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DiskWarrior and Leopard: be careful

DiskWarrior and Leopard: be careful

Running DiskWarrior on startup volumes with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard installed can have a problematic effect on permissions. The problem, according to Alsoft, is that DiskWarrior includes a repair permissions routine similar the one performed by Apple's Disk Utility, but has not yet been updated to be compatible with the changed repair permissions routine used by Mac OS X 10.5. In other words, running the repair permissions routine in DiskWarrior while booted from the DiskWarrior disk (or booted from any other startup volume) is akin to running the version of Disk Utility included with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) -- a no-no if the target of the repair is a Mac OS X 10.5 volume.

Alsoft's support site says:

"You should not use any utility to repair permissions of a Leopard start up disk while started from Mac OS X 10.4.x or earlier. Permissions will either not be be repaired or will be repaired improperly. This is true whether you repair permissions with Apple's Disk Utility, DiskWarrior, or any other third-party utility."

What Alsoft doesn't mention is that permissions problems can ensue not only while running DiskWarrior from a separate Mac OS X 10.4 startup volume, but also when running the utility from the DiskWarrior CD itself (which includes a stripped-down version of Mac OS X 10.4).

The consequences of running DiskWarrior's repair permissions routine in this manner can be steep. As noted last week, one user apparently found applications improperly running as root after the routine. Then there's this MacFixIt reader, who found a bevy of other issues:

"Running DiskWarrior has created 2 serious problems for me in Leopard, and though I have tried to solve them with the help of Apple Tech (I am on the Apple Protection Plan), the issues could not be resolved and they are not telling me to do a timely "Archive and Install". The problems I am having are as follows:

  1. External devices which are unmounted from the desktop still appear in the finder window until the next re-boot. There does not seem to be a way to get rid of the icons of the external devices that have already been disconnected in the finder folder window (though they no longer appear on the desktop as they have been disconnected).
  2. When I try to alter and re-save an existing document from any program, including Apple's TextEdit, it won't allow me to do it. I get a message that tells me the following for example: "You do not have appropriate access privileges to save file ?Samples.rtf? in folder ?Desktop?. To view or change access privileges, select the item in Finder and choose File > Get Info.
  3. I cannot lock changes in the Account Preferences to my admin account after they have been unlocked and in fact it remains unlocked now.

"Can you imagine experiencing this for every document? Apple Tech told me to re-run Disk Utility, which I did, and also they asked me to use my admin privileges to change the my user privileges for all folders, so that I can have the ability to both 'read & write' everywhere. Both trial solutions have not worked for me. The only way I can save a document now is to use 'Save As' which effectively changes the date of the original date of the document."

The solution that worked for this reader, as we've recommended time and time again, is to use the Archive and Install process offered by the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard DVD.

These issues stand in contrast to Alsoft's initial statement: "you can run the (current version of DiskWarrior under Leopard) knowing no harm will come to the hard drive or to your data,"

We'll reiterate our initial recommendation regarding DiskWarrior: Wait until an updated version (which Alsoft says will be free for current 4.0 customers) is released to run the utility on Mac OS X 10.5 startup volumes.


  • noted last week
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