Thursday, 31 January 2013

Mac disk Formatting and partitioning

Partitioning a Mac hard drive is the process of dividing a hard drive into separate logical parts , called 'volumes'. Mac users can create up to 16 partitions in a Mac drive; each one can be of different size and format. Partitioning is considered as the best way to organize data in hard drive.

Formatting :-
In formatting process, structure of file system is assigned in new Mac hard drive. It erases Mac drive to create a new partition map. You can initialize your disk as an Apple partition for making it compatible with the PowerPC Mac. You can choose the desired partition map type, i.e. GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) partition table, Apple partition table, or MBR (Master Boot Record).

GUID Partition Table: It supports Intel based Mac. Requires OS X 10.4 or later.
Intel-based Macs can only boot from drives that use the GUID Partition Table. PowerPC based Macs that are running OS X 10.4 or later can mount and use a drive formatted with the GUID Partition Table, but cannot boot from the device.
Apple Partition Map: It supports PowerPC-based Mac. Intel-based Macs can mount and use a drive formatted with the Apple Partition Map but, cannot boot from the device. PowerPC-based Macs can both mount and use a drive formatted with the Apple Partition Map, and can also use it as a startup device.
Master Boot Record (MBR): Used for starting up DOS and Windows computers. Can also be used for devices that require DOS or Windows compatible file formats. One example is a memory card used by a digital camera.
When you purchase a new hard drive for your Mac, either SATA/ATA (internal) or Fire Wire (external), it doesn't have pre defined file structure to write data. You need to format it either via Disk Utility or any third party tool.

How to format a Mac Hard Drive with Disk utility:-
1 Open Disk Utility, a window with a list of all the drives currently mounted on machine, will be open.
2. Select Disk and click to erase Tab. It is important to note that formatting the startup disk will permanently erase the data stored on the disk so, keep backup of data.
3.Select the Volume Format from the pop-up list. In most cases it's best to leave it at "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as this is the default. If there are other requirements for the disk, then select the format that best suits your needs.
4. A window will open asking to verify the erase procedure. Click the erase button in this window to start the process of erasing the disk.

Stellar Partition Manager is also very famous third party tool to do all Mac partitioning and formatting related tasks. Mac users can approach for it.

How to diagnose and fix Problem in Mac Performance

Sometimes when your Mac OS X starts running slow or refusing to start up ,in such cases people go out and just buy a new machine but, there is nothing wrong with Mac machine, the problems can be fixed. There are many potential reasons for the sluggish behavior of Mac like loads of too many applications, many start up items, less RAM etc.. Following are some tips which helps to improve Mac performance.

1. Restart your Mac:- Mac can be turned on for weeks or months without any serious problems but if you restart it once in a week it will save memory leak which makes the computer feel slow and sluggish.

2. Check the startup items:-  When you install applications, some of them might add themselves in Startup Items. If your Mac has many startup items, it makes booting process slow. If you do the following: Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items. You will see how many startup items you have. If you want to remove some of them just click the name of the startup item and then hit the minus button

3. Clean your Mac:- Over the long time usages of Mac or read/write process , lots of system junks, caches, language files, universal binaries ,duplicate files stored in Mac and it affects Mac performance. Stellar Speed Up Mac is one of the best Mac cleanup tool which helps to remove all these rubbish things from your Mac and make it faster.

4. Keep your Mac up to date- Once in a while Apple releases software updates. It is wise to install these because they often contain improvements and helps to keep your Mac optimized.

5. Cleanup dashboard:- Widgets are nice to have but they also take up valuable resources from your computer. Make sure you have no unnecessary widgets running. If you do, close them down to get a little more system resources.

6. Keep backup:- Keeping backup is the best way to protect your data from data loss situation. You can keep backup via Time Machine.

Check this video for more detail -  How to diagnose and fix Problem in Mac Performance

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

List of some other Mac Disk errors

1. Invalid volume free block count

The volume free block count is a type of cache of the real information stored in the volume bitmap, and the count being off does not mean your volume is damaged in any way. An incorrect volume block count message (block count changed from X to Y) is an example of this type of message.
"Volume header needs minor repair"
"can't locate IOPlatformMonitor"

2. Incorrect block count for file
In the case of this message, you can erase the file and restore from the most recent backup if needed.
Resolution. Each of the messages above is benign, and indicates no damage to the file system. You may safely ignore them.

Additional Information
With a journaled volume you do not need to start up into single user mode. When a volume is made available to the file system, the journal is replayed and the file system brought up to a consistent state. If you do run fsck, it is best if you use -n and -f flags so that it will not actually modify the volume. Options explanation from fsck man page (short for manual page)

3. Incorrect number of thread records
It means that your disk's file system is corrupt - that some of the internal bookkeeping is inconsistent. Disk Utility can only fix some of these types of problems. When you encounter something (like this) that Disk Utility cannot fix, you need to use any third party tool.
4. Invalid header node
The "invalid header node" refers to corruption in the hard drive's directory, which is preventing the computer from booting from it. 
Stellar Volume Repair has the ability to resolve all these problems. 

Mac stopped booting after removing bootcamp partition

Bootcamp is a Mac utility which helps to run Mac OS X and windows both on your Mac machine. This utility will create partition on your Mac hard drive and install Windows on your Mac. But, you would have read many problems shared by Mac users in various forums related to bootcamp. One of my friends stumbled onto some problems with Mac after removing the bootcamp partition. I am desribing the way we fixed the issue and hope the discussion would help many other Mac users facing this sort of problem.

My friend was not using Windows since last month so, he decided to delete the partition and gain some more hard drive space. He just browse to the utility folder in Mac and start up the bootcamp application to delete the partition and reclaim Mac hard drive space. I have done this many times with my Mac and it worked flawlessly. But, this time it didn't work on my friend's Mac machine.

There was some problem in booting process, which we were trying to fix. We connected the drive externally with another healthy machine. The drive got detected but can't be initialized. We tried another solution to get rid of this issue and got a third party tool i.e TestDisk online, this application was good , it can easily read the hard drive and enable message to apply the correct partition table without damaging anything. After using this tool we could easily boot our Mac.

How to resolve Mac disk errors beyond reach of Disk utility

Invalid node structure error:-

When you run Disk Utility on your Mac hard drive and it reports that it cannot fix the disk because of a Invalid Node Structure, it means that your disk is in trouble. This situation may occur if your Mac loses power while running . It signifies the start towards the end of your Mac performance. Disk Utility can not solve this problem but you can use some famous third party tool which can fix this problem. Further, I will focus on that tool in this article but ,you need to keep backup before starting any experiment. 

Invalid key Length

Invalid key Length is a serious error in the directory of the disk. When Mac hard disk directory gets damaged then this error occurs.
Every file or folder (item) on a Mac OS Standard (HFS) or Mac OS Extended (HFS Plus) disk has a directory key. Item names can have a variable number of characters (length).. A key with an invalid length is one which exceeds the maximum length. It is essential that an item's key is not invalid if it is to be accessed. Disk Utility tests key lengths at the same time when key order is tested. Unfortunately, Disk Utility and even some third party disk repair utilities are unable to repair this problem. Stellar Volume Repair has the ability to sort out these problem.

Invalid directory item count
This error occures in Mac because of frequent Kernal Panics or crashes of other tasks that require hard shutdowns. 
Catalogue file entry not found for extent
Catalog files are used by the file manager in order to maintain the information about order of files in Mac volume. Catalog file is a significant data structure of Mac OS X, which is required for proper functioning of your system. The catalog file is structured as B- tree file and therefore it consists of a header node, leaf nodes, index nodes and map nodes. 
These catalog file nodes helps to finding and accessing data from a volume. These nodes maintain the catalog files in a specific order. If the nodes are damaged or corrupted, you will not be able to find certain files or directories. This is the most common form of catalog file corruption and file records may be disordered. You can not resolve this problem via Disk Utility.
There are many errors like Invalid extent entry, Invalid record count, Invalid index key, Invalid B-tree node size etc. All these errors cannot be fixed by Disk utility but Stellar Volume repair tool has the capability to fix all the above described errors in Mac.

Be with us for more critical errors and their solutions

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

How to optimize Mac by using Mac cleaner

Mac OS X Lion is the most widely used and recognized version of Mac. Mac OS is an Unix based operating system and it has powerful features. So,it is less affected by virus. It helps Mac users to keep data in an organized manner. Although, Mac is an advance operating system but, with excessive use , it becomes slow. There has been large number of junk files and folders which degrades the Mac performance. It takes much time to boot or access the stored files and might even hang during the installation of any software.

Solutions to increase slow Mac performance:- Mac users can optimize slow performance of Mac by using any third party tool. Speed Up Mac utility of Stellar Drive ToolBox is one of the recommended software by experts. It has an advanced algorithm that identifies the duplicate and junk files, caches, language files etc.. and automatically removes from your Mac. Stellar Drive ToolBox is the complete pack of 12 utilities.

The 'SpeedUp Mac' module provides an efficient way to tune your Mac machine by removing all unwanted files and unused applications from the Mac. It can free up your hard disk space effectively by completely removing large files, cache files, universal binaries, unused applications, widgets etc.
Key Features SpeedUp Mac-
  • It helps to remove all unwanted Caches, files, logs, System junks, etc.
  • It deletes duplicate files and large files to optimize system performance.
  • 'Quick Look' button to preview image, audio, and video files.
  • It has scheduler to automatically run Mac cleanup tasks at a later time.
  • It cleans up boot volume as well as secondary Mac volumes.
How can I remove duplicate files in Mac?
There are two features available for removing duplicate files:- Clean My Mac feature or the speed Up Now feature. If you want to remove duplicate files from boot volume then choose speedUp Now option and for particular volume choose clean My Mac.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How to delete back up data from Time Machine backups?

Time Machine keeps the most recent state of your data or recent change in data on your disk. Time Machine creates incremental backups of files that can be restored at a later date. It allows the user to restore the whole Mac data or specific files from the Recovery HD. It works within iWork, iLife, and several other compatible programs. Time Machine allows the user to back up Apple Macintosh computers through Apple's AirPort utility and keep them into network attached storage devices or servers, depending on the version of Time Machine.

Time Machine

Time Capsule?

The wireless network device which is used to keep Mac backup is called Time Capsule. Time Machine doesn't back up every file on your Mac. Some system files are ignored, and you can manually keep backup of such files.
How to delete Time Machine backup?
When the TM back up drive becomes nearly full, it will remove the oldest backups automatically. You can also delete TM backup manually .Locate the backup or item you want to delete via the Timeline or "cascade" of Finder windows. If you want to delete all backups of a particular item or items, select it/them in the window. Right-click the item (if you're on Leopard, click the "gear" icon in the toolbar) and select either Delete Backup option(the entire backup) or Delete all Backups of <item selected> in the small menu that appears.

You can delete backup data by using sudo command:- 

sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/drive_name/Backups.backupdb/old_mac_name The sudo command needs your password.You can use the tmutil tool to delete backups one by one.
Restore from Time Machine
How can you restore single file and folder? 

Sometimes, you may face problem, when your system gets crashed and chances of loosing data increase. In such cases, you can get your data back from your Time capsule. The Mac OS X Utilities window appears. Select Restore From Time Machine Backup. Many Mac user prefer to keep their important data with Time Machine but if you want to create clone then you can not do with this utility. You can use a third party tool - Stellar Drive ToolBox, a complete pack of 12 utilities. Drive Clone utility of this tool helps to create clone of your Mac data.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Why You Need a Maintenance Routine for Your Mac?

Apple has discovered an advance, simple to use product that could attract and ease customers. Mac OS X is the most famous and advanced OS developed by Apple. But ,with the passage of time Mac system gets slow down. If you want to keep your Mac in tip top shape, you need to go for regular Mac maintenance.

Apple has few automatic maintenance features into the operating system. Disk utility does a basic repair of the hard drive and can repair disk permissions.The operating system itself has an ability to reduce the chances of fragmentation of file size 20 MB. It’s important to note that this does not produce the same result as defragging your hard drive. Mac file system HFS+ has it's own ability to minimize the chances of fragmentation.

Some important maintenance tasks that can keep your machine running reliably and smoothly are:-

  • Defragmenting the Hard Drive – this will keep your drive running at it’s optimum speed resulting in less seeking, reading and writing of files. It helps not only to speed up your machine but also increases the life of your drive.
  • General clean up – A drive that is close to full is not only a lot slower, but it is likely to cause software issues. A clean desktop will also increase speed at login time. You should remove all system junks, caches, duplicate files, language files, universal binaries etc..
  • Data Backup – This is by far the most important maintenance that can be done on your machine.  The Hard Disk is a moving part and like everything mechanical, it will die one day.  It is imperative that you keep a backup of all your important data. The Mac comes with time machine so even if you don’t want to purchase a backup program, there is no excuse to not have your data backed up.   
  • Directory structure rebuild – Think of your Hard Disk as a book with a nice big index to help you find information quickly. It is important that the information in this index is correct and not corrupt in any way, otherwise files could disappear or be overwritten resulting in data loss or even stop your Mac from booting.
Keep your Mac optimized with Mac maintenance tool- Stellar Drive ToolBox.
It is a complete pack of 12 utilities with one extra Encryptor utility. It helps to solve Mac disk related issues, defrag, speed up, wipe, clone for backup etc.. You can create ,delete, resize Mac partitions and hide it . Encryptor helps to keep safe your data from unauthorised access.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Mac data Encryptor

If your Mac holds confidential information, you can scramble, or encrypt, the data using an OS X feature known as File Vault. It protects your Mac from unauthorized access of data. You have to keep remember a 'password' ,if you want to protect your data with FileVault. 

You can protect your data with a famous Data Encryptor tool of Stellar. For more details watch the video...