TechTool Pro 12

Originally published at:

Major upgrade for the hard drive repair and system maintenance tool adds compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina. ($129 new, various upgrade prices)

Apple has not released fundamental aspects of APFS, which means that neither this product nor any other repair utility can completely repair a corrupted physical device formatted APFS. TechTools Pro’s publisher isn’t exactly transparent about this on its website.

This is definitely a ymmv comment regarding this and I am arguably a neophyte when it comes to the underpinnings of disk corruption and repair. My experience is only as a computer user who has used various tools, including TTPro, Disk Warrior and Drive Genus, over the years to manage issues with rotational hard drives.

That said, similar issues arose on another ListServ I belong to and I made the following (lightly edited) comment there:

On Micromat’s main page it states at the bottom:

"†Note: Data Recovery may not recover data in all circumstances. For best results, enable TechTool Protection before data loss.
In most cases, data recovery is not possible on Solid State Drives (SSDs).

**Note: Defragmenting (Optimizing) is not suppoted for APFS volumes, and is not advised for any drive with a Solid State component. Solid state drives do not benefit from defragmentation, which only serves to wear out those drives sooner. Optimization for APFS rotational drives is not yet possible with the current amount of APFS documentation provided by Apple, which currently provides insufficieant documentation for defragmenting a disk.”

However, one issue that I have encountered with more than a few machines is a scrambled directory. That was always where Disk Warrior’s excelled but due to Apple not providing sufficient information Disk Warrior has been unable to provide a new version that supports APFS.

Because Micromat states that its “Volume Rebuild” option works on APFS I decided to have another look. I was very interested to see how TechToolPro 11 handled a “Volume Rebuild” which is listed as “Rebuild and repair a volume’s directory.” Because I have a bunch of backups plus a machine I was willing to use to test it out I have run TechToolPro 11’s Volume Rebuild option a number of times. It goes through all the motions but has always given my machine a clean bill of health.

It should be noted that I have a 3rd party SSD in my aging MacBook, which certainly breathed new life into it, but the SSD was also automatically reformatted as APFS.

I have also run some of the other options in TechToolPro 11 just because I wanted to see how it acted. I have had zero problems with it but at the same time this would be a ymmv comment. I can’t make any claim for anyone else that TechToolPro will help with any issues but I have no complaint except for the missing options that I don’t really feel are necessary on an SSD APFS volume anyway.

So, I am most interested in what more knowledgeable people than me have to say about this. It seems to me that TechTool Pro can deal with some issues on APFS devices and again, for me, one main issue I was concerned about - rebuilding a borked directory. Micromat would be foolhardy to claim their software can address certain issues with APFS devices if it was unable to

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My personal take is that if you have good backups, you’ll never need disk repair or recovery software. :slight_smile:

My concern is that if there is a directory or disk problem, the backups will not be reliable and recovery will be a problem. I imagine that using CCC with verification would get around this, but I would like it if backup programs could be “verified” somehow. I know Tiome Machine can if you back up over a network, but for me using weekly CCC, BackBlaze, and Time Machine, I rely on backups. But every few weeks I take things offline and do disk checks to make sure al is working and the backups have a correct directory which they are backing up.

Is this doing too much? Use Disk Utility and Drive genius to check things.

You’re screwed when your backup is corrupted. TechTool Pro managed to recover my backup drives more than once when Disk Utility couldn’t even touch them.

Never say never, but that strikes me as an unlikely scenario (where the drive corruption is somehow so bad as to have corrupted the backup data but not bad enough that you had actually noticed a problem). It’s not inconceivable that a backup drive itself could become damaged, as @ryoichi notes above, but that’s why you never put all your eggs in one basket.

I haven’t run a disk repair or recovery program in many, many years. But I have a bootable duplicate that’s updated every night, Time Machine that’s updated constantly, and Backblaze that’s updated constantly. Plus, I periodically update another clone of every machine in the house to another drive so there’s an out-of-date version that’s not connected to anything.

I don’t run independent programs, but I do run the Disk Repair section of Disk Utility from the Recovery partition every so often. I definitely run it before doing major system upgrades.

For example, last week, before upgrading my desktop to Catalina, I ran the repair utility. It found some discrepancies with some parity checks in snapshots and fixed them.

So far my main use for backups have been recovering files accidentally deleted and serving as a source for migrations when I get a new computer. I keep both Time Machine and Carbon Copy clones of both my computers (although I do skip keeping my iCloud photo library set from my laptop as I have complete photos both in iCloud and the desktop version).

Every month or so, I copy the latest CCC clones to a portable drive which I take with me when traveling. Whenever I visit my sister’s house (across San Francisco Bay from me), I exchange replace the off-site backup I keep in her wine cellar.

The goal with these offsides is to be able to recreate my system with new hardware should my current system disappear (fire, earthquake, theft, etc.).