Apr 27 2009
Brought to you by: James
Thank you for joining me in the return of Power User Monday. Today, I’d like to share with you a very important procedure for ensuring the continued well-being of your Apple Macintosh computer. The following procedure should be run at least once a month, with the exception of DiskWarrior, which is only necessary to run twice a year, unless a serious performance issue or severe system damage occurs.
1. Disk Utility (Included with Mac OS X)
2. Keychain Access (Included with Mac OS X 10.3 and higher) or Keychain First Aid (For Mac OS X 10.2, Free)
3. Yasu ($3.50)
4. Preferential Treatment (Free)
5. BootCD (Free)
6. DiskWarrior ($79.95)
Step 0: Create a Boot-able CD Using BootCD
First, install DiskWarrior on your computer. Now, creating a boot-able CD in BootCD is probably the easiest, yet most time consuming, task in this entire procedure. BootCD will walk you through all of the steps, but make sure to include DiskWarrior as one of the applications when prompted. Other than that, it’s just a lot of waiting (usually 20 minutes to an hour). Once BootCD has created your boot-able disk image, open Disk Utility and burn it to a CD. Congratulations, you now have your very own boot-able utility disk. You don’t have to repeat this step every time you follow today’s procedure, but I recommend that you create a new boot-able CD every time one of the included applications is updated, or your OS is updated.
Step 1: Restart Your Mac
Believe it or not, there are some of you who have never shutdown your Macs, citing OS X’s Unix core as “stable enough”, or “built for a server”. This is true, but it’s good practice to restart your Mac at least once a month, just to clear any possible rogue processes.
Step 2: Verify or Repair Your Keychain
Are you always being asked for your password, no matter how many times you’ve told it to always remember? Your Keychain is probably corrupt, but that’s easily fixable. Under Mac OS X 10.3 or higher, just launch Keychain Access and navigate yourself to /Window/Keychain First Aid and verify your Keychain. If there are any problems, repair it. Under Mac OS X 10.2, the technique is similar, just launch the Keychain First Aid app.
Step 3: Repair Disk Permissions
Sometimes your disk’s permissions can be fowled by the most unthinkable things. The next thing you know, you can’t open your favorite documents folder because you don’t have the correct privileges. Just launch Disk Utility, select your hard drive, and hit “Repair Disk Permissions”. Are your permissions so fowled that you can’t get to Disk Utility? Don’t worry, the boot-able CD that you just created in Step 0 will have a copy of Disk Utility on it. Just restart from the CD and run Repair Permissions in a similar fashion.
Step 4: Run Preferential Treatment
If you’re experiencing application-specific issues, the preference file(s) for the application(s) in question may be corrupt. Preferential Treatment will verify your user and system preferences and will notify you of any corrupt preference files. Unfortunately, there’s little that you can do to fix a corrupt preference file. You will have to delete the corrupt file (which will destroy all of your saved preferences) and launch the application to create a new preference file. If this new preference file is corrupt, you should notify the application’s developer ASAP.
Step 5: Run Yasu
Just like I’m sure that there are some of you who have never shutdown your Macs, there are some of you who have never left your Macs on overnight. If that’s the case, then your Mac has yet to run some of its scheduled maintenance routines. Don’t worry, this is easy to do manually. Just launch Yasu, select everything, choose “Restart” from the “When finished” menu, and click “OK”. Your computer will restart when finished.
Step 6: Verify or Repair Your Disk
It’s time to restart from the boot-able CD that you created in Step 0. Just insert the CD into your drive and restart while holding down the ‘C’ key. Be warned, this startup could take 15-30 minutes. Once you’re there, launch Disk Utility, select your hard drive, and hit “Verify Disk”. If any problems show up, hit “Repair Disk”.
If you skipped Step 0, and did not create a boot-able CD, follow these instructions to verify or repair your disk.
Step 7: Rebuild Your Directory
Now that you’re still running from your boot-able CD, launch DiskWarrior, select your hard drive, and hit the “Rebuild” button. DiskWarrior will optimize your directory, making your system slightly faster than before, and catch a few errors that Disk Utility may have missed. Once DiskWarrior has generated a report, select the detailed report and make sure that there are no startling changes, such as leaping from 10GB of free space to 80GB. If all seems to be okay, then replace your old directory with the new one.
Step 8: Return to Your Happy Home
While you’re still running from your boot-able CD, open System Preferences, choose the Startup Disk pref pane, select your hard drive, and restart.
Congratulations! Now, remember to run this procedure at least once a month. If you do so, then the possibility of software or system problems will be drastically decreased. Thanks for reading. And, thank you for returning to Power User Monday with me.