Apple has released Disk First Aid 8.2, the latest version of the free disk repair utility that the company ships with the Mac OS. Although Disk First Aid’s capabilities have never been as complete as those in commercial disk repair utilities, with the introduction of Mac OS Extended Format (also known as HFS Plus – see “All About Macintosh Extended Format (HFS Plus)” in TidBITS 414), older disk repair utilities not only ceased to work, but could cause damage. Disk First Aid 8.2 can repair some problems, mostly related to directory damage, on Extended Format volumes, plus it can correct problems caused by Extended Format-incompatible disk repair utilities. As an added bonus, Disk First Aid 8.2 adds the capability to work on the startup volume and now provides an estimate of how long the check will take. Note that the program is only intended for computers using Mac OS 8.1 and has been tested only with the English version of Mac OS 8.1. Disk First Aid 8.2 is a 339K download and is available only as a self-mounting image file.
The most popular disk repair utility is of course Norton Utilities. Symantec released version 3.5.2 to address the fact that previous versions could damage Extended Format volumes. However, version 3.5.2 simply refuses to diagnose, optimize, or repair Extended Format volumes. Until recently, Symantec had remained quiet about plans to upgrade Norton Utilities to support Extended Format, at which point Micromat jumped on the opportunity, releasing TechTool Pro 2.0 with Extended Format support. Now, however, Symantec is saying that it will release Norton Utilities 4.0 in several months, offering support for Extended Format volumes. Does the phrase “It’s about time!” sum up the situation sufficiently?