When hard drive corruption occurs, your Mac may behave strangely (e.g., loooong pauses in Finder or Open/Close dialogs). In severe cases your Mac will refuse to startup. When Apple's Disk First Aid (a feature of the Disk Utility) fails to fix a corrupted drive, turn to DiskWarrior.
Alsoft's DiskWarrior is the hard drive repair champion. Have it on hand before problems arise.
These are good times to take a break and run DiskWarrior:
If DiskWarrior repairs a serious error (see "Review DiskWarrior's report" below), it typically has also resolved the problem(s) that prompted you to run it.
Even if DiskWarrior finds no serious errors, it's helpful to know hard drive corruption is not the source of any current problems.
This tutorial, which was created for DiskWarrior 4 users, has been expanded to cover both DiskWarrior 4.4 and DiskWarrior 5.
DiskWarrior 4.4 can be used on Macs introduced before June 11, 2012, i.e., Macs that can run Mac OS X 10.6.8. Newer Macs require DiskWarrior 5.
DiskWarrior 4.4 was distributed on DVD. DiskWarrior 5 is distributed on a USB flash drive. It requires a second USB flash drive (16 GB or larger) on which is builds a bootable DiskWarrior volume that's customized for your Mac.
Most sections of this tutorial apply to both DiskWarrior 4.4 and 5. Version-specific sections have a "DW 4.4:" or "DW 5:" prefix on the section heading. The screenshots were captured from DiskWarrior 4; DiskWarrior 5 users will notice cosmetic differences.
If you're reading this on the Mac that's about to run DiskWarrior, print the PDF version of this page to have it handy while DiskWarrior is repairing your drive.
Note: Resist the temptation to print this Web page from your browser – the screenshots get separated from the related instructions.
If your Mac starts up from its internal hard drive, DiskWarrior can't dismount the drive in order to repair it. So you must start up your Mac from the DiskWarrior DVD:
Some newer Macs with wireless keyboards have timing issues when starting up from any DVD. Instead of pressing the "C" key immediately upon start up (step 3 above), press the "Option" key. This will bring up the Startup Manager which will allow you to choose the DVD as a startup disk. If your wireless mouse is not working in the Startup Manager, use the right- or left-arrow keys to choose the DVD, and then press the "Return" key to continue starting up.
If your Mac fails to start up from the DiskWarrior DVD, it's likely the version of Mac OS X on the DVD does not support your newer Mac. In that case, you should contact Alsoft Sales to order an updated DVD.
If your Mac starts up from its internal hard drive, DiskWarrior can't dismount the drive in order to repair it. So you must start up your Mac from your custom DiskWarrior Recovery flash drive:
Select the drive you wish to repair from the menu of all available drives.
DW 4.4: DO NOT select your Time Machine backup drive. DiskWarror 4.4 cannot repair a Time Machine drive. (DiskWarrior 5 can repair a Time Machine drive.)
Click the "Rebuild" button to begin repairing the drive.
DiskWarrior's reports the progress of rebuilding the hard drive directory. The top progress bar corresponds to the 10 rebuild steps; the bottom bar shows the current step.
The 10 steps will take from 5 to 30 minutes (or more) depending on the number of files on the drive.
Red text indicated errors that have been repaired.
Repairs to icons, dates and file attributes are useful but typically do affect overall system performance.
"Incorrect values in the Volume Information were repaired" (or a similar message) indicates the disk directory was seriously damaged. Your Mac will perform much better after this type of repair.
DiskWarrior takes a minute or so to replace the disk directory.
If DiskWarrior reports there is not enough free space on the drive to do a fail-safe replacement, it's actually safe to tell it to proceed.
If the DiskWarrior report included any red text, DiskWarrior will offer to save the Step 10 report. Click "Don't Save" because there's no need fior this report once the drive has a new, clean directory.
If your Mac has additional hard drives (other than your Time Machine backup drive), it's a good idea to repair each of these drives.
Choose "Quit" from the "DiskWarrior" menu (top menu bar) to Restart your Mac from its newly repaired internal hard drive.
DW 5: Then choose "Quit" from the "Utilities" menu to perform the Restart.
After Restart, your DiskWarrior DVD will mount on your Desktop. Dragging the DVD icon to the Trash will pop up this dialog window. Simply press the "Eject All" key.
You can avoid this dialog by pressing the Eject key on your keyboard (instead of dragging the DVD icon to the Trash).
After Restart, your DiskWarrior Recovery drive will mount on your Desktop.