Before Loading Scrivener


San Francisco University suggests that it is a good idea to do periodic maintenance on your Mac. I am suggesting that it might be a good idea to perform some of these before installing new software, such as Scrivener. … ce_osx.htm

Make of it what you will.

On the other hand dagaz offers more recent information regarding the need to do these routines [later in this thread].

dagaz says:

AmberV says:

This information may be useful as a tip for Scrivener users.

Contributors to this tip:
dagaz, AmberV, Spitfire31, Jot, Rayz, Valente.mac, bobm


Ooooh? Really? I’ve never done this (it sounds scary) and I’ve had my Mac for almost 2 years.

Me likewise. I mean, I do these things on a fairly regular basis along with backing up my personal data – but never so systematically when installing software. I am a rampant software fiend too. I probably install (and subsequently uninstall 90%) around a half-dozen to a dozen applications per week. I reboot maybe, twice a month? Never had any sort of problem related to installation with the Grand Exception of Apple Pro software. Final Cut does a number on your computer if it is feeling cranky. :slight_smile:

I’m getting scared now. I never do anything to my mac. I do everything to my stupid windows machine (because if I don’t, it explodes) but not to the iMac. I shall have to investigate this whole thing further. Oh, and the iBook as well…I’m going to have to have a lie down and some tablets…

How (or perhaps where?) is this recommended by Apple?

With the advent of disk journaling (since 10.3 by default, also possible in 10.2) running disk repair is not so necessary anymore. Also, since 10.4.3 you no longer have to boot into single user mode or the Install CD to verify the startup disk, you can do this from Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities/), then if repairs are needed you can take one of the other two options to repair it (unlikely unless your hard drive is old and on the way out).

Repairing permissions is usually only necessary when installing Apple updates (although there are some major exceptions, such as Macromedia - now Adobe - Flash). Simply copying something into the Applications folder (as is the case with Scrivener) isn’t going to cause any corrupt permissions.

As Jot has pointed out, one of the advantages of running OSX is that it pretty much looks after itself. It defrags files on the fly and keeps a journal of the last best known state of the hard drive.

Absolutely. I’ve had maybe – two disk errors since journaling hit the streets, and it was one of those ultra-minor errors on a couple files that I probably would have never touched. The one area that I do pay attention to is keeping the cache periodically purged. It may not be as important anymore, but cache corruption, especially of the font sort, could cause some royal headaches. You don’t have to do any booting or anything for that though. OS X has a number of background scripts that it runs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Like a Linux or BSD system, this is part of what allows them to run perpetually without rebooting. I have no doubt that if I were using this as a server instead of a desktop machine, I could get a full year of uptime. I know that isn’t a problem with the Xserve at work.

One should still back up though. No matter how awesome your operating system is, hard drives still fail and fires still burn.

I install a lot of video, audio, music and image editing software and always run Disk Utility to repair permissions before and after a major update or installation – not from the boot CD, though, but from the startup HD.

Many times, the DU log comes up empty (no repairs necessary) but often it does report repairs. Neglect it at your own risk… :wink:

Also, I never use Programme Update to install OS updates; I always download the combo update, repair permissions, install and then repair permissions again. According to many audio pros reporting in several forums (fora?) I subscribe to, this habit saves a lot of grief.

Further, I regularly run Alsoft’s Disk Warrior to maintain disk directories in good shape. It’s saved my butt on a number of occasions.



Nihil sine labore


Back in the early days of OSX (10.1 and, to a lesser extent, 10.2) I used to be like you guys and run a lot of preventative maintenance. However, as OSX has matured and grown more robust I now think it is a waste of time. I now do these things only as troubleshooting if something is going wrong. e.g. about a month or so ago Safari was unexpectedly quitting on me so I ran through some troubleshooting steps, including repairing permissions (it ended up being a corrupt icon cache).

I have not repaired permissions since then. This morning, after installing the security update last night and thinking about the things in this post, I thought I’d run through them again. Found absolutely zero problems. That was several minutes of my time wasted when I could have been writing. I go back to the point I raised above - if you are installing a lot of packages that require Admin privileges then you might experience some corrupt permissions, but in my book if they are not causing any problems then why worry about them? (Unsanity, long time developers for OSX have an interesting take on why this is a waste of time: Exercises in Futility Part 2: Repairing Permissions is Useless)

As for DiskWarrior and the directory structures, you’re never going to convince me this is a good thing. Yes DiskWarrior can fix broken disk structures that fsck can’t, but doing this as a preventative measure is a huge waste of time IMO. Again, disk structures is something that’s handled by the built-in disk journaling. At startup, if there is a problem in the directory structures then the disk journal should replace this with the last best known state.

BUT, to back up something AmberV said, I do make a weekly backup of all my important files and consider this a much better use of my time then preventative maintenance.

Chacun à son goût — whatever rings your bell. As I mentioned, DiskWarrior saved my day a couple of times. I didn’t even get started on the beneficial aspects of sacrificing a young goat (a chicken for a laptop) at full moon.

To make regular backups, of course, goes without saying whatever your maintenance habits. As they say: anything digital stored in less than three separate locations doesn’t really exist…


Nihil sine labore

Lord Lightning.

Could you point to the Apple document where this is recommended?

I don’t mean to be rude, but Apple does not recommend any such thing for installing software or even OS updates.

It certainly won’t hurt, but it’s certainly not required.


The software update page you link to does not mention anything about repairing permissions that I could find, and anyway was written back in 2002 and last modified before Tiger started shipping.

The Daring Fireball page you refer to says:

Then goes on to say:

Just remember that there’s no reason to invoke it unless you’re experiencing problems; it’s not a preventive measure, and even when it does make “repairsâ€

Okay, that certainly was a lot of references; thanks. But what you have done is taken a few Apple references from ‘if you have a problem with your Mac …’ and somehow blended them with ‘this is something you should do before installing stuff.’

But not one of those Apple documents says that you should repair permissions before installing applications or OS updates; that was my point. No matter what the other experts say, Apple has not said this.
Repairing permissions and the disk utilities is meant for fixing specific problems you have; it is not part of a recommended regular Mac health plan. If it is, then the MacOSX certainly isn’t as advanced, or as easy to use, as people give it credit for.

Oh, I’m perfectly relaxed thanks … 8)

I am merely pointing out something that is factually inaccurate. Yes, you can repair permissions every day if you want to.
Will it fix problems? Yes.
Does Apple recommend it before installing apps and OS updates? Nope. I mean, if it was required or recommended, then Apple would do it for you; they’re nice folk like that.

Sorry to labour the point, but … Mmm … no I’m not sorry to labour the point apparently.

To be honest though, these things do spring up all over the 'net, and anything said often enough is taken as fact.

Is Windows XP insecure? Nope.
Does Windows have a lot of users who surf p**n sites as admin users? Hell yes.

You know, despite us all agreeing to disagree etc etc, I’ve actually learnt a truckload of useful stuff from this post.

I came to Mac because I spat a huge dummy when my brand new pc blew up for the umpteenth time and just went out & bought an iMac without knowing the slightest thing about it. I’ve never looked back. I have also never looked at any technical stuff (e.g. “Mac OS X: Updating your software” when running an update) because I am so darned cocky about it. Blissfully cocky, actually.

However, with all the little tidbits I’ve picked up in this thread, I think I can make a few decisions about maintenance etc that I may not have been able to do with confidence before.

The one thing I do maintain though is backups. If there’s one thing a windows machine teaches you, it’s that backups are essential. Always.

So, thanks Lord Lightning, AmberV, Rayz, dagaz & joey - you finally got me to read the instructions (which were still sealed in their little plastic bag).

Same here!

As a matter of fact I just checked my copy of “Take Control of Maintaining your Mac” (from the Take Control ebook collection that I rather like). At a certain point it says:

You know the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!â€

And to open a whole new can of worms, there’s also something called cron scripts.

To my understanding (I’m a Mac guy since 20+ years but a newbie at unix), unix systems usually perform internal system housecleaning in the wee hours of the night (when no sane user, except writers, would be working).

These housekeeping chores are performed daily, weekly etc. and automatically, IF the computer is on 24/7.

However, if you’re in the habit of switching off your friend at night – no cron scripts.

There are several utilities to initiate cron script housework in a Mac GUI (if you don’t feel up to hacking in the Monitor, which I don’t). I use Cocktail maybe once a month on my laptop, which I do switch off or sleep at night. My G5 is always on.



Nihil sine labore


My own favourite maintenance app is Applejack available (free) at

I have used it monthly for the past two years without a hitch, and it’s particularly nice because it (only) runs on startup.

Before installing this or any other OS update, make sure your hard drive is in good shape:

Ok, the editor says so, because he read it somewhere else. The point is, he didn’t read it from the Apple website, so it isn’t an Apple recommendation.

Do you have a link pointing to an official Apple document that says carry out disk maintenance before installing software?