Maintenance: iPhoto, HFS+ and AFP

2012-01-29 10:17:00

Laptops and drives

Over the past week Marli's Macbook had been performing worse than usual. Time Machine kept on hanging, Spotlight kept on using 100% CPU on one core and Safari and iPhoto were very slow. What with TM and SL being hard drive intensive software I reckoned I'd better check out the hard drive using Disk Utility (which does an fsck). Bingo: plenty of problems detected! To a point where DU informed me I needed to boot from another drive, because the laptop's drive was too broken. :(

Booting from the recovery partition using CMD-R quickly quickly gave me access to DU again, which after a while of running puked the following error: "Disk Utility can't repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files.". Basically it's telling me to grab what you can and run to the hills! Oy vey! 

Luckily we regularly make full hard drive images of our laptops, using asr (the command line access to Disk Utility). Booting from Marli's drive image was a cinch, as was making an extra copy of her home directory from the laptop. Sure, Time Machine makes hourly backups, but it never hurts to have an extra copy! The course of action was:

Making the extra backup took the most time because Marli's 42GB was turned into 120GB because the "cp -rp" made symlinks into actual files; took four hours in all! The restoration was a snap: 1.5 hours for the drive image, 2 hours for the OS upgrade and software updates, 1 hour for the homedir restore. And most of that time was spent waiting, not actually doing anything. 

While waiting for Marli's laptop to do her thing I took it upon myself to give our NAS a once-over as well. The file systems had some minor problems which were fixed easily. I then performed maintenance on the iPhoto database using the built-in tools and by doing a sqlite vacuum. That made a huge difference! Finally, because our iPhoto resides on an AFP share on our NAS I tweaked the AFP kernel settings on both our laptops. tags: , ,

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