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Thu, Feb 16, 2006

A Question of Time

Hi, it's me again and my freakish iMac... This time I updated to Mac OS X 10.4.5, and my startup volume was corrupted few hours later. Coincidence?

I repaired permissions, checked the volume, made a complete backup on an external FireWire harddisk (thanks to CCC!), updated, rebootet, repaired permissions and checked the volume again. Everything was ok, so I worked for a few hours on my machine. Then the iTunes 6.0.3 update was released, and - as always prior to installing larger software - I repaired permissons again. Shouldn't have done that, because just before finishing, the repair slowed down, hanged - and finally finished.

Alarmed, I checked the volume again. This time it showed an error in the node structure, a bad sign I'd seen before... So I saved the work from the last few hours, rebootet on a differend volume and tried to repair the damaged volume - but unfortunately Hard Disk Utility was not able to do that. Since I had a backup, I simply erased the other volume, restored the backup and the saved work. Everything works again now, but I fear it's just a question of time to see this happen again...

Why did this happen to my iMac twice? I'd like to think this is a hardware problem, but the iMac (including its harddisk) seems to be ok. Is it a software bug in repairing permissions? Is it a bug in Spotlight (which definitely was indexing when I repaired permissions, as it was when the first crash happened)? Or a bug in the journaled file system, maybe it cannot cope with so many files (half a million)? Hard to believe. The more I think about it, Spotlight might be the cause or at least be involved in the crash. I'll have a look on that.

(BTW: In the meantime, I found other reports on hard disk problems with the iMac G5 rev. B)

Don't get me wrong, I like to work with Apple's computers and Mac OS X, but with every severe crash I'm losing more and more faith in their reliability... So, why am I writing this? Well, actually I hope that someone reads this and says "oh, that's a known problem and easy to work around...". If you are the one, please let me know.

And just in case you want to see what you never ever want to see in your Hard Disk Utility (it's in German but I think you get the idea that the words in red mean something really uncool):

Posted by Thomas Much at 15:13
Categories: Apple & Mac OS X