Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Panther and Journaling: Carbon Copy Cloner and reformatting system disk

Apple - Discussions - Panther: iPhoto freeze, black screen of death
Based on the hypothesis that the primary problem is a disk defect not detectable by Apple's disk utility, I did the following.

1. Formatted my iPod as HFS (journaled) and used CarbonCopy Cloner to clone my iBook drive to the iPod. Repaired privileges before and after.
2. Booting from the iPod I erased and formatted my iBook drive (not just the volume, the entire drive) as HFS (journaled) including OS 9 drivers.
3. Used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone iPod to iBook drive. Repaired permissions -- this time some major (.core) privileges were repaired. Ran Disk Repair again, as usual no problems.
4. Restarted from iBook and tested. Found the icon for the CD/DVD system preferences was missing though the preferences worked. Switched users and the icon was back, so I located the cache for the System Preferences in usr/Library and deleted it. This restored the icon. Unsettling!
5. Restored the iPod (reset to factory, then applied iPod updater then synched with iTunes).

A few preferences did not make the round trip -- which is again unsettling. The power preferences, for example, had to be reset.

If I were to do it again, I'd like to see if I could install a basic version of Panther to the iPod w/ CCC, but do my cloning to a sparse disk image and restore from the sparse image. Given my experience with sparse disk images on an SMB share I could actually put the sparseimage file on an SMB share and use the iPod just for booting.

I've done some preliminary testing and not experienced the problems seen earlier, but I need to use the system a lot more before I start to trust it.

At this point I still suspect the problem is switching to journaling on a file system first formatted under OS X 10.x then subject to various lockups, repairs, crashes and severe file fragmentation through 10.1 to 10.3. (However the S.M.A.R.T test shows valididated, so the disk mechanism appears intact.).

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