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An overview of Mac OS X Disk Corruption, Possible Causes, and Recommended Solutions

If you depend on your Mac, then probably the worst thing would be to know about hard disk corruption on your system. A corrupt Mac drive starts giving you signs of data corruption at an early stage. You may see missing data, corrupt preference files, damages directories, files moved from their original location, and other similar symptoms. This weird behavior sometimes creates the possibilities of data loss. Some of the primary reasons for data loss on a Mac OS X are:

  • Frequent power outages resulting in improper system shutdowns.
  • Physical hard drive defects and other flaky hardware, such as bad RAM, defective motherboard, etc.
  • Third-party software application conflicts
  • Operating system bugs or bad programming causing hard restarts or the data to be saved incorrectly.
  • Improper removal of external hard drives and related storage media.


Data refers to user files as well as application files and operating system code. If the system files get damaged anyhow, you will face regular kernel panics. This can lead to various startup problems for your system. The operating system files can also get corrupt by failed software updates. Nowadays, advanced technologies like ‘File System Journaling’ help to reduce the chances of directory corruption, preventing subsequent data loss. Here are a few solutions to fix hard drive corruption on your Mac:

  • Perform SMART diagnostics to make sure the hard drive is working fine. If the SMART status field on your Disk Utility window shows ‘Verified’, the disk is working properly.
  • If you are facing directory corruption on the Mac OS X startup disk, you should run ‘Repair Disk’ from Disk Utility. If the process completes successfully, you will get the message ‘The volume has been repaired’.
  • If Disk Utility finds errors in the above step, you should proceed to repair the disk permissions set on Mac OS X system components. Open Disk Utility and select ‘Repair Disk Permissions’ on the First Aid tab. If you receive the ‘Permissions Repair Complete’ message, it implies that the permissions on the selected volume have been verified.
  • You should also clean up your system and user cache files by performing ‘Cache Cleaning’.

If the above steps are unable to resolve the disk corruption problem, you should perform Mac data recovery using third-party software. These utilities perform a comprehensive scan of the entire disk to retrieve all your lost invaluable data, including files, folders, directories, movies, songs, photos, documents, emails, databases, etc.

Guest post by Vishal. Vishal is a technical writer and being a part of Data recovery Mac OS X team, he mainly write article on various scenario of data loss and recovery particularly in Mac OS Lion, Tiger, Snow Leopard.


One Response

  1. Although disk utility is the best option to solve disk related issues but sometimes Mac users need to do work at advance level. For that Stellar Drive Toolbox is the most demanding software. It has 12 utilities to keep Mac optimized and solve the disk related problems.

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