DiskWarrior finally completed “step 5”

Sometime Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, DiskWarrior finally completed “Step 5: Locating directory data…” which gives an elapsed time of 200-216 hours or almost 9 days! It’s currently working on “Step 6: Overlapped files detected: 146” which translates to quite a bit of manual effort for me. 🙁 Step 6 has been running for somewhere between 26-41 hours as of this post.

Lessons learned:

  1. Backups!
  2. Don’t trust Apple’s disk diagnostics. Run the S.M.A.R.T. diagnostics from the DW CD before attempting recovery with DW!
  3. If the diagnostics indicate disk failure, don’t use DW. Try DataRescue instead. There’s no point running DW on failing hardware.
  4. Backups!

I’ll update this post as steps are finished.

Update 2005-10-06 23:58:27 UTC: It’s been on step 6 all day, now up to 186 overlapped files detected, sigh. I’m about to leave for the night. Hopefully tomorrow will be the day I get my data back…

Update 2005-10-10 15:48:55 UTC: It spent all weekend on step 6, now up to 675 overlapped files after more than 5 days. Ugh!

Update 2005-10-11 15:40:36 UTC: Step 6 has been running 6 days. Overlaped files detected: 807. And counting… 🙁

Update 2005-10-12 14:34:20 UTC: 7 days, 935 overlapped files. I am so screwed…

Update 2005-10-14 00:37:53 UTC: It’s now been almost 9 days since step 5 completed.
Step 6: Overlapped files detected: 1124

Update 2005-10-17 15:26:00 UTC: 12 days on step 6 now, 1605 overlapped files. I’ve got a lot of time invested in this, but I’m starting to wonder if it’ll be worth it. (Of course, my co-workers have been telling me to bail on this process for quite a while now. Considering that I’ve been running DW for three weeks, they have some reason.)

Update 2005-10-24 17:23:46 UTC: Step 6 is on its 19th day, 2512 overlapped files. I’ve been running DiskWarrior for 4 weeks straight. I’m really missing my laptop (whimper). I’ll be crossing the 1-month boundary this week, and if it’s not done by then I’m giving up.

Update 2005-11-09 18:09:25 UTC: After more than five weeks (and 4586 overlapped files) on “Step 6,” I’m giving up.

About Jim Vanderveen

I'm a bit of a Renaissance man, with far too many hobbies for my free time! But more important than any hobby is my family. My proudest accomplishment has been raising some great kids! And somehow convincing my wife to put up with me since 1988. ;)
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40 Responses to DiskWarrior finally completed “step 5”

  1. nodmonkey says:

    Good god, that’s a long process. Here I am cursing and fuming about my loss of data, and I’ve only been waiting on DW for a couple of hours. Yes, step 5 is the problem. I’ve even stuck a bit of blue-tac on my monitor over the progress bar end so I can see if even 1 pixel of progress has been made (it hasn’t since seemingly stalling).

    Keep on updating, I want to know if your patience pays off.

  2. jim says:

    lol! I did exactly the same thing at one point! (The tape on the monitor.)

    Yeah, this time around it really sucks! The first time I ran DW was bad enough. I wish I had hooked up an external disk right from the start, but as I mentioned earlier I though my hardware was okay.

    Last night when I went home, it was still on step 6, and I was in too much of a hurry to leave work to update the post. I’ll probably stop by work today and see how it’s going (and add an update).

  3. Josh says:

    Guess what, same problem here. Diskwarrior’s been running close to 2 weeks now and it shows up as “not responding” on the dock eventhough the activity monitor indicates it’s still working. Last I checked, it was at 5000+ overlapped files until the window stopped responding a little while ago. But it’s kinda normal for apps to “hang” for long-term activities. I get the same response burning DVDs and digitizing video.

  4. jim says:

    Oh man… “5000+ overlapped files” is not something I want to hear! (I need a “smiley” of a guy open-mouthed, pop-eyed, with hair standing on end.)

    Dude, I hope you come out okay. Did you run hardware diagnostics before you started? (Wish I had…)

  5. Taylan Pince says:

    i found this entry while looking for similar diskwarrior cases on google. it seems like step 6 can take as much as 48 hours, but your 6 weeks (!) is definitely the record. i am running diskwarrior on one of my external drives right now, it started to fail the mounting process after i tried to fix it with apple’s disk utility, the crappiest disk tool ever. the drive was working just fine, and i decided to verify/repair it for good measure, and boom, disk utility killed it.

    so disk warrior has been running for 24 hours now, and found 1947 overlapping files so far. i can only hope that it won’t go on forever.

  6. Taylan Pince says:

    after around 50 hours, diskwarrior gave me my drive back, with all the files intact. it ended up with 1961 overlapped files. i guess i was lucky, but from now on i will make sure i have a copy the diskwarrior cd with me wherever i go. i love this program!

  7. Caspar says:

    I’ve been stuck in Step 5 for nine days now, but optimisticly waiting. I’ve been told that two days is normal, so I thought that if this case is more severe it’ll take perhaps a week…

    But – even DW should move on to Step 6 – several weeks would be too much. 🙁

    Thanks to everybody for your comments, it’s good to know what’s going on – yet being bad news…

  8. Caspar says:

    Gave up, but tried again. Though stayed in step 5 for some days now, this time DW has not yet informed about disk malfunction – how is it possible? Could it be sort of “repaired” accidentally – or could the malfunction have been “misjudged”? The candy bar turns about once a minute.

  9. yash says:

    WOW! I don’t have even remotely as much patience to let it run for like 50 hours. The data is definitely not as important to me to warrant a few weeks of no access to my only computer.

  10. Phil Calabrese says:

    DW has been running at step 6 now for about 3 hours, and I can only hope it will finish. I’m at 181 overlapped files now. There’s another one. Make that 182. I suspect I was running too many apps for too long without restarting. After uploading some pictures the machine started to slow down but hung before I could shut down.

  11. gstudio says:

    Ran DW for a couple of days (step 6) too long. The drive will not mount in OS X but will mount with OS 9.3.9. So, I think I will have to purchase anoyher drive and transfer the data, then format the bad drive.

  12. gstudio says:

    Decided to try the new version of DW (4).
    It blew right by the overlapped file section and fixed the drive…about 1/2 hour!!!! Cost me $100, but worth it.

  13. PATRICK says:

    Because I have run Diskwarrior probably thousands of times (tech job), I can say with the utmost confidence that you should bail out on Diskwarrior when it finds more than 2 overlapped files. It will attempt to fix, and then fail.

    Get a report on the overlapped files if there are only a few, and then delete ones if possible (like if they are only cache documents), and then run Diskwarrior again.

    Diskwarrior is a great application, but it does not do well with overlapped files. Drive Genius does though.

  14. Alex says:

    I breezed right by that step, but now it is stuck on step 8.

  15. Alan says:

    🙁 i was upgrading my g5 mac pro, from 10.3 to 10.4, and after i restarted, it couldn’t find the os… and when i tried a new install, it couldn’t even find the drive… if i try to repair the disk from disk utility, i get the error ‘invalid header node’ now, for about 8 hours, DW’s been stuck on step 5, without any sign of progress, just sorta frozen… guess i’ll just need to have some patience i guess, but i sure don’t have the time to waste for 2 weeks on this thing…

  16. Jim says:

    Hey Alan, if you have the DiskWarrior CD, try running the diagnostics first. (Boot from the CD, which should give you a menu if I remember correctly.) If your disk is failing, don’t use DW. Install a new disk, and perhaps DataRescue may help you recover information from the failing/failed disk.

  17. Alan says:

    How could it fail though? It was working just fine a couple minutes ago. How could software physically destroy the drive, (not by any means underestimating what people could do i suppose, but an osx disk?)

    Thanks, I’ll try the diagnostics test and see what comes up.

  18. Jim says:

    Sorry for the delay. I missed the notification of your comment. DiskWarrior can exacerbate a drive failure by “exercising” it (read: “beating the crap out of it”). DW *really* tries hard to recover all the data off a disk. If it has to read a sector over and over and over, it will.

  19. Jade says:


    I have been running my DW for 4 days now. and it has been hanging on step 5 forever. The number is incrementing, just super slow. I read your blog. I think I should give it up, should I? Just reinstall the OS and to get it over with. Fortunately, I don’t have lots of data in my laptop because it was just crashed a few weeks ago. and i had to reinstall the OS. Your advice is greatly appreciated.


  20. Jade says:

    I had to call a quit on DW. Right now, once I turn it on, the DW screen does not show up any more. The laptop is on for a little while and automatically shut down by itself. The DW disk is still inside my laptop. How can I get it out? so that I can insert the Snow and get it over with. thanks for help guys!!! My computer is the black Macbook.

  21. Jade says:

    Jim you are so right. My disk now is completely failed after running DW for 4 days. I did run the diagnosis first before I was trying to rebuild the directory and diagnosis result was normal.

  22. Jim says:

    @Jade: Sorry to hear about your laptop! For boot options (e.g. how to eject your CD), please see my boot options post. <-That's a link, just mouse over "boot options post". These are for a PowerBook G4, but they may still work for your laptop. I highly recommend DataRescue if you need to recover anything off of your existing disk.

  23. Pahul says:

    Hi, Jim.

    It’s been 4 days that DW is stuck on Step 5, with 1,103 disk malfunction errors. And it’s just so slow. Reading Jade’s previous comment, now i’m just hoping it’s not too late trying DataRescue.
    Thanks for telling about your experience.
    Keeping you guys up with my case.

    Config: Powerbook G4, running on Firewire hard drive, 60gb.
    Trying to recover data from the PB’s original 80gb disk.

  24. Pahul says:

    Hi back!

    Tried DataRescue all over yesterday, as well as all night long. Seemed to work very fine, detected the drive and so on. But, while it actually found 41,600 nodes by quick scanning, it has been stuck on the 17,336th pretty quickly, maybe 5 minutes after being run. This morning, ie after 1day 1night of calculus, it was only at the 17,776th node.
    Considering that four hundred nodes had been scanned in about a day and a night, and considering over 22,000 were left, this was leading us to 55 days of hard work to come: almost 8 weeks. I actually chose to give it up for the moment, and to try out other softwares later. Indeed, i just managed to bring back my PB to life by plugging an external Firewire drive to it, i want to take a bit the most of it. He died 3 months ago, i didn’t want to bother myself with 2 months more without any laptop.

    Anyway, i’ll be posting news about my case over here, if there’s anything changed positively.
    Thanks again Jim, and keep up the good work!

  25. So Frustrated says:

    I’ve been running DW 4 for three days now. It is on setp 5 and shows “Speed reduced by disk malfunction: 4990” It is slowly climbing…..sllloooooowwly. Do I keep going? I really really need some photos off of this drive. Other than that I would just format it.

  26. Jim says:

    @So Frustrated: I recommend that you stop it now! Get an external/additional disk and try Data Rescue. It sounds like your original disk is so far gone that Disk Warrior is doing more harm than good.

  27. So Frustrated says:

    Too late……ug. Stopped it and DW doesn’t see the drive now. Tried the OS install and no drive showing.

  28. DJ Tek says:

    I’m going on 24 hours on step six. So sick, cause everything work related is not working. Downloaded Diskwarrior and at first it worked great but something happened and I can’t even see my drive any more. Tried DW again and now I’m stuck on Step 6 for about 20 hours at this point… Has anybody actually recovered data after a long recovery process like this??

    I want to cry…….

  29. KI Gallagher says:

    I am on hour 60 running DW rebuild, stuck in Step 5. This is crazy! I am going to shutdown my computer and run TechTool Pro 6 on it instead. I never thought DW would take this long, even with all the files I have on my computer. I know it is a good program…have had it for years, and update it when new versions come out. But I think the hanging and not knowing is probably the reason why I have aborted it in the past and gone to my TechTools.

  30. MRG says:

    36 hours into step 5 (Locating Directory Data) on an external 500G drive, via DiskWarrior

    Speed reduced by disk malfunction : 6,887.

    Is there hope for me?

  31. Fat Chocolate says:

    Hi Guys ,

    I so wish I had found this blog during my last 10 days of my Disk warrior episodes. Reading all your stories I have sympathy for all your hardrive pain’s over the years I hope your problems were solved.

    Is this page still active ?? Please let me know if you can help. I apologise in advance for the lengthy message it contains all my relevant information which may point to a solution.

    My 10 day Dilemma:
    Last week Sunday ( today is wednesday) whilst my Lacie 1 tb hardrive was on i was currently editing a video piece on my mac book pro Final cut version 7 as normal. My 1 tb drive had a bout 300gb free.

    The Lacie drive started experiencing difficulties whilst i was backing up my work on Apple’s Time Machine function , it wouldn’t boot the hardrive as
    an option on my computer.
    It would show the hardrive only in Macs “Disk Utility”

    I tried a variety of options turning on and off the computer and hardrive , changing power cables , fire wire cables. I also checked the Lacie Hardrive on a Pc and it booted so this gave me a feeling that it at least could be repaired on Disk Utility on my Mac.

    I Followed a few online examples in which i changed the casing on my Lacie 1 tb with another identical 1 tb drive.
    After changing casing on the drives the hardrive which previously was un readable was still unreadable by my mac book pro and the one that worked still was readable.

    Last week Monday i started Disk warrior 4.4 on Mac it has been running for nearly 10! full days and is still going. Even though I can not click on the disk warrior application it has the spinning beach ball , But the numbers of Disk Malfunctions are painfully slowly climbing.

    I don’t know how long it has to go but i am thinking to cancel and seek other methods.

    I have read on this site and on other forums some People using
    it online said it can take between

    1 – 4 days. I have seen others going on 3 weeks ?? I am at 10 days.

    The files are important and contain client files , the capture files of a project I was working on. Most of the finished files are backed up but there are files such as digitised footage for projects I was in the process of working on . I have no other way to retrieve those files as the only place they exist is on this drive.

    Questions I would like your help on please:

    What would the damage be to my external drive if I were to cancel during step 5 of Disk Warrior ?

    As my External drive was previously bootable on a pc ( which I checked before starting disk warrior 10 days ago) I am thinking to maybe cancel disk warrior try booting on the pc and connecting another drive to copy the files over. Do you think this would work ?

    Has anybody ever been in a similar positions in which Step 5 has hanged for so long , with a similar amount of Disk Malfunctions I have and it actually turned out for Drive to be fixed , repaired and work smoothly afterwards ?

    My 10 day Disk warrior current readings:

    Rebuilding directory / Step 5 Locating directory data…

    Speed reduced by disk malfunctions 55,149

    I would really appreciate your help and assistance guys ?


    Kind regards

    • Jim says:

      Uh oh! Sorry to tell you, I think that drive is toast. IMO you are actually better off stopping DiskWarrior at this point rather than let it continue. I’d advise you to check out DataRescue.

  32. Hodgo says:

    Hello Jim, I’m so relieved to find this post. Back ups, oh yes back ups. Here’s the thing: I made back ups of my external Lacie T1 drive. I had about 75 CD’s and DVD’s. We moved. The box with the back ups never made it to the new flat, two weeks into our new flat my drive dies and that’s when I realized the back ups had dissapeared from the face of the Earth. So, back ups, yes, but put them in a safe deposit box or on a cloud. Back ups won’t help you if you lose them or get wipped out by fire, earthquake, etc.
    Anyway, I downloaded Disk Drill and ran that for 3 days but now have to pay $75 for the Pro version to see if I can recover. In the meantime, the drive doesn’t show up on my desk top but does appear in Disk Utility. I tried using Terminal. Someone suggested using a command, typing “diskutil list”, then “sudo gpt recover/dev/disk3” (disk3 or whichever is the disk you need to repair). I did that but got a message saying “”gpt: unknown command: recover/dev/disk3”.
    Not sure if this is important but in DU, the drive, which was formatted by me for Mac and has no partitions made by me; DU says Partition Map Scheme :Apple Partition Map, SMART status not supported.
    In DiskWarrior, I can see the drive only under Directory not Files or Hardware. The drive, which when it was working had a specific name. I give my drives names from favorite songs or bands. DW sees my other external drives with their names and my internal drive but this drive it sees it as “Unknown Disk”. Other info from DW: disk appears to be a Mac OS standard disk, disk does not appear on the desktop, disk is 931.39 GB in size, Disk ID: disk1s3, File System HFS standard, drive format Apple Partition Map, Sectors 1,953,262,960 (512 bytes each), Model: JMicron USB to ATA/ATAP bridge. (I don’t know why the model isn’t listed as LaCie, my other LaCie external drives show up that way. Let me know if this is important and I’ll provide more details.)
    So, I started to run DW but I can’t seem to get past Step 1 searching entire dsk in final rescue attempt.

  33. James says:

    Oh for the Love of GOD that have I done???!!! I am reading this thread and feeling my stomach turn.. I have been running DW for a week and a half and it is stuck on step 5… with many many many more Speed reduced by disk malfunctions than what some of you are reporting…. I was going to stick it out.. but after reading things like stuck on step 6.. and 8.. oh boy…
    What I have done so far: replaced me HD with a new one and installed OSX to be able to recover what I can from the old drive (now in an external housing) … should I give up on DW and try DataRescue or another recovery program? Is it still even possible to get anything off the bad drive, or has DW fried it 🙁
    I’m feeling like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football right about now. Arrrggggggh!

  34. theotherMat says:

    I was using Techtool Pro 6 to de-frag my mac HD when at some point the whole process hung.. The net result was that the mac HD no longer appeared on the desktop and when inspected by disk utility (drive was greyed out) the message “invalid b-tree node size” was displayed.. Please back up all data and format etc etc…

    Bought a copy of Diskwarrior after a bit of research and now its up and running, I’m running it (and the machine) from an external boot drive I created with tech tool pro, installed and started fine.. Now on step step 6… Uh huh.. One of the dreaded steps..
    It’s been counting overlapped files for about 24 hours now, current count is 18,486..

    The drive is a 250GB..

    I’ll report back if anything interesting happens..

    Out of interest, and if it comes to it, does anyone know is Diskwarrior is any better at file recovery than say Diskdrill?


  35. iSanDiego says:

    I am running DW on 1/3 of a three partition 1 terabyte drive. I’m thinking it’s only repairing the bootable, 1/3 that I designated, but it’s been running 24 hours now.. so what do I know? nothing. After reading the comments in this blog I’m concerned. It’s been in Step 6 for about 8 hours now, has only 2 overlapped files detected, and that’s all the info it’s giving me. DW has been a life saver in the past, but I sure wish their programmers had provided more status info about what’s going on. It says it’s rebuilding the directory… wow, probably not a good spot to interrupt it. I’m also concerned because my screen is staying on and am concerned images will be burnt into the screen. What a crazy situation. What do you think, should I let it keep going? Has anyone contacted DW about these long running situations?

  36. kr says:

    Been running for an hour and so far speed reduced by disk malfunction 134,641. Good thing i had backups, i just want to see how effective DW really is.

  37. Cyberpi says:

    I’m not sure if this is still an active blog? If it is, here’s my current story.

    DW has been running for 12 days now and it’s only on Step 5. I’m nearing 70,000 disk malfunctions. DW support recommends that I let it continue to run. Am I doing more harm than good?

    Please respond if you have any good ideas.

  38. Leon Kuai says:

    Not sure if this blog still active.

    I had a time machine sparsebundle which verification failed. it won’t even mount. using diskutil mount is still possible (no verification). the sparsebundle is about 550GB and allow to grow to 2TB. fsck_hfs fail to repair as usual. So I fired up diskwarrior 5.

    Diskwarrior 5 stuck in Step 6 for almost 1 week (6 day and 15 hours) and after detecting over 55k overlapped files. Then I view the report, and click the replace. It quickly goes to Step 12 of 12 repairing overlapped file. there was no progress on diskwarrior progress bar to tell how many overlapped file is fixed. This step 12 stuck for another 5 days, then it give me the following error:

    DiskWarrior encountered an unexpected error while attempting to repair overlapped files on the disk “Time Machine Backups”.

    Restart from a Recovery disk and try rebuilding again. Refer to http://www.alsoft.com/recovery. If you report this error, please mention the error code (2175, 1 : 7788).

    However, the Sparsebundler can be mounted again. fsck_hfs still give me some overlapped error, but only less than 100 and it seems Fixed the issue and give me OK at the end. All the backup can be accessed. I can even go into time machine from Finder or Mail. During this, I found some of my recent backup’s has permission issue, such as cannot open Desktop folders in TimeMachine finder. so I use “sudo tmutil delete” command to delete about 10 most recent backups (as all those recent backups’ Desktop and document folder cannot be opened in TimeMachine). I also deleted the Rescued Folder which created by DiskWarrior 5’s fail attempt stated above. Then I do a “hdituil compact” command on the sparsebundle which reduce my sparsebundle from 550GB down to 420GB.

    At this point, fsck_hfs verification has NO error anymore. TimeMachine backup verification also passed. but I am still not sure, so let diskwarrior5 do another rebuild. this time it finished in 30 minute and replace take about 5 minute only. No overlapped file detected anymore.

    Everything seems fixed. However the 1st backup after repair need almost a entire new backup size (same size as my Mac drive backup). it doesn’t look incremental. but all my old backup still in TimeMachine.

    So there was my 2 weeks journal fixing my TimeMachine with Diskwarrior 5. Hope this can help someone in the future.

  39. Damien says:

    Big issue with my Crucial SSD 1To drive. Black screen during while making a audio song with Ableton Live. The Mac HD utility makes the things worse, it didn’t help. I started DW since 24 hours, and 6213 errors found ; it’s working, I think it will be long, very long time… I have 2 external drives, one is time machine, the other is all my data and my software installers. Back Up is definitively the only solution to a protect your data from this kind of digital cataclysm… But even your external drive can die.. That’s joice of computing.

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