It started with a failed time machine backup. I had just bought an Airport Extreme and decided to plug my time machine drive into the USB port on the Airport. About 20% into the backup, time machine failed with Error -8062/Error -36. It failed on multiple files and I had to exclude them from the backup before it would move forward. Wondering what the hell was going on I tried to copy one of these files. Finder couldn’t copy it either giving a rather generic Input/Output error.
At this point I started thinking something was seriously wrong. The first thing I did was verify and repair permissions using Disk Utility. It found errors, and said it fixed them, but when I verified again the errors were still there. Not very helpful. Next I tried the much vaunted DiskWarrior. At $100 it isn’t exactly cheap but it came highly recommended. In order for DiskWarrior to scan your disk it shouldn’t be the boot drive. A bit of a problem since my MacBook Pro’s main drive was the one that failed. Using my other “Mac” (wink wink, nudge nudge) I used the nifty Target Disk mode of the MacBook Pro to mount the drive. DiskWarrior found something and said it was fixed, but I wasn’t convinced.
My paranoia was now in top gear and refused to let me rest after DiskWarrior’s all clear. I decided to buy Drive Genius 2 which offers a low level surface scan (also $100 but offers a competitive upgrade from DiskWarrior for $75). When you buy Drive Genius they give you a link to a bootable DVD image (unlike DiskWarrior that mails you the DVD, seriously Alsoft, get with the times). This DVD allows you to side-step that pesky boot disk problem. Unfortunately my MBP’s SuperDrive was on the blink. Enter my trusty 3rd generation 40 gig iPod. Using Disk Utility I restored the downloaded Drive Genius image onto the iPod and booted up my MBP using it.
Drive Genius started doing its thing and almost immediately discovered bad sectors on my hard drive. It was slow going so I decided to leave it on all night just to see how many errors found. In the morning it was still at only 9% scanned with over 100 bad sectors. Clearly this disk was breathing its last breath.
So, I have a hosed time machine disk because in moving from plugged in to my mac to plugged in to my airport, the old images were wiped off the disk in order to support backup over the air. I have a primary disk that is failing big time and probably not capable of giving me a solid backup.
Luckily for me, this is not quite as bad as it sounds. While time machine is nice and does a decent job most of the time, I don’t trust it too far. I use SuperDuper for real backups and I have had that going fine for a very long time. Push comes to shove, all my data is also backed up on Mozy in case a fire or something happens and everything in the vicinity of my computer dies.
Yesterday my Mac came back from having its drives replaced. I booted it in Target Disk mode and plugged it in to the other Mac. Opened Disk Utility, mounted my SuperDuper incremental backup and hit restore. 3 hours later everything starts up perfectly and I am back where I began. No fuss, no drama.
I love it when things work the way they are supposed to.