Before Loading Scrivener

Hi Rayz,

If you REALLY need to find the exact source why not Google your query. I can’t understand your obsession with this issue.

Why not take bobm’s excellent advice and install AppleJack. It is now at version 1.4.3. Highly recommended.

Perhaps you could start here on the Apple Support site and search yourself if you really need to prove something. We are talking about a ‘tip’ that many many many Apple Mac users recommend.

search.info.apple.com/index.html … h=Go&type=

It is there somewhere. You do the search. I saw it and did not realise that you would have such a driving need to source it, otherwise I would have bookmarked it for you. I can’t have been alone in discovering this advice because it is self evident all over the net. For example:

HeadGap says:

resale.headgap.com/osxnotesG4.html

TIP: Once you finish updating the system run the OSX Disk Utility and repair permissions from the startup X CD. You should do this anytime you install new software. … Before and after installing it is a good idea to repair permissions.

San Francisco University says:
sfsu.edu/~helpdesk/maint/mac … ce_osx.htm

Recommended Maintenance for Apple Macintosh System X

Regular maintenance can prevent many problems you may experience when using your computer. Our recommended maintenance procedures help protect you against the most common causes of system crashes, slow performance, and damaged data.

Why Perform Computer Maintenance

The areas of concern are:

  1. Repair disk permission errors - fix disk permissions that can cause a wide array of problems.
  2. Update/patch software - fix known problems in your OS and application software.
  3. Repair disk errors - catch physical disk problems before you lose data and recapture lost disk space.
  4. Backup important files - keep a second (or third) copy of all files you cannot afford to lose.
  5. Protect your computer against viruses - it is critical to keep the anti-virus software up to date as new viruses are introduced daily.

Some of the procedures can be set to run automatically at preset time intervals in newer Mac operating systems.

Recommended Maintenance Timetable

Weekly:

Checkbox Repair disk permissions by running Repair Disk Permissions using Apple's Disk Utility.
Checkbox Check for Macintosh operating system updates using Software Update. Install all recommended updates.

[i]Everytime New Software is Installed:

Checkbox Check for software and driver updates for your installed software/hardware.
Checkbox Repair disk permissions by running Repair Disk Permissions using Apple's Disk Utility.

[/i]
Monthly Maintenance:

Checkbox Run a third party disk utility such as Alsoft Disk Warrior, Tech Tool Pro or Norton Disk Doctor. Check for physical defects on your hard disks when checking for file/folder system errors.
Checkbox Check for software and driver updates for your installed software/hardware.
Checkbox Check free hard disk space. You should have at least 10% of each hard disk available.
Checkbox Update your Virex virus definitions.  Check for an upgrade of Virex.
Checkbox Back up your data.

kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/in … tiger.html

Hard Drive Maintenance
Before we install Tiger we want to be sure that our Hard Drive is in pristine condition for the upgrade. There are several procedures that we can perform to insure a healthy hard drive.

* Repair Permissions
  Mac OS X is based on UNIX and UNIX sets Permissions for all files and folders on our hard drives. These Permissions determine who has access to files and folders and whether they can 'read only' or 'read/write' to these files and folders. Permissions are a powerful security device that help protect our Macs from the outside world. Over time, these Permissions can get out of whack and need Repairing. Corrupted Permissions might demonstrate problems such as a slowing down of the Mac, denial of access to files and folders and other strange behaviors. Repairing Permissions is used not only for system upgrades but should be consider a standard maintenance tool for our OS. You should run Repair Permissions every week as well as after installing any software on your Mac.

I have edited my posts to this thread to try to re-establish the intention of the original post and to simplify the advice regarding the need to do hard disk maintenance before and after loading new software. If you have problems with the sources of this advice, please take it up with them.

:slight_smile:

This is true for versions of OSX up to and including 10.3. As of 10.4 “Tiger” these maintenance routines have now switched to a process called launchd - this can be verified by opening up the Terminal application in Utilities and typing nano /etc/crontab:

The beauty of using launchd for these routines is that if the computer is not on at the scheduled time, launchd will automatically run them at the next appropriate time. For example, by looking in /var/logs/ I can tell that my MacBook (which is always asleep with its lid closed during the night) ran the daily.out script last night at 7:08 PM.

To velente, who posted that very detailed description about repairing your hard disk, as of 10.4.3 you can check your hard drive with Disk Utility without having to boot into an Install Disk or single user mode. The only difference is that this will only tell you if you have a problem, to fix the problem (which should be extremely rare in 10.3 or above unless your hard drive is starting to age) you will still have to follow the steps you listed.

Hi Dagaz,

Thanks for the update on later versions of OSX. I feel a lot more comfortable now about forgetting my maintenance routines.

I’ve cleaned up the original post to reflect your excellent contributions.

:slight_smile:

Lord Lightning,

The stuff you linked to is all fine and good, certainly it shouldn’t do any harm. I used to always do preventative maintenance back when I was running 10.1 and 10.2. Since moving to 10.3 my preventative maintenance became less of a priority and now that I am on 10.4 I believe it a complete waste of time. If you are having problems you can then go to the excellent General Steps in OS X Troubleshooting.

As an example, let’s say that 10.4.9 is released in a month’s time and doesn’t clean up after itself and causes a couple of permissions problems. After installing this problematic installer, assuming it causes problems, you and I are both going to need to repair permissions. However, you might have repaired permissions five times between now and then. In total you are going to be repairing permissions 5 or six times, I am only going to be doing it once. The other five times you’ve repaired permissions aren’t going to cause any problems but in my book they are a waste of time.

IMHO, if you are running 10.3 or 10.4, have a modern computer with a hard drive under two years old preventative maintenance is a waste of time.

If you are running Windows ME on the other hand … :wink:

If you’re running Windows ME, then you have to be some sort of masochist … :frowning:

You’ve missed my point; I am not too concerned about where you read it; what concerns me is your assertion that Apple recommends it, and your inability to prove it.

Why the obsession? Actually, that is a very good question. I was programming for Windows when we first saw a whole new kind of ‘virus attack’; at the time, it didn’t really have a name, but it went something like this:

Some bright spark would post a note on a forum somewhere, claiming that there was a new virus in town and that no virus checker would pick it up. However you could delete it yourself by deleting some file that was sitting in your system directory. This message would be picked up and expanded (even by some respected IT journalists) until it was ‘recommendation’ from Symantec or Microsoft, and people up and down the internet were deleting files left right and centre. Of course, it wasn’t true; the file was the Microsoft Java runtime, and we now had a completely new way of invading folks’ PCs; the ‘social engineering’ virus.

Now personally, I reckon that it would not have been such a problem if MS didn’t allow anyone into the system directory in the first place, but that’s another conversation entirely.

Anyway, these ‘social engineering’ attacks are now huge business; they make huge amounts of money (about £270million in the UK last year and £380million in the US), they’re easy to do and are completely cross platform. All you need is a few thousand email addresses and a little bit of gullibility. You claim to be from a well respected bank and offer millions in return for a little money laundering (strangely enough, only millionaires fall for this one).
But the really dangerous ones are the messages claiming to be from your bank, asking you to log into a very good copy of your bank’s website and supply your details.
Folk STILL show me the messages they receive and ask me if they’re genuine. And I always say “don’t believe what anyone else says; even me. If you are unsure then question the source. Go back to your bank and ask them. Chances are, it wasn’t from them.”

Unfortunately, this means that I do question the source for anything like this, that I read in the forum. In this case, it is harmless; but I’ve seen other bits of advice given out on Mac and Windows forums that are downright dangerous.

Your original claimed said that 'Apple recommends that you clean your disk and fix permissions before installing new software". This is false; Apple recommends that you use these measures to fix problems that you encounter.

Now let’s assume that your comment was now so widespread and taken as fact. A few months down the line, we would have forums full of comments such as:

“A Mac? No way. Jeez you have to clean the disk each time you install something! Even Apple sez so

That’s the danger, hence the obsession.

yeah, whatever!

Actually I did know that, but I had totally forgotten. Thanks for pointing that out. :slight_smile:

Anyway, even with the heat raising a bit on this subject, something good came out of it (at least for me). I decided to verify the state of my disk using the Disk Utility. Ah! It had a little problem. So I plugged in my bootable external disk (with an up-to-date backup of my beloved MBP), boot it from there and runned Disk Utility > Verify Disk > Repair Disk. It did the job very well. I now have a nice in-shape disk! :slight_smile:

Anyway, I did decide to do something from now on: every single month I’ll verify the disk to see if there’s some problem. Not exactly everytime I install an app, but still regularly enough to check things and keep the system working fine. If necessary I’ll then run the repair disk.

– MJ

Hi Rayz,

I think you make some very good points in your post about ‘social engineering’. Don’t know why this subject has become so controversial.

Yes, it’s a good idea to look after your Mac, but I don’t think people need to repair permissions etc., every time they load an application onto it.

Glenn.

Hi Rayz, this might make you smile (not too much I hope - but it sort of endorses your stance on this issue - even if by default).

I wrote the following to the MacUpdate support contact (Joel Mueller):
I was wondering if the instructions that headed the Apple security Update, for preloading the update, signed - Editors Notes, had a real and credible source?

He wrote back:
Honestly, we don’t want to get involved with this. It’s the editors’ notes. Treat it as such.

Now don’t you dare gloat!!!

I thought my source for this was impeccable, but they won’t even endorse their own comments.

PS: Just as weird afterthought, I was idly doing some maintenance (end of month stuff) and found that 23% of my files were out of order - DW fixed it all. I’ll bear your exhortation in mind not to bother with all of this, but I will still do my end of month maintenance - even with Applejack on board.

:confused:

Hi Rayz, this might make you smile (not too much I hope - but it sort of endorses your stance on this issue - even if by default).

I wrote the following to the MacUpdate support contact (Joel Mueller):
I was wondering if the instructions that headed the Apple security Update, for preloading the update, signed - Editors Notes, had a real and credible source?

He wrote back:
Honestly, we don’t want to get involved with this. It’s the editors’ notes. Treat it as such.

Now don’t you dare gloat!!!

I thought my source for this was impeccable, but they won’t even endorse their own comments.

PS: Just as weird afterthought, I was idly doing some maintenance (end of month stuff) and found that 23% of my files were out of order - DW fixed it all. I’ll bear your exhortation in mind not to bother with all of this, but I will still do my end of month maintenance - even with Applejack on board.

:confused:

Lord Lightnig,

I’ve just had a closer read of the SFSU article that you link to in the first post. I’m sorry, but its clear that the person/s writing this have no idea what causes incorrect permissions or what the repair permissions function does:

This is just completely untrue. Permissions can only become changed (they can’t become “corrupt”) through certain actions, the most common of which is running an installer program that asks for an admin password. The second most common cause is people playing around with the permissions settings for folders outside of their home directory - this should never be done unless you know exactly what you are doing and why.

If, however, they had said “preference files can become corrupt through the normal use of your computer” I would have given this article a lot more credence. In my experience the number one cause of problems in OSX is corrupt preferences (.plist files). This can easily be fixed by either running the ‘plutil’ command from the command line or using a utility such as Prerential Treatment.

BTW, AppleJack just gives you a convenient front end to stuff that is already built into OSX, e.g. the repair disk function will just run “fsck -fy” the built-in filesystem check that is used by disk utility, but can also be run by starting up into single user mode.

There was also a statement to the effect that “corrupt permissions” (as if permission flags can become truly corrupt without serious problems at the filesystem level that no amount of chmodding will ever fix) can cause the computer to slow down. Eh? This issue is, in terms of file system speed, not too far off of something having the “wrong” colour label assigned to it.

Hi Dagaz,

I am really most grateful to you for the link to Preferential Treatment. It is excellent.

I am quite like many other writers, I suspect, who are pretty much engaged in the business of writing because my wife and kids keep wanting to eat and silly stuff like paying the mortgage.

I have never seemed to have the time to get in to the Unix world of plutil-ing and chmod-ing and all that stuff. So I am genuinely grateful that the excellent feedback on this thread has both introduced me to some of these functions of OSX and still respected the fact that I am just a writer very much at the ‘duckies and horsies’ level of understanding these functions.

A gracious thank you to all who have provided so much time and effort in considering the issues in this thread and posting so much really helpful stuff. Special thanks to dagaz, AmberV, Spitfire31, Jot, Rayz, Valente.mac, bobm

I was wondering if AmberV, as mod for this thread, might review my first post and, in light of everything that has been raised here might edit it to make it as up to date and useful as possible for new users of Scrivener.

:slight_smile:

You can edit posts that you have made, you know? I am not exactly sure what you want me to fix it to. To my knowledge, Scrivener is the type of application that does absolutely nothing to your system files. It adds some preferences into your home directory when you run it, but that is it. The precautions you listed take place on a part of your computer that Scrivener never touches once. Malfunctions in those areas are not going to (directly) impact Scrivener, either. So, in my opinion the whole recommendation to clean your hard drive and reboot multiple times is a fallacy. If you want me to put a little red hot line at the top that says something to that effect, at the top, I’ll be happy to.

Thanks AmberV.

I’ve edited it and I think it now seems useful and leaves users better informed about whether they may like to do, or not do, maintenance on their hard drive before they load Scrivener.

:slight_smile:

If you are a member of MacFixIt, you’ll know that one of the main recommendations whenever updating a new OS version is to fix permissions. The countless troubles people have and report frequently go back to this issue. Of course there are a number of (free or low cost) system apps that do a fix on a schedule, automatically.

I use Macaroni (~$9), which does many system maintenance chores. One user has said “Just humms in the background and does what Unix machines normally do at night, when normal users, like you and me either shut the mac down or put it to rest.” (OSX performs many maintenance routines at night, if Mac is turned off, it doesn’t get done.)

But there are other apps out there that do similar things.

Pierre,

Sorry, but much of that simply isn’t true. If an OS update installer causes permissions problems, then the root problem is almost certainly with something else on your system. While repairing permissions will likely fix the problem, it’s equally likely the OS updater didn’t cause it in the first place.

Secondly, as already mentioned in this thread, the maintenance routines (known as cronjobs) that Unix machines perform automatically are now handled by a different process in OSX 10.4, known as launchd. If your computer is asleep at the usual time for these routines to be run, launchd ensures that they are run at the next available time - i.e. when the computer is next started or woken from sleep.

There is an awful lot of FUD and second-hand misinformation floating around out there about OSX system maintenance; don’t fall prey to it.

Antony - yes, you’re right about launchd, which does the monthly on the 1st at 5:30 am, the weekly on the 6th day at 3:15, and the daily at 3:15 am.

I found somewhere on the web, a discussion on launchd and how it didn’t work correctly prior to 10.4.3, but that it now works.

However, a followup post provided the following:

"the mechanism for having OS X 10.4’s built-in maintenance routines run automatically whenever necessary (that is, launchd) still hasn’t been debugged successfully by Apple. So, it is still necessary when running OS X 10.4 to either routinely run the maintenance routines manually, or to use Anacron [or macaroni] to make sure that they run automatically.

Discussion.

If you want to be sure that the built-in maintenance tasks have been run, the daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance scripts each write the details of every run into their own log file, which you can check. Open the Console application (located at: Applications/Utilities/Console), go to File->Open Quickly->/var/logs/. Select “daily.out”, “weekly.out”, or “monthly.out” for the maintenance logs."

source: macattorney.com/ts.html

There does seem to be a lot of contradictory information on the web about this, though!

check this:
forums.macosxhints.com/archive/i … 39005.html

Pierre,

That’s an interesting and informative site, thank you. I didn’t and wouldn’t suggest that maintenance task should never be run on OSX, of course. But specifically:

  • The MacAttorney page you linked to doesn’t mention any issues with updating the OS, which was your first original statement; and

  • The MacOSXHints thread you linked to is based on an Apple support thread - which has now been closed and archived, with a final response stating the problem is now resolved.

Again, I wouldn’t suggest people never run their own maintenance routines, but it’s irresponsible to suggest that people must run them regularly, and need to buy a third party utility in order to do so (especially when they are really just a GUI front end to built-in functionality. MacJanitor, for example, does the same job for free, and Yasu costs just $3.50).