DiskWarrior 4.0

DiskWarrior Box
DiskWarrior 4
Price: $99.95

I've had DiskWarrior 4.0 for approximately 3 months, and have been asked for a review several times by many colleagues, clients, and friends. A program like this really takes a long time to review, in my opinion. So what is Diskwarrior?

Alsoft says, "DiskWarrior is not a disk repair program in the conventional sense. Instead of patching the original directory, it uses a patent-pending technology to quickly build a new replacement directory using data recovered from the original directory, thereby recovering files, folders and documents that you thought were lost and that no other program could recover."

You need DiskWarrior when you need it, and can't just play with it on an everyday basis, so sometimes, it just sits in its CD envelope, waiting its turn. The first thing I did when I first received DiskWarrior is to install it on my Utilities Hard Drive; the drive I use to boot up other machines and run all my utilities. DiskWarrior installed and ran without a hitch, that is until the last step. You see, my boot up hard drive is 10.3.9, in order for DiskWarrior to replace the directory structure it must be running 10.4. Yikes, huge downside for me. Not all computers I work with will run 10.4 well (mainly because of the lack of memory).

Not soon after receiving my copy of DiskWarrior, I needed it, but I was already booted from my hard drive, so of course, I ran DiskWarrior 3.0.3 and got nothing. Yikes! Well when you are working with other people's data, and they want it you go through many troubleshooting techniques, and I was at the end. I had done everything I could to try to get this hard drive to be seen. So, sure, I'll boot up to the 10.4 DiskWarrior 4.0 CD and see what happens. In under 10 minutes, the computer was up, I had replaced the directory structure, and I could now see my client's data. I was able to recover all their data and get it to them. Money well spent right there and paid for DiskWarrior in itself. I couldn't believe that DiskWarrior could be better than it was with version 3. The best utility on OS X just got better and I was loving it.

Since this time, I have had much success with DiskWarrior, recovering directories from numerous systems. Until....

I was creating an image for a macbook that I had been working on for about 3 days. It was acting a tad bit flaky, but I thought I would go ahead and run DiskWarrior on it to see if something was wrong. Well, a tad bit flaky went to complete disaster rather quickly. DiskWarrior totally killed the install of OS X on this macbook. I could no longer boot to the hard drive, all I got was the blinking folder with a question mark. Nothing I did could repair it, including running DiskWarrior again, TechTool Pro, and Drive Genius. Yes, there were problems that DiskWarrior reported, and that I told it to replace, and it did as I asked. DiskWarrior always gives you the option to save before doing this, I chose not to save the changed. Long story short, the install was shot. The drive wasn't bad, just the OS would not longer boot. I ended up having to start all over again. I could have done an install and archive, but since I use images over an extended period of time, I decided it was best not to take any more chances. Why did this occur with such a minor issue, compared to the story I told earlier that completely revived a dead drive? I can't answer that, but I know it left a sour taste in my mouth.

However, I can not shun away from the utility that has done so much for me as an Apple Technician through the past 10+ years, and on a recent occasion, I found myself saying, "I need DiskWarrior." I popped it in, it saw a client's drive, and I was able to recover all their data using the "preview" feature. DiskWarrior would not replace the directory structure for me, it would error out every time. However, it let me click the preview button (which is shown at the same time that you can replace a directory. This option mounted a preview of the drive, as if it had a good directory. I was able to browse the preview drive and then I was able to transfer files to another hard drive that I had attached. DiskWarrior had restored my faith. Whew.

This new version also includes other features, such as repairing disk permission (which I was always told should be run on the drive from which you are currently booted) and finds corrupted preference files, optimizes, repairs and rebuilds FileVaults, as well as a list of other features. I can not really review these options, as I have not used them. I am used to DiskWarrior being a one trick pony, and I would like for it to stay that way. I would prefer for Alsoft to keep DiskWarrior the way it is, and to not add additional features in this product. DiskWarrior has always excelled at rebuilding directory structures and I hope that continue to stay focused on that attribute of the product instead of stemming off into other areas.
Though DiskWarrior did give me a scare with a system, I cannot ignore the years of service it has provided to me, and the amount of data saved through this application. Though it turned one thing bad, it has turned at least 7 bads to good since I've owned it. This utility earns 4 out of 5 stars from me. tekspekstekspekstekspekstekspeks

Please let me know if you have any questions about this product or review, I'll be happy to answer them.