DiskWarrior monitors your drive's health Using SMART technology, DiskWarrior for Mac can automatically test and alert you to impending drive malfunctions. DiskWarrior is so advanced it can even recover your data from a failing drive. Just plug a new drive into your Mac and let the app copy your good files from the failing hard drive to the new drive.
System & Performance
ProsRepairs and rebuilds Mac directories to improve system reliability and performance. Useful hardware and maintenance tools. Effective for traditional hard disk and solid-state drives. Easy to use. Affordable.
ConsThe OS X Recovery partition complicates booting into the utility.
Bottom LineWhile other data recovery utilities can scan disks to recover lost or deleted files, DiskWarrior is unrivaled in its ability to repair and rebuild the Mac directory.
Alsoft DiskWarrior 5 is the data recovery software that Apple forgot to include. In fact, that isn't entirely true: Apple once bundled the third-party utility with AppleCare. Today, the utility is no less useful for a swivel-neck iMac or a MacBook with a solid-state drive (SSD). In fact, Alsoft DiskWarrior 5 is one of the best utilities you can buy for your Mac.
I've been using the $119 DiskWarrior to perform routine maintenance and to resurrect defunct Macs since it shipped on a CD. While Alsoft has updated the utility and adopted flash storage over the past 18 years, DiskWarrior continues to perform maintenance and recovery tasks that no other utility can do. That includes utilities from Apple, whose Disk Utility may be suitable for basic maintenance and partition, but remains ill-prepared to repair badly damaged directories that result in kernel panics and boot failures. While Prosoft Data Rescue 4 can scan disks to recover lost or deleted files, DiskWarrior is unrivaled in its ability to repair and rebuild the Mac directory. It's worth the price of admission.
Reviewing a previous version of the utility, we described DiskWarrior as almost singularly focused on rebuilding damaged directories. In the current version, the method has changed, but not the aim. DiskWarrior is designed to scan, maintain, and repair the directory, which you can think of as a table of contents. Defective RAM, power glitches, and poorly-written software can throw that table of contents into disorder.
As a senior Alsoft technician explained it, Apple's file system (HSF+) is a complicated animal. DiskWarrior rebuilds that file system using existing data. Unlike other utilities that attempt to repair problems in the existing directory, DiskWarrior creates a new directory. Given that a directory contains millions of data points, the process is simpler in theory than practice.
Repairing a directory can make files and partitions reappear, improve performance, and even recoup disk space. If a disk is mechanically failing, DiskWarrior lets you repair your Mac's directory and back up its data before you replace the drive.
Now that Apple has largely jettisoned disk drives, Alsoft ships the utility on a flash drive. (You can also create your own using a 2GB flash drive.) If your system is running OS 10.6 or earlier (preinstalled on Macs prior to 2011), you can boot directly off the drive by holding down the Option key.
Since Apple released its Recovery partition (with OS X 10.7), the process has become more complicated. You must boot into the Recovery partition (you hold down the R key), launch the Terminal (from the Utilities menu), and enter a command into the prompt (/Volumes/DW/go). It's important that to enter that command exactly: add a space or lose a slash and DiskWarrior won't launch. It took me longer than I care to admit to realize I had forgotten to include the forward slash before Volumes.
I encountered two additional, but easily resolvable, issues. The version of DiskWarrior included on my flash drive wasn't compatible with my operating system (macOS Sierra). This hiccup gave me the opportunity to create my own bootable drive using the latest version of DiskWarrior Recovery Maker (v1.1), a three-minute process. When I booted into DiskWarrior, my drive registered as locked. I discovered that this was because I had enabled FileVault, which encrypts data. Thankfully, DiskWarrior lets you disable the feature by clicking an unlock button and entering a FileVault password.
I tested DiskWarrior's three main functions. S.M.A.R.T diagnostics, in the Hardware tab, reassured me that nothing was wrong with my three-year-old SSD. I used the Files tab to correct my permissions and scan my files and folders for issues. The test required about four minutes, after which DiskWarrior indicated that it had verified and repaired my permissions, checked the property list of 3,316 files, and checked the resource data of 2,847 files. Fortunately, no major problems were found.
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My directory, on the other hand, needed work. The Directory tab includes a color-coded optimization index: green indicates that a directory is not fragmented; yellow suggests it's inefficient; and red indicates serious issues. My SSD was designated inefficient. I clicked the Rebuild button and watched the utility glide through ten steps. After six minutes, DiskWarrior notified me that it had 'successfully built a new optimized directory.' I clicked Replace and hoped for the best. A moment later, I had a new directory and clean, green bill of health.
Replacing a directory isn't some academic issue. Since I ran DiskWarrior, applications launch quicker and—this surprised me—I gained about 20GB of hard drive space, not an insignificant sum on a 120GB disk. A senior Alsoft technician explained that as a directory becomes less efficient, it wastes more space. By replacing an inefficient directory with a more efficient one, DiskWarrior eliminates wasted space and makes it easier for the operating system to locate files and folders.
A Great Utility
DiskWarrior won't help you to recover the document or spreadsheet you accidentally deleted. For that, you should consider a data recovery utility, such as Prosoft Data Rescue 4 or Data Drill. However, when it comes to repairing a Mac volume, a utility like Data Drill cannot compare to DiskWarrior, which, after more than two decades in the business, continues to offer the most effective tool for repairing and rebuilding Mac directories. As a result, Alsoft DiskWarrior 5 is the PCMag Editors' Choice for data recovery utilities.
What's New in DiskWarrior?
DiskWarrior 5 is now the one utility program that solves all of the common problems you'll likely encounter on your Mac. Just look at these new features:
Today's large disks can have large directories. Using the latest 64-bit technology allows DiskWarrior 5 to handle even the largest disks.
• Ships on a bootable flash drive to repair your startup disk
Flash drives start up much faster than DVDs and can be updated as needed.
• Includes the new DiskWarrior Recovery Maker
New Macs have new macOS startup requirements. DiskWarrior Recovery Maker updates your DiskWarrior Recovery flash drive with the latest macOS.
• Runs from macOS Recovery (Recovery HD)
In an emergency, you no longer need a separate startup disk to run DiskWarrior on your startup disk unless your startup disk has partition table damage.
• Repairs partition table damage
Sometimes the damage is to the map that describes all your drive's partitions which makes all your partitions unavailable. DiskWarrior 5 can repair standard Mac GUID partition tables when started from the DiskWarrior Recovery flash drive.
• New architecture
Updated to use the newest macOS technologies while still supporting older PowerPC* and Intel Macs that can no longer run the latest macOS.
• Significantly faster
For many disks, directory rebuilding is twice as fast as the previous version.
• Recovers more data from drives with hardware malfunctions
Recover your important files from most failing drives, possibly saving you thousands of dollars in professional recovery costs.
• Detects and repairs more disk problems than ever
The best is even better.
• New Directory Optimization Index
You can tell how efficient your directories are at a glance.
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• Repairs Time Machine backup disks
Drives containing Time Machine back ups can have enormous directories that were often too large for DiskWarrior 4. The 64-bit memory addressing of DiskWarrior 5 allows these drives to be repaired or recovered.
• Plus a lot more
Purchase a new copy or upgrade now from older versions of DiskWarrior.
* Please note that to install DiskWarrior 5, your Mac must start up in Mac OS X Leopard (10.5.8) or later. This is a change from DiskWarrior 4 which supported installation on older versions of Mac OS X. Please read the system requirements for DiskWarrior 5.