I am getting asked a lot about the outcome of my apparently bad Buffalo firewire drive that failed back when my MacBook Pro was having intermittent problems. The drive was my Time Machine backup drive and it reached a point where the drive was so bad that it could no longer be mounted by OS X. I tried a lot of recovery methods but nothing could resurrect the drive and since the MacBook Pro is the only device that can use the drive I decided to wait and try to resolve the problem once the MBP was fixed once and for all.
The MacBook had the logic board replaced and so far (knock on wood) has been working well so I decided to give repairing the drive another try. I bought and downloaded a good disk repair utility, Alsoft DiskWarrior, and gave it a try with the drive. The Buffalo drive still couldn’t be mounted and the file system could not be repaired normally but I was happy to see that DiskWarrior could access it for repair anyway. DiskWarrior doesn’t just try to repair the directory table which is a complicated beast when formatted as a Mac OS Extended drive (journaled), it uses a patent pending process to recreate the directory table by reading the individual file bits of the whole drive. I told it to rebuild the directory and for 25 minutes it scanned the drive and eventually reported that it had discovered quite a few errors. It then began a process of recreating a brand new directory table and once that was done the drive was not only mountable under OS X but quite usable too. The log file said that 25 files were probably no good even though DiskWarrior had repaired them to the best of its ability but the bulk of the Time Machine backup was now OK.
Since I had already rebuilt the MBP without the Time Machine backup I didn’t want to take a chance that some of these repaired files would cause problems so I reformatted the drive to a pristine state and then did a full Time Machine backup. So far the drive seems to be working perfectly and my system is now being backed up regularly by Time Machine and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. DiskWarrior is a very good disk repair utility and the coolest part is I found out the company is located about 10 miles from my house.