Review: DiskWarrior 3.03

Tech support is as good as the product. (June 8th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Alsoft

Price: $99.95 US

The Good

  • Updated frequently. Can download update and create bootable CD. Tech Support is the model of excellence. Recommended by every Mac expert we know.

The Bad

  • People with BlueTooth keyboards and mice may need to order an update CD.

DiskWarrior is an essential software tool for the computer. DiskWarrior analyzes and rewrites a hard drive directory, and addresses problems that can lead to lost data. Your computer's directory records the location of every file on your computer, and because it is always in use, the directory is subject to damage or corruption. Unlike other utilities, DiskWarrior does not just repair the directory, but replaces the old directory with a fresh new one for enhanced safety and reliability.

Updated for Each OS

The latest version of DiskWarrior provides support for the new Mac OS X 10.4 Access Control Lists (ACL) and extended file attributes. If you try to run an older utility, like Norton Utilities, on a Mac running Tiger, you will corrupt the volume header information because Norton Utilities does not know how to handle these extra fields and scrambles the information. On the other hand, DiskWarrior is a well-mannered program and if you use an older version you may encounter one of several error messages, such as a Mac OS Services failure, or This disk appears to have a newer version of the Mac OS disk format than this version of DiskWarrior. Your disk is not harmed, but you need to purchase a new copy of DiskWarrior or use the free updater to create an updated bootable version for the new OS.

Hidden Features Saved the Day

Recently, I dealt with a 700 MHz iMac whose owner had run the wrong version of Norton Utilities four times in a row. She was trying to take care of her machine and didn't realize she was running incompatible software. The machine would not boot, even though DiskWarrior created a new directory. I could see that the problem lay in the directory, but didn't want to erase a machine that was not backed up.

I know that there are hidden features in DiskWarrior, but not how to access them, so I called their Technical Support. The polite gentleman who returned my call was a pleasure to speak with. After I described the problem, he told me to press a key combination in DiskWarrior, and click on a particular portion of the splash screen. A dialog with a hint appeared. He checked the hint against his list and gave me a one-time password. I clicked the Scavenge option instead of Rebuild, and a Support menu appeared with just one option, Clear Corrupted Header. DiskWarrior then rebuilt and replaced the directory and my customer's computer was in better shape than it had been in a long time. I had discovered the best hidden feature, Alsoft's Tech Support team.

One of the converted?

If you own DiskWarrior 3.0, you can download the free updater. Just insert your original DiskWarrior CD, run the updater program, and insert a blank CD when directed. After burning, you will have a new startup CD with the updated DiskWarrior application. The one caveat is that your current CD must be able to start up your current Mac. The creation of a new updated CD went very smoothly for me although I have heard reports of sporadic troubles.

If you love your Mac, take care of it! Use Apple's Disk Utility to repair permissions each time you install new software and use Alsoft's DiskWarrior on a regular basis. It is the only utility most Mac users will ever need.

I have used DiskWarrior for years and have a strong sense of gratitude and loyalty to the folks at Alsoft for developing and supporting a product that has restored productivity, sanity, and data for various computers without ever endangering data or compromising the systems in any way. With its improved journaling and enhanced RAID support, including the new concatenated RAID volumes, DiskWarrior promises to keep our drives in good working order. A new version of DiskWarrior that works on the new Intel-based Macs is in the testing stages.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by P.A.M. Borys


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