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Check for disk faults (10.4/5)

Faults with the hard disk drive are rare, but they do occasionally occur. Most faults are software related and are nothing to do with the hardware. It's not the drive that develops a fault and it is usually a problem with the operating system. OS X must find an empty space on the disk when a file is saved, remember where it is stored, and make sure that no other file uses that space. When files are deleted that space is made available again.

With all the disk activity that goes on in a hard-working computer, sometimes the operating system gets in a muddle or buggy software causes it to lose track of files or folders.

It's not unusual for minor errors in the filing system to occur and the computer carries on regardless, seemingly without a problem. However, small errors can sometimes grow into larger ones and it is best to nip them in the bud before they get any worse.

To check that the hard disk drive is OK, go to the Applications folder and open the Utilities folder. Double click Disk Utility and select the First Aid tab in the window. select the hard disk drive on the left and then click the Verify Disk button. The disk will be checked for errors and a report is displayed in the window. You can also click the Verify Permissions button too.

Mac OS X Disk Utility

Fix disk faults (10.4/5)

Suppose Disk Utility reports that there is an error on the disk? You will find that you can't actually repair the disk and this is because the disk is in use. There are so many files open and so much disk activity going on in the background that it is impossible to repair any disk problems.

The solution is to boot up from a different device. Using a utility like Carbon Copy Cloner you can back up the internal disk drive to an external one, such as a USB or FireWire disk drive. You can then boot from the external disk - switch on the Mac and hold down the Option key (the one labelled Alt). You'll then see a list of boot disks. Use the arrow keys and Return to select the external disk and boot from it. Once OS X us up and running you can run Disk Utility and repair the Mac's internal disk drive.

What if you don't have an external disk drive to boot from? Put the OS X disc in the DVD-Rom drive and shut down the Mac. Switch on and hold down the C key to boot up using the OS X disc. You can then run Disk Utility from it and repair the internal disk drive.

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