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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.


Find the Culprit

April 19, 2004

Sometimes computers are just possessed. The third time a client's PowerBook came back to me because the HD was corrupt, I was ready to give up. The last time, a week ago, I reformatted the whole thing and installed a brand-new copy of Mac OS X 10.3, ran all of the updates and migrated his data back into a fresh user. Is the HD bad? No, I'm actually suspecting his midnight raids on the net with Limewire, but I won't go any further on that one.

Two days later he calls because Word is crashing, but a reboot fixes that one. Four more days later he calls because he is getting the BSOD-Mac on boot. Dadgummit. He has to leave town, so I pick it up a couple of days later.

It won't boot in single-user mode. Disk First Aid reports it can't fix it. DiskWarrior boots it, but hangs trying to build a directory after reporting an insane number of cross-linked files. Disk First Aid lists an actual file-name (instead of an obscure number), and I take notice. I hunt down and delete this file and try DiskWarrior again. Wow, it worked. Thing begin to work very well.

Remembering the Word crash, I dutifully go download every little Microsoft Office update (who can count that high, have these guys ever heard of a unified installer?) and install them. Can't hurt, might help. Haven't heard from the client for almost two weeks now (now that I've written this, today's the day, huh?).

Moral: most of the time a cross-linked file problem is the result of ONE errant file. Find the most likely suspect and just delete it and you might find your problem goes away. I've seen this dozens of times.