What to do about bad blocks on a Mac hard drive

by Brandon Yap So you’ve used something like TechTools’s Surface Scan only to discover you have bad blocks on your Mac hard drive. Now what? Bad blocks are supposed to be automatically marked as bad by the drive controller and remapped from the drive’s factory pre-assigned reallocation pool, but sometimes this doesn’t work so you end up with bits on the drive which can’t be read from and written to properly. TechTools will not map out bad blocks for you, so what will? The answer is surprisingly obvious. Because bad blocks are reallocated on writes only, erasing the disk in …

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10.5.2 upgrade blue screen

Yesterday I decided to apply the 10.5.2 update via Software Update. It downloaded and installed just fine, then proceeded to reboot my machine so I walked away to do something else. When I came back about about 10 minutes later, I was greeted by a blue screen with a black cursor. So I thought i’d wait some more. 30 minutes later and still nothing more than the same blue screen. Ok no problem, this happened to me on the Tiger to Leopard upgrade I thought, i’ll just reboot and be on my merry way. It worked for the upgrade, surely …

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Often i’ve wondered if there was a better way to keep track of serial numbers for the software i’ve purchased. This usually involves keeping a text file up to date with your serials, but an upcoming trend is for software vendors to distribute license files which makes the traditional method of tracking licenses difficult. LicenseKeeper is set to change all that by becoming the central repository of all the licenses you own.

USB disk docks

I found this great little doovey today. It’s a USB SATA disk dock that lets you plug in 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA hard drives, just like a hard drive enclosure, only better. Available from PC Case Gear for $69 + shipping.

Upgrading my Macbook hard drive

Enough is enough. I’ve delayed upgrading this modest 80 gig hard drive that came with the Macbook for far too long. It’s time for an upgrade! So down I go to the local dodgey computer store, you know the one that looks more like a warehouse than a shop. I picked up a 160 gig drive for $125. Bargain! 5400rpm, 8Mb cache, NCQ. Certainly not the fastest but well worth the price. Now i’ve been doing Time Machine backups since November last year, so when I got home, I fired up the computer one last time and performed a backup. …

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