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The First Really Bad Thing I Can Say About OS X - Mac Applications & Software

Damn it. After two years of using a G4 and OS X, I've had my first REALLY bad experience. I can now name what is a severe weakness in OS X. And -- gulp -- a strength of Windows. This weakness is serious enough to keep OS X out of any organization (or household, for that matter) that wants to keep computing costs down. Even I would recommend keeping OS X out of a company of mine because of this. Two words: Bad Sectors. I'm not talking about dangerous areas of your city or of the Roddenberry Federation. I'm talking ...

  1. #1

    Default The First Really Bad Thing I Can Say About OS X

    Damn it.

    After two years of using a G4 and OS X, I've had my first REALLY bad
    experience. I can now name what is a severe weakness in OS X. And --
    gulp -- a strength of Windows.

    This weakness is serious enough to keep OS X out of any organization (or
    household, for that matter) that wants to keep computing costs down.
    Even I would recommend keeping OS X out of a company of mine because of
    this.

    Two words: Bad Sectors.

    I'm not talking about dangerous areas of your city or of the Roddenberry
    Federation. I'm talking about bad sectors on a hard disk.

    The Disk Utility that comes with OS X is a disk futility. It can't map
    the bad sectors out. HFS+, UFS, UPS, UFO... Forget it.

    Third-party tools can detect the bad sectors but can't map them out.

    I back up data often. However, I've lost data that OS X wrote to bad
    sectors without telling me. No disk-check ever happened. Maybe I can
    forgive that...

    In trying to save the files, I've discovered a few more facts that
    surprised me.

    "Drive 10" can tell me that my disk has bad sectors and has spare
    sectors for re-mapping, but it can't do anything for me. The Drive 10
    doentation says, "Go forth and use Disk Futility."

    Norton Disk Doctor told me the drive's surface is bad and when it
    attempted to "fix" the problem the effect on my hard disk was
    disastrous. Disk Doctor is guilty of malpractice.

    Apple has provided no means for OS X to create a boot disc. This is
    almost as bad as Disk Futility being totally ineffectual in dealing with
    bad sectors.

    Fortunately, someone created BootCD and gave it to the Mac community for
    free. BootCD definitely works.

    However, without any competent utility to re-map bad sectors, there's
    nothing to put on a bootable CD to save my sorry self.

    Am I wrong about all this? Do I have any choice but to buy a new hard
    disk for my Mac? Disks may be cheap, but I'm not sure that I want to
    spend the money. If I get more bad sectors, OS X can't handle them.

    At least with SCSI drives one could low-level format most problems away.

    The final, bitter twist is that I am sure I can slap the disk into my
    Windows 2000 box and use it's 30 GB reliably for some time to come.

    Yes, I've reason to believe that it shall be received in Gatesland.



    mz Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: The First Really Bad Thing I Can Say About OS X

    In article <1g0u6b1.19g88l71uxcliN%mz.net>, mz.net (mz) wrote:
     

    A lot of this is a driver issue. The driver is supposed to remap
    sectors before they degrade beyond the ability of the error correction
    data. The number of extra sectors on each track is determined by the
    drive maker. When bad sectors start appearing in the OS, it usually a
    sign of catastrophic failure. It can mean that the drive is
    contaminated or the magnetic media is peeling off. Total failure is
    very likely to follow.

    Low-level format expired back in the 80s along with stepper motor head
    movement and T-cals. Modern media densities are so high that the
    tracking data is factory-written onto the disk. The head can't follow
    such narrow tracks without it.

    I don't know if write verify is used anymore. It prevents data
    streaming so it kills the overall performance of the computer. Again,
    the driver and hardware should be monitoring the media quality. A RAID
    should be used when high performance reliability is required. They can
    recover from errors internally without holding up data streams inside
    the computer.
    Kevin Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: The First Really Bad Thing I Can Say About OS X

    mz.net (mz) writes:

    [...] 
    Any modern hard drive should remap bad sectors automagically. If you've
    gotten to the point where bad sectors are exposed to the operating system
    your hard drive is already having difficulties. It may not die right
    away, but I would make plans to replace the drive NOW. 
    Write-verify commands are extremely expensive. 2.4 Linux can't do it for
    IDE (the driver only supports standard READ/WRITE), and I very much
    doubt Windows does.

    [...] 
    If the drive is erroring on a read, you've already lost data. If the
    drive can't handle a bad sector on a write, the drive is no longer
    reliable.
     
    Forcing a write to each sector should force remapping at the drive level.
    Mark Conrad's "backup via dd" would actually be useful for this sort of
    operation.
     
    I find that terrifying. Heed the telltale signs of destruction before
    it's too late.
     
    If you want to recover from a disk drive read error, you need RAID.
    --
    Dale J. Stephenson
    com
    3/27/87 -- Ed Hearn for David Cone. 12/20/02 -- Millwood for Estrada
    Schuerholz has finally topped himself.
    Dale Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: The First Really Bad Thing I Can Say About OS X

    In article <1g0u6b1.19g88l71uxcliN%mz.net>, mz <mz.net> wrote: 

    You're acting like the human oline. Try DiskWarrior 3 (for OS X),
    and relax.

    David Derbes [edu]



    david Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: The First Really Bad Thing I Can Say About OS X

    >The Disk Utility that comes with OS X is a disk futility. It can't map 

    Yes, it can...*if* you format the disk using the "Zero all sectors" option.

    If the bad sectors are still not mapped out when you do this, it is because the
    supply of spare blocks has been exhausted. At this point, there is nothing you
    can do. The number of bad sectors has exceeded the ability of the drive to
    remap those sectors to spares. It's time to replace the drive.
     

    Normally, the drive's firmware will detect bad sectors on the fly, and
    transparently map them to spares. If your computer is reporting bad sectors,
    again, this may indicate the disk has developed so many problems that all the
    spare blocks have been exhausted.
     

    If Drive 10 is telling you spares are still available, you may need to reformat
    the drive with "Zero all sectors" to use them. (Expect this to take about 45
    minutes or longer.)

    If the format fails, Drive 10 is mistaken; no spares are available.
     

    That's typical of Disk Doctor, which was once the undisputed heavyweight champ
    of Mac disk utilities but is now just an also-ran.
     

    You can boot from the Installer disk and run Disk Utility from the Installer
    program's menus.
     

    Have you tried a reformat with zero all sectors? Your message is unclear on
    this point. If you have, I sincerely doubt that any utility can save your disk.


    --
    Rude T-shirts for a rude age: http://www.villaintees.com
    Art, literature, shareware, polyamory, kink, and more:
    http://www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

    Tacit Guest

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