Repairing Macintosh Disk Permissions

Question: With Macintosh OS X, I don't seem to need to rebuild my desktop like I used to do with OS 9. What types of regular maintenance should I do to keep my system running smoothly?

The IT Guy says:
You are correct that Macintosh OS X native applications do not require you to rebuild your desktop, but if you run OS 9 classic applications periodically you can and should still do this. Rather than doing it at startup by holding down a key sequence, use the OS 9 Classic preference setting within System Preferences, and click the Advanced tab to view options for rebuilding the OS 9 desktop.

One utility program you can use regularly to check your system is "Disk Utility" located in the Applications/Utilities folder. You can run this program without rebooting and starting up from a CD. Starting with OS 10.2 (Jaguar), this program includes not only a basic disk first aid program, but also functionality to repair the disk permissions on your hard drive. Because of OS X's Unix core, it is important to verify that all disk file permissions are set correctly. Incorrect permissions can cause startup problems, difficulty installing new programs, etc. Depending on the type of problem(s) your computer has, you may need to boot from the system recovery CD that came with your computer or the latest operating system installer CD that you have. You can access the disk utility program from the Apple menu, and run it to perform disk first aid and disk permissions repair instead of running the operating system installer or restore program.

With OS 10.3 Panther, the Disk Utility program has taken on functionality from the Disk Copy program, to include the ability to create disk images and restore them. For more details, refer to

Other commercial disk utility programs like Diskwarrior and Norton Utilities for Macintosh also offer disk repair and maintenance functions. The provided disk utility features that come with the Macintosh operating system are more robust than ever before, however, and may make the purchase of third-party repair software unnecessary.

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