracked back the failure to an overheating
    incident 3 months ago during our Australian summer. The
    ambient temp on this day was over 55 celcius, yes that's over
    130 degrees in the shade! I was using the PBook and is just
    stopped. I assume now that the hard drive locked up and
    damaged the innards. Live and learn.
    Icedvovo
  • The Apple Core: My Mac diagnostic tool belt

    I use Applejack on a weekly basis and Disk Warrior when things get
    wierd. Macaroni is great for the cron scripts. For back up & clone I
    use SuperDupper and to sync ChronoSync.
    roylance
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