Tuesday, February 14, 2023

DiskWarrior 5.3

Alsoft (via Agen Schmitz):

Supports OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion through macOS 13 Ventura when rebuilding Mac OS Extended volumes.

Now runs on Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs to rebuild Mac OS Extended volumes.

No longer requires a kernel extension (KEXT) to operate in macOS 11 Big Sur and later.

Now runs within the macOS 11 Big Sur (and later) Recovery environment on Intel Macs.


The next major release of DiskWarrior (DiskWarrior 6.0) will include the ability to rebuild APFS disks. Apple released a majority of the APFS format documentation in June of 2020. Our developers are now using this documentation to update DiskWarrior in order to safely rebuild Apple File System (APFS) disks.

I would be interested in this, since several times files have disappeared from my APFS volumes (from all snapshots).


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That is great, but Alsoft has taken more than two years to release DiskWarrior 5.3, which is not native for Apple silicon, but instead uses Rosetta 2. How long will they take to release a native version? And this is just to rebuild the directory of HFS+ disks. How long will they take to rebuild the directory of APFS disks? Alsoft needed four years to update DiskWarrior from 32- to 64-bit. Will they do in 10 years?

All this is really weird. It seems that key engineer(s) of DiskWarrior are no longer working at Alsoft. Otherwise, all this does not make sense. DiskWarrior 5.3 should have been released years ago. And even as native for Apple silicon. I know that rebuilding the directory of APFS disks requires full documentation from Apple even under NDA. But rebuilding the directory of HFS+ disks would be straightforward for DiskWarrior engineers, if they were still working at Alsoft.

Given how mind boggling useful Disk Warrior has been in the past, I'm willing to give them *a lot* of slack for taking this long. That software has saved me more times than I can recall. Pretty much *any* disk issue I had, short of hardware failure, would be magically fixed by Disk Warrior. It's top tier software.

And after all, Apple hasn't exactly been forthcoming about APFS. By the article's own admission they didn't release documents for it until mid 2020, three years after it was introduced. They are now known to be famously hostile to their platform's own developers. I don't know exactly why Disk Warrior has taken so long to release a new version, but being that as a professional mac developer I too have had to deal with sudden, unexpected, and undocumented changes in macOS, Apple's refusal to properly document all of their new APIs, the headaches caused by driver development especially with the switch to DriverKit, Apple's tendency to have parts their software be inscrutable black boxes, and the overall bugginess of macOS, it makes sense to me that it took this long, especially if they have a small team. My own company *just now* managed to finish making a fully universal release of our software. It took a lot of time and effort, on top of having to support existing users and implementing new features. It was a huge headache.

Obviously this is quite complicated software utility that HAS to get it right. The first time. with our data.

Unfortunately I think they missed their window of opportunity, not to mention the evolution of storage not only with APFS but with SSDs and robust hardware. I haven't had a disk failure in... i don't know how long (thanks universe!). I can't imagine a great need now and looking forward (ie: sales) would be worth development costs. Additonally, better backup solutions are ubiquitous. My money is on there never being a DW6.0 version, sorry to day. But as others agree, this tool WAS a lifesaver more than once.

finally, hope i'm wrong. i'd be first in line to purchase a DW6.0 if/when available!

I'm happy to hear that's the case for you Brian. I've had *several* corrupted drives with APFS. I believe they might be - at least some of them - related to my having to use a hub to connect to the few (two) physical ports of my MBP M1. But I'm not sure. In any case I've tried different brands of hubs, and currently use an Anker. But I've had a handful of drives failing and getting corrupted, along with several SD cards and thumbdrives.

In every one of those cases disk utility was useless, and couldn't fix the issue. And in every case I've been able to retrieve the data, thankfully, with a recovery software. Which is a huge hassle, as it spits back files often in disarray and untitled, etc.

So I am still very much eagerly awaiting software that can work the wonders of the Disk Warrior of yore... and I can't imagine I'm the only one.

Also, my iPad M2's handling of drives is a bit of a mess, and I wouldn't be surprised if it too ends up corrupting one sooner or later. So it's backups and recovery software for now. It's so silly that APFS is such an unsupported monster.

@Cam Yeah, I had lots of problems with HFS+ back in the day—with DiskWarrior saving me many times—but since 2010 or so I’ve had more trouble with APFS drives than HFS+ ones. I don’t know whether that’s because of APFS itself being unreliable or because I’m generally using it on drives that have higher density and so maybe are intrinsically less reliable. Or maybe it’s that the design of APFS causes so much more wear and tear on spinning drives.

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