Disk Doctor says I'm terminal but I feel fine...
I just ran Norton Disk Doctor and it came back with what must have been 200 files that have one of the following problems:
Bad creation dates;
Bad modifications dates;
Bundle bits that are off but should be on and vice versa
Custom bits that are off but should be on and vice versa.
The thing I find strange is that OS 9.0.4 on my iMac DVSE 400 almost never crashes or freezes. I'd think if all of these files are messed up, my system would not be functioning this well.
Has anyone else had this sort of experience? My HD really needs to be defragged but Norton recommends getting all of these things fixed first. Do I really need to do all this?
Any help would be appreciated.
You get these all the time running Norton Disk Doctor.
Nothing to worry about, just tell it to "fix all".
It really is just a minor minor minor problem.
Just fix em all, and do the defrag.
I agree- fix'em all. I notice these errors popup mostly when you have just moved a group of files onto your HD from an external source (network, internet, different computer via removeable disk, from a PC, from a VPC shared folder, etc.). I've also seen this occasionally right after an installer has issued a fresh new installation of an application and even an entire OS. My impression is that those type of errors may not necessarily affect your computer right away, but they eventually get together to cause weird behavior here and there until you inevitably run a disk utility that spots them (after a series of escalating, unprovoked crashes, for example). I believe that these are commonly responsible for user complaints of such-and-such newly installed software, OS, or OS update making their system unstable and crash-happy. This is an important point, since (if this is as common as I think it is), all the user needs to do is run Disk Doctor (if they got it) to clean up the errors and said application/OS/patch will run perfectly fine afterwards.
Case in point- when I did a Word98 installation today (I only mention Word because it is such a popular program) and did a Disk Doctor scan (as I always do after introducing foreign files to my computer), the installation was riddled with these little errors. I have no doubt that my computer would eventually succumb to all kinds of wonky behavior had I not chosen the "fix all" option. I would nevertheless get the impression that Word98 was a terribly buggy, unstable piece of software (it may well be- I've only used it for a day), but the reality is that the software runs fine once you have Norton work it over. So far it has run pretty smoothly, so I think its going to be OK over the longterm.
I also vaguely remember it being this way when I did a fresh install of OS9.1 from the CD. After running Norton on it, this OS is a real trooper in uptime and stability. Had I not run it, I'm sure stability would have been quite spotty (as many have complained and many have experienced over many OS versions ago), giving a needlessly negative impression.
True, it shouldn't be something you have to do just to get some system stability on a Mac, but that is just the way things go, I guess.
Bad Creation Date means the Creation date is zeroed (shows as Jan 1, 1904), is invalid (Feb 30, etc) or is in the future, ie: May 3, 2007. This will not hurt anything, just messes up sorting by creation date. Repair utilites fix it by setting the value to today's date.
Bad Modification Date means the Modification date is zeroed (shows as Jan 1, 1904), is invalid (Feb 30, etc) or is in the future, ie: May 3, 2007. This will not hurt anything, just messes up sorting by creation date. Repair utilites fix it by setting the value to today's date.
Bundle Bits not set correctly. Bundle bits are set when the Finder is supposed to see a folder as a single file. This is very common in OS X, and in Carbon apps. If the bit is on by mistake on a normal folder, you may have a hard time getting into that folder. If the bit is off by mistake, the carbon application in question will be buried inside the bundle folder structure. And the Finder will let you into the folder in question, which is dangerous to that application. File/Folder names & locations inside bundles are fixed, changing them may break the application. Under OS 9, incorrect bundle bits will not affect the system in any way, just exposes an app to damage, or makes an otherwise normal folder behave in an annoying fashion. Turning the bundle bit on for a normal application has no effect.
Custom (Icon) bit means the file/application in question should use a custom icon from it's resource fork instead of the generic icon for that file type. Setting this bit on by mistake when there is no custom icon should do nothing. Turning it off when a custom icon is present will cause the file in question to show a generic icon. System stability is not affected in either case.
The errors you list should not affect the system stability, or interfere with a defrag operation. Naturally, if you see other errors, be concerned. There are many errors that could mess up a defrag specifically or your data in general. I find that Disk First Aid does a good and fast check. If DFA passes a partition, it is safe to defrag.
Wow! Thanks for all the good information. After I do my backup on Saturday, I'll run Disk Doctor and defrag. I haven't noticed that things are terribly slow but it may be so gradual I haven't noticed (it says my HD is extremely fragmented). Incidentially, Disk First Aid didn't come up with any errors.
If anything wierd happens on Saturday, I'll post the results.
Hey, a tip for defragging. Browser cache is usually the worst offender for dropping thousands of small files all over the place. If you trash the browser cache folder before defragging, the defrag will go much faster. Remember to empty the trash, otherwise the files would still be there and still bog down the optimizer. And don't do this while any of your browsers are running.
Browser cache is located at:
Netscape 4.x: /System Folder/Preferences/Netscape Users/<your user name>/Cache ƒ
iCab: /System Folder/Preferences/iCab Preferences/iCab Cache
Opera: /System Folder/Preferences/Opera Preferences/Cache ƒ
Mozilla: /Documents/Mozilla/<various places, varies by version>/Cache
IE: No idea, this is a M$ browser and went to my trash some time ago. Probably in Prefs folder.
Netscape 6: Don't have this one, probably the same as Mozilla or the same as Netscape 4.x
After doing this, and maybe deleting 100MB for 2,000+ files, always do a check with DFA to make sure the file system is still clean.
I jumped the gun and actually did the backup and repair a few nights ago. Everything looked fine until I went into Quicken this morning. My account registers didn't fare so well. I'm guessing that because of the change in dates of some files, some transactions now appear different than the last time I reconciled my accounts. My balances in my computer and on the bank statement appear quite different and I had to go back and re-reconcile three months of transactions. Not good.
My advice: Don't change any date information for any Quicken files (or anything else that is so time-sensitive).
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