Problems Installing Apps

Charles Martin chasm at
Sat Apr 3 14:08:37 PST 2004

> From: "Chris Walker" <chris at>
>> Here's the top tools in my toolbox:
>> 1. OnyX [...............]
> Thanks for the info Charles.  One point though.  Should these 
> maintenance
> routines be run from a separate disk/CD?

No, there's no need.

>> 6. REGULAR, VERIFIED BACKUPS. Alluded to in point 2 above but really
>> can't be stressed enough.
> Although I believe in backups, I notice since moving to X that people
> really really seem to stress their importance, perhaps more so than 
> when
> running OS9.  Given that X is supposed to be more robust/stable etc, 
> this
> extra emphasis always strikes me as a bit odd.  Doesn't invalidate the
> advice though  :-)

There's probably lots of reasons for this, but here's mine:

1. An OS X system cannot be recreated by simply dragging the System 
Folder from an old disk/cd/zip as you could with OS 9. There are 
hundreds of thousands of files in a typical OS X hard drive these days, 
and quite a number of them are invisible system files and symlinks and 
other things that are hard-coded to the drive path and "break" or never 
get copied in a straightforward copy. Thus, bootable backups require 
cloning and special tools that OS 9 people didn't have to worry about. 
 From a technical viewpoint, it's much harder to restore an OS X system 
than an OS 9 one, luckily tools have emerged that make it easier.

2. Consumer demand for hard drives is pushing makers to make them 
bigger and faster, but there's not a lot of attention paid to the 
failure rate. It could be the same as it was in years gone by, but 
there's just this perception I and a lot of geeks have that today's 
hard drives are more prone to failure than they used to be, ergo the 
need for backups.

3. Increased awareness of the complexity of restoring data from a total 
system failure, and the perception that people are storing more 
*valuable* data on their HDs than they used to. Five years ago, if you 
had a total hard drive crash, you might lose some financial records 
that your bank could, if needed, restore -- or business projects you 
might have been working on -- and that was about the worst thing that 
could happen.

Today, people store their LIVES. Their digital photos (no paper 
copies), their movies (no film copies), their business/legal/medical 
emails (legally binding documents nowadays!), their bank passwords and 
so much more stuff that, without a backup, is exceedingly difficult to 
restore. We might be setting ourselves up for a new Dark Age in much 
the same way the Romans/Egyptians did -- storing our knowledge on 
fallable media.

OS X is *incredibly* stable, far more so than OS 9 ever was, and it's 
not the fault of the OS that people are more adamant about backups. 
It's the other factors mentioned above, at least for me.


Have you noticed that this administration's harshest critics are ... 
lifelong Republicans?
Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neil, John McCain, Scott Ritter, John Dean ... 
and the list goes on ...

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