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Mac OS X disk directory FAQ

This page is part of the subscription links for Macmaps Tech Support. All of these documents are accessible for subscription at $17 (U.S. Dollars) a month, or as part of the tech support e-mail, phone, or at home packages on my Macmaps tech support store.
It gives several solutions for repairing the disk directory. You may either subscribe to the fulltext of this page for 30 days of your own self help, or get 30 minute intervals of e-mail or phone support. Both options are available for purchase at tech support. Once you have purchased a password for 30 days, the direct link is
This FAQ has been written as it is a frequently answered question how to repair your disk directory.

* Special note for Disk Warrior users at bottom of FAQ *
Important exception notes many people forget:
1. You MUST backup your data (also a subscription page) prior to repairing anything. Issues which require software based repair frequently appear to have the same symptoms as a dying hard drive.
2. You can't repair the directory (Repair Disk function of Disk Utility) of the current boot drive. You must boot off a CD, or connect the drive via target disk mode that you wish to repair the directory of.
3. You can't repair permissions while booted from CD, except in Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Given those exceptions visit these sections to find the type of repair you need to perform:
4. A dying hard drive and a damaged directory can have identical symptoms. As such, not having a backup would leave you in a catch-22 situation if both the directory and the hard drive are in bad shape, leaving you only with a data recovery firm (see my aforementioned backup your data link for more info on data recovery). Prosoft Data Rescue with an external Firewire hard drive of greater size can recover information from a dying hard drive as long as the directory is in good shape. Disk Warrior and Disk Utility (Repair Disk and its cousin fsck) can repair a directory of a healthy hard drive. Norton Utilities Speed Disk and Disk Doctor starting with Mac OS 8.1 and later has had a Russian Roulette possibility of damaging the directory, and even more so with Mac OS X.

5. The release of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) has rendered all but Apple's Disk Utility and the hardware test volumes that shipped with the Mac (not that shipped with AppleCare) as safe to repair the hard. That means Disk Warrior, Techtool Pro are all awaiting Leopard compatible updates, and as of the last writing of this FAQ on October 26, 2007, they are not.<