This article is from the Introductory Macintosh FAQ, by Elliotte Rusty Harold email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Much like system files hard disks have data structures that
occasionally become corrupted affecting performance and even
causing data loss. Apple includes Disk First Aid, a simple utility
for detecting and repairing hard disk problems, with its System
disks. It's also available for anonymous ftp from
If you have an earlier version than 7.2 (and many people do)
you should get version 7.2 from ftp.apple.com, make a copy of
your Disk Tools disk, and replace the old Disk First Aid on the
copy with the new version. At the same time you should also
replace the old version of HD SC Setup on your Disk Tools disk
with HD SC Setup 7.3.5 (or newer) from the same directory. See
Certain late-model Macs require a new formatter called Drive Setup instead.
Drive Setup requires System 7.5 or later and is only should only be used
with PowerMacs, PowerBook 190's and Macintosh 580 and 630 series
68040 Macs. As of June, 1996, the latest version is 1.0.5 which
is available from
Several companies sell payware disk utilities that detect and repair
considerably more problems than Disk First Aid though, interestingly,
none of them detect and repair everything that Disk First Aid does.
The most effective for general work are Symantec's MacTools 4.0 and
Norton Utilities for the Macintosh 3.2. A department or work group
should have both of these as well as Disk First Aid since none of
them fix everything the others do. For individuals MacTools ($48
street) is about half the price of Norton ($94 street) so, features
and ease of use being roughly equal, I recommend MacTools.
All of these products occasionally encounter problems they
can't fix. When that happens it's time to backup (4.8) and