DiskWarrior, the venerable utility from Alsoft, is my go-to utility to preventative maintenance on the Mac. Over time, the Mac’s directory tree can get munged (“Invalid node tree”, anyone?), which in turn can cause files to disappear. Disk Warrior doesn’t just fix wonky directory trees – it rebuilds it, fresh from the ground up, potentially recovering data that would otherwise be lost.
Party Like it’s 1998
I’ve written about DiskWarrior before, so I won’t attempt to regenerate that discussion here. In short, it’s my go-to utility when my Mac acts up.
Instead, I want to address a concern I have as a Mac user with regards to DiskWarrior’s deliverable format: the CD. Alsoft sells DiskWarrior as a disc. There are no full-downloads available. This is understandable, to some degree, as you can’t really run DiskWarrior from the same drive its installed on – but for those of us that have multiple hard drives, Alsoft’s decision to stick with the disc medium is a little frustrating.
Apple is clearly saying good-bye to discs, given the fact that the SuperDrive has been dropped on nearly all modern Mac models. So, the question is: how do you run DiskWarrior on these newer Macs?
I don’t have the answer for that, as both my Macs (each from a 2008 vintage) come equipped with SuperDrives. I’ve installed DiskWarrior on a secondary boot drive on my Mac Pro. To run DiskWarrior on my main drives, I reboot the Mac to the secondary drive and run it from there. So what’s the problem?
Alsoft released DiskWarrior 4.4. Getting the update involves three steps:
- Download the update from Alsoft’s site
- Insert the original DiskWarrior CD (to validate it)
- After the disc has been validated as a legitimate copy, the user is asked to then insert a blank CD (or DVD) to burn the update
In other words, updating to the latest version of DiskWarrior is a real pain in the rump. It’s increasingly irritating if you have a modern Mac, unless you spring for the extra $79 external SuperDrive. There has to be a better method of getting the DiskWarrior updates…
DiskWarrior 4.4 and Mavericks
When I installed Mavericks on my stalwart Mac Pro, I did not perform a clean install. Instead, I installed the OS over top of the existing one. If you’ve installed Mavericks in this manner, my recommendation would be to run Disk Warrior on your Mavericks’ drive, especially if you are experiencing any disk / directory related issues.
Even otherwise, I feel that running DiskWarrior is good preventative maintenance. In my case, DiskWarrior reported that my boot drive’s directory structure was 28% out of order. I wouldn’t have known that for the simple fact that my Mac was working without any specific incident. I only ran DiskWarrior as part of my once-every-two month ritual.
Given that my boot drive is used exclusively for running the OS and my applications, I’m guessing that the Mavericks install had something to do with the wonky directory structure. Running DiskWarrior did the trick and now my boot drive sports a fresh directory tree. (I run DiskWarrior on all my drives, just to be on the safe side.)
The Bottom Line
Disk Warrior is a powerful Mac utility. It’s pricey ($99), but there’s no other Mac program quite like it. Even though DiskWarrior is somewhat dated (both in terms of its looks and its distribution model), it plays well with Mavericks. Just be prepared to burn a DVD when the next point update to DiskWarrior is released.