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Question re fsck_hfs process at start up - how to disable / speed up process?

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Michael MK Siu
Question re fsck_hfs process at start up - how to disable / speed up process?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:52:13 pm

Dear all,

I have a Mac Pro with several raid array and single drives attached (1x Wiebetech RTX600 Raid 5 through SCSI; 1x CalDigit HDElement Raid 5 through miniSAS; 4x internal drives).

Unfortunately, due to various reasons (electricity outtage and software crashes), I'm experiencing system crashes and need to hard re-start the system. Upon restart, I am able to boot back into Mac OS X, but sometimes one, or both of the raid arrays will not mount.

However, after a period of 0.5 - 2 hours, the array would magically re-appear again. Sometimes this might even happen to internal drives that I had mounted inside the chassis of the Mac Pro.

I've also noticed that when a drive / array is down, a process named fsck_hfs will run - sometimes utilizing upwards to 99% of CPU processing power. It is only when this process is completed would the drive re-appear.

I've read up on this process and understand that fsck_hfs checks and repairs (a damaged) the file system. I gather likely the hard re-start had damaged the array / drive some what, and this process is trying to fix it. However, there doesn't seem to have a progress status to show how much longer it'd have to run before the drive would mount again.

I am wondering the following:

1. Is it necessary to run fsck_hfs fully all the way until it completes? If I kill the process through activity monitor, will I be causing damages to my drives; risk the array never mounting again; or are array fine anyway, and this is more of a redundant process that I can skip?

2. Is there a process status that I can look at to see how much of the process had been completed, or still have to go?

3. I understand disk utility would run the same process to verify / repair the disk. To follow up on #1, if it is indeed necessary to run fsck_hfs before my drive would mount, is it possible for me to kill the fsck_hfs process that autostarted at start up, and run it through disk utility instead. The procession bar indication is a reassurance that I like - even if it does take the same amount of time (ie very long).

4. At what point would one kill a fsck_hfs process - I've had instances where the process had gone on for >24 hours. The drive finally mounted, but I felt that the time it took was way too long.

5. On a follow up to #4, if I feel that the fsck_hfs process is running too long, are there alternative I can approach? For example, would running disk warrior provide same / faster results? And if I'd like to run disk warrior, should I kill the fsck_hfs process first?

Thanks for your help in advance!


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Graham Jones
Re: Question re fsck_hfs process at start up - how to disable / speed up process?
on Sep 26, 2010 at 5:46:11 pm


I'm having the exact same issue... were you ever able to get any answers?


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Mike Jameson
Re: Question re fsck_hfs process at start up - how to disable / speed up process?
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:49:40 am

Im having the same issue too. Have external GSpeed ES Pro, problem occurs when computer is hand restarted or comes out of sleep. Any help would be appreciated!



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Graham Jones
on Jan 18, 2011 at 3:36:06 pm

Hi all,

I have several RAIDs, and one system that can be a little crashy when I shut down, so this happens to me all the time. Solutions:

1. Kill the fsck_hfs process (ignore the warning that may pop up)
2. Run DiskWarrior's rebuild option -- this works better than fsck_hfs and takes far less time than fsck_hfs (a few minutes vs several hours)

I would add:

3. Always put your drives and Mac on a UPS
4. Get a RAID card with a battery if possible -- this lets it save data on its last write even after a system crash or power failure. Examples of this would be RocketRAID 4000 series with optional battery.
5. If your system crashes on shutdown, unmount the RAID volumes first before initiating the shutdown.

If this happens a lot, do your best to fix the root problem. If you rebuild a RAID too many times you will run out of directory space. To explain, usually Diskwarrior writes its new directory to free space, and then points to the new directory. That means if something interrupts the process, your original directory is still intact. If you run out of directory space, DiskWarrior will let you know that it must overwrite the existing directory, which means if the process is interrupted you may lose everything.

When that happens, you must copy everything off the RAID and format the volume, then copy everything back. Not the end of the world if you have a lot of space, but certainly an inconvenience.

I think that about covers it?

Hope this helps,

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