Over the past two weeks there has been much upheaval in my life. Involved with this upheaval has been one of the most unwanted activities any IT professional has to do as part of their professional lives and that is bowing out gracefully. Sometimes IT professionals can actually achieve this state of grace, however most of the time fear overwhelms grace and trust. The morality I will leave to another blog post to come.
In rescuing data from a computing device a few days ago I discovered that the act of using a USB external hard drive with a Macintosh MacBook Pro with OSX Mavericks may have a nasty bug lying in tall grass. I had about 212GB of data that needed to be moved to another medium, and I elected to use a Western Digital external hard drive using USB 2. This drive had never before shown any signs of failure however after copying the data onto the drive using OSX Mavericks, the HFS filesystem on the drive suffered some mystery damage that I’ve never witnessed before. Thankfully the volume was mountable and I could rescue the data from the errant drive and copy it to another drive and effectively save my bacon. The error concerned a failure in the node structure when fsck was asked to diagnose the HFS Journaled filesystem present on the suspect drive. Now I can’t say for sure that OSX Mavericks caused this failure, but the proximity of it and an earlier email from Western Digital stating that there might be drive problems with OSX Mavericks also rang in my mind as a potential problem that points to this particular possible bug. Now the Western Digital warning was just for their drives that used the extended WD software to mount the drives to the Macintosh file system, I suspect that the bug is indeed deeper than even WD knows, or Apple perhaps.
If you are using WD, or perhaps any other external hard drive or memory-stick technology with OSX Mavericks the smart money is on frequent backup and sync to multiple locations. Really smart administrators will backup over the network to some other computing platform with it’s own independent drive technology. If you are using Macintosh OSX Mavericks, I would say it’s better to be safe than sorry and for the love of all that is cute and fuzzy, make your backups!