Top 5 Rescue Mac Utilities
1. Data Rescue II
Prosoft’s Data Rescue II is a tool that is designed to do one thing, data recovery, and designed to do it extremely well. Data Rescue II is for situations in which you need to recover critical data that has either been deleted or is stored on a damaged drive. It can work with drives that are failing because of corrupted directory structures (the most common hard drive problem).Unlike hard drive repair tools, which work by attempting to repair or rebuild corrupted directory structures, Data Rescue doesn’t make any modifications to a drive. This enables it to have a greater chance of recovering data from a drive than the process of actually trying to repair the drive. Repairing a corrupted hard drive can often be successful, but if it fails, it can also result in further data loss. Data Rescue’s read-only approach means that it often has a better chance of recovering data than other tools.
Alsoft’s DiskWarrior doesn’t offer the broad range of hardware diagnostics that TechTool does, nor does it offer the array features for things such as formatting, resizing partitions, and defragmenting drives that Drive Studio offers. It is designed as a drive repair tool and it can generally be considered the most powerful such tool. DiskWarrior can rebuild disk directory structures better than most tools; if it cannot repair a disk, it can usually build a replacement directory by examining the files on it. In fact, DiskWarrior is so often successful that many technicians respond in shock or surprise when DiskWarrior cannot repair a disk. In the process of rebuilding a disk’s directory, DiskWarrior also optimizes the layout of directory data for improved performance, particularly for tools such as Spotlight and the Finder, which rely heavily on disk directory information (DiskWarrior optimizes only the directory data and does not optimize or defragment the file data on the disk).
AppleJack is the only open source tool in this list and it is the only one that isn’t focused on hard drives or hardware. AppleJack is a tool designed to resolve problems with Mac OS X that can cause failures and erratic behavior, including startup issues. It is a shell script that is designed to run only in single user mode. This makes it useful if you are troubleshooting a Mac that cannot startup properly.AppleJack provides access to the disk repair options that Disk Utility offers (the fsck command-line tool) as well as to the repair permissions function in Disk Utility. It also includes features for cleaning out system and user cache files as well as the ability to verify the system and user preferences files are not corrupt.
4. Drive Genius
Also by Prosoft, Drive Genius is a comprehensive hard drive utility. It can be used to verify and repair disk directory structures; it can also be used to rebuild directory structures from badly corrupted disks. Like most third-party tools, Drive Genius provides a better chance of recovering corrupted disks than Disk Utility.Repairing a directory structure is the process of comparing it with the contents of the disk and then making corrections where possible. Rebuilding a directory structure replaces the damaged directory structure with a new one based on the location of data found on the disk—a process often attempted if repair fails.Drive Genius also offers a secure erase feature that can be used to securely erase all data on a drive or just the free space of a drive, which results in a secure erasure of any previously deleted files.
5. TechTool Pro
MicroMat’s TechTool Pro is probably the most comprehensive hardware testing and diagnostic tool outside of the tools Apple ships to authorized repair centers. It can test virtually every internal component of any Mac model. This is a great diagnostic tool for determining whether a problem is hardware-related and, if so, which piece of hardware is the cause of that problem. It can also verify the integrity of a hard drive’s directory structures as well as the integrity of the files stored on a hard drive and can be used to repair corrupted structures and files.
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