Apple's Disk Utility is a buggy piece of shit



  • Let's rant about a not-Discourse piece of software.

    So, I just tried to write a disk image to an USB drive (a Mac OS X boot image for installation on another Mac). I'm on a Mac, so the way to do that is using Disk Utility.

    So, I start Disk Utility. I select the USB stick and the .dmg file and press 'Restore'. It wants my password. Fair enough, it needs root access for mucking about with hardware. OK.

    Now it wants to 'scan' the disk image. It needs my password again, the password that I just entered. So I give it my password again. It sits there for a while, and then goes Unable to scan - Internal error. So off to Google I go.

    Turns out I have to unmount the image first. It didn't do that for me, and it didn't warn me either. It just sat there and wasted twenty minutes of my time.

    So I unmount it and try again. Sure enough, twenty more minutes later, I get Scan successful. It does not go ahead and write the image to the USB drive. So I try a third time.

    Unable to restore - Invalid argument.

    So off to Google I go. The image has to be mounted, it says. (What?!) So I try to mount it, which it refuses to do.

    Invalid argument.

    Uh oh.

    I try mounting it from the Finder.

    Invalid argument.

    Shit.

    Yes, instead of writing the image to my USB stick, it just ate it. All the data gone. Good thing there wasn't anything important on there. GOOD JOB GUYS! If Steve were still alive, he'd roll over in his grave.

    Well, at least it doesn't have infinite scrolling, so there's that.



  • Basically, when in doubt, use Unix tools instead of all this Mac crap.



  • Something like that is what I ended up doing, yes. I'm just a bit shocked at the state of Apple's software. Only a few years ago it probably was the most stable and user-friendly software available. (And you'd bloody well expect quality for that price.) Now, it eats your data.



  • @marinus said:

    Only a few years ago it probably was the most stable and user-friendly software available.

    All of it? I've never had a Mac, but they've always struck me as sturdy, reliable and friendly as long as you don't fire anything more complicated than a word processor.

    @marinus said:

    Now, it eats your data.

    Well, it is a GUI power user tool on an Unix-based system. If you don't already have a Pavlovian response of fear, uncertainity and doubt to it, spend a few months on Ubuntu.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    Well, it is a GUI power user tool on an Unix-based system. If you don't already have a Pavlovian response of fear, uncertainity and doubt to it, spend a few months on Ubuntu.

    Yeah, that's the thing. These things used to work just fine. This is the first time I've actually had my data eaten, but I've tried it again and it just eats all the data I throw at it so it really is broken now.

    On Linux I know not to do that, but then again I only ever use Linux for servers so I don't get to see the GUI that often.



  • @marinus said:

    Something like that is what I ended up doing, yes. I'm just a bit shocked at the state of Apple's software. Only a few years ago it probably was the most stable and user-friendly software available.

    Just be happy you never got corruption on your boot disk - Disk Utility will tell you that the disk has to be repaired, but when you try to do that, it'll tell you that it can't do it. You have to boot the install media, and run Disk Utility from there (where you first have to run check again, before it'll let you repair).
    Contrast this with basically every other OS, which will schedule a disk check on the next bootup.



  • @ender said:

    Contrast this with basically every other OS, which will schedule a disk check on the next bootup.

    Reminds me of that time when I compressed my hard disk on Windows XP... It gladly complied, then refused to boot because it was compressed.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    Reminds me of that time when I compressed my hard disk on Windows XP... It gladly complied, then refused to boot because it was compressed.

    Weird, normally it wouldn't allow you to compress the files required for booting (unless you went through command-line).



  • @ender said:

    Weird, normally it wouldn't allow you to compress the files required for booting (unless you went through command-line).

    Or did a Ctrl+A on the C:\ directory and then hit Compress. Which, in hindsight, I might have done, being at the adventurous age of 12... I'm about 90% sure I've just compressed the drive, though.

    Still, it's a bit amusing that Windows had (and, I think, still has) a "fuck me up" button.


    Filed under: not testing it again


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @marinus said:

    If Steve were still alive, he'd roll over in his grave


    Filed under: Huh? If Steve were still alive...


  • @ender said:

    Just be happy you never got corruption on your boot disk - Disk Utility will tell you that the disk has to be repaired, but when you try to do that, it'll tell you that it can't do it. You have to boot the install media, and run Disk Utility from there (where you first have to run check again, before it'll let you repair). Contrast this with basically every other OS, which will schedule a disk check on the next bootup.

    Then again, if you boot in single-user mode you can easily manually invoke fsck -- more arbitrary GUI limitations in OS X, it almost seems like GNOME 3*...

    ... except that doesn't involve a intended-to-be-configured-from-a-GUI server software suite that breaks even when one does not touch anything outside of its own configuration interface like the OS X 'Server' suite...

    *) and that GNOME at least has the dconf editor which is somewhat graphical, where OS X by default just lets you use 'defaults' to write such UI preferences



  • @ender said:

    Just be happy you never got corruption on your boot disk - Disk Utility will tell you that the disk has to be repaired, but when you try to do that, it'll tell you that it can't do it. You have to boot the install media, and run Disk Utility from there

    Since OS X 10.7 there is a hidden recovery partition that can be used instead of the install DVD, like on Windows. It even allows you to reinstall the full system if it is badly damaged.

    @ender said:

    where you first have to run check again, before it'll let you repair

    Hmm... No? Just click repair…

    @ender said:

    Contrast this with basically every other OS, which will schedule a disk check on the next bootup.

    Like on every UNIX, fsck will happily run on startup and fix any errors if the boot disk was not unmounted cleanly. And if it is not sufficient to fix all the errors, it’s probably better to use a recovery partition instead of using damaged tools from a damaged partition, don’t you think?



  • @VinDuv said:

    Like on every UNIX, fsck will happily run on startup and fix any errors if the boot disk was not unmounted cleanly.

    The problem here was that some files weren't readable, and I simply couldn't find a way to invoke filesystem repair other than to boot off install DVD, and run repair from there (whatever was wrong, it was fixed automatically when I did that). Disk Utility did not offer me any option to force fsck on bootup, and IIRC, even Safe Boot option did not work for some reason (this was about 2 years ago, details are a bit fuzzy now).



  • What part of "If Steve were still alive, he'd roll over in his grave" don't you understand?

    If Steve was alive in his grave he'd be rolling and screaming "Let me out!".

    I've used this expression before, myself.



  • Neal Stephen pointed this out in the Command Line book ages ago.



  • Well not quite.

    He stated, basically, that a GUI lets you do certain predefined things, and a CLI lets you come up with whatever you want to do. Which is true.

    However, Apple's GUI said it'd let me write an image to an USB stick. It didn't offer me any of the myriad things the CLI will let me do, but in this case that was OK because all I wanted to do was copy the image to the USB stick.

    And then it destroyed the image. Neal Stephensen says "GUI = limited to predefined actions", not "GUI = something that'll wipe your data and it's your fault for trusting it to do what it said it would do".


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @marinus said:

    Neal Stephensen

    Wait, the guy who wrote Cryptonomicon?


    Filed under: One of my favorite books.



  • @marinus said:

    And then it destroyed the image. Neal Stephensen says "GUI = limited to predefined actions", not "GUI = something that'll wipe your data and it's your fault for trusting it to do what it said it would do".

    Yeah, but with the GUI you still have to be able to manage the vision of possible worlds where the image properly saves onto the USB. It's a solved problem on the CLI since it's already basically like understanding quantum physics.



  • @marinus said:

    And then it destroyed the image. Neal Stephensen says "GUI = limited to predefined actions", not "GUI = something that'll wipe your data and it's your fault for trusting it to do what it said it would do".

    Read the part where his expert buddy is not able to recover stuff from the Mac. His point is that GUI is hiding stuff under hood that we are not able to discern. That is result into bugs and unusual user experience for all concerned parties.



  • @error said:

    Wait, the guy who wrote Cryptonomicon?


    Filed under: One of my favorite books.

    yes


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.