A Conversation for Apple Mac OS X

Problem on my Mac

Post 1


I have a Quicksilver G4(2002)Dual Processor Mac, which I love, but have a problem with. Probably my biggest problem is that I don't know what I'm doing, really. Anyway, here goes:
December a year ago my harddrive crashed (running Panther and now version 10.3.9), and I went to a Mac Tech for help. He installed another harddrive, and copied all the files from my original HD to the new one, also running Panther 10.3.9. He told me to use "SuperDuper" to back up my files on a daily basis, and that both the old HD and the new one should have the exact same files on them (the way he set it up). Somewhere along the line, the two harddrives began not "seeing" each other, and I ended up with 5 "hardlinks" (Unix Executable Files) and one "document" (which I can't read) in the Lost and Found folders on both harddrives. I don't know if they have anything to do with the fact that the drives are now NOT identical, or if they might have something to do with Virtual PC. The date of these Hardlinks is April 3rd, and the last time I used "SuperDuper" was Feb. 3rd. I can tell because that is the last day that email from my newer harddrive shows up in my "Sent" mail folder.
I am now at the point where I have a ton of duplicate files that are eating up space. Can anybody suggest the best way to tackle these issues? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Stressed Out In Seattle...

Problem on my Mac

Post 2


By the sound of it, one of the problems you have is that the tech guy was not good at explaining the problem, and the solution.

when a drive fails it can be recovered by taking a copy of the drive, and gradually rebuilding the bits which don't work from the original drive. it sound like he did this.

he then left the drive in, so that if any files had been missed, you could hunt them up from the original drive.

he is also right to say that you should have a backup procedure in place. the part he didn't seem to explain very well is that you should not have placed the backup on the original drive, as it is likely to be very ill. still ok for occasional use to recover the odd file, but not good enough for a backup destination.

Additionally, it appears that the method you are using to do the backup is drive mirroring, where you make block for block copies of the drive, and make sure that they stay matched.

this is similar to the methods used in a raid array to increase reliability, but is no good with failing drives, and also does not replace a proper archiving backup, as it only ensures that you end up with duplicate files on the drives, not that they are not damaged.

if this is your only backup method, you don't have any undamaged copies on cdr or other media to recover from, so it leaves you open to data loss.

the reason you have the same thing in lost and found on both drives is that it copied them from one drive to the other during your backup process.

unix stores files on partitions, which are then mounted as part of the file tree the same way you mount a cdrom.

the lost and found directory is in the top directory of such a partition, and is placed there to put files recovered after problems.

these files can be continuous sections of drive which look like a file, or deleted files recovered, or a number of other things. mostly, the only time they matter is when something crashes on shutdown, and doesn't recover properly.

there are ways to look at the contents of the "document", but they might require root access or using the command line, or both.

some of these methods require the use of dangerous commands as root, where you get the chance to really mess up your system, so if you are not comfortable with this I would avoid it.

as to the "hard links", links come in 2 forms, hard and soft.

hard links physically point to the same place on disk as another file. soft links act similarly, but relink that file or directory to another file or directory somewhere else in the file tree. neither type is a unix executable file, although they might point to one, so some programs wouldn't see the difference.

As you only have 5 links and a file, I would probably ignore them unless you really need to recover them.

I would guess that the original problem with the original hard drive was a hardware error which looked like a software error.

the tech then fixed the software after the hardware "fixed" itself, but the drive has continued to deteriorate.

If this is the case, it is not really his fault for failing to spot it, as it can be hard to differentiate between these sorts of problems. however if this is the case the drive will increasingly come up with access errors, until it fails completely.

As usual, with a computer problem, we cannot really help much more without a detailed error report, although it does look like your backup software is playing up.

Problem on my Mac

Post 3


Thank you so much for the info. I have a lot of work to do, it looks like, to get this situation fixed.
I know this sounds stupid, but I can't tell precisely if the built in "Apache" files act as a server and will allow me to post my website to the internet? Or, is this software that enables one to purchase a server without having to purchase the software to run it?
If I can get my website online using my own computer as a server, does that mean people can hack into my computer files?
Any info is greatly appreciated.
Thanks, in advance,

Problem on my Mac

Post 4


Apache is indeed a web server, and in theory you could use it over an always on broadband connection to host a website online from home, but most people don't do it that way.

for a start, the connection need not only to be always on (most home broadband isn't reliable enough to guarantee this).

Then you need a fixed ip (network) address. A lot of broadband companies dynamically assign you an ip address from a given range when you connect, as do all dialup isps. This number would be different every time you connected unless you asked your isp for a fixed address, and some can't do it, some won't do it, and some charge extra for it.

then you have the problem of the bandwidth limit that a lot of isps impose. you could easily use this up with a popular website of a reasonable size, and you would then be completely offline for the rest of the month, and so would your website.

even if you didn't encounter all these problems, your site would still be fairly slow downloading. even after all that, you would still need to put the computer acting as a server in what is known as a DMZ (de-militarized zone) which would be visible from the internet, and from your home network, but would be especially configured to make it very secure, and would not technically be part of your home network. Even then it would be hackable and a lot of work to maintain.

You can use apache for your home network, or to provide a local equivalent of your hosting companies configuration, so you can test your site offline before you upload it with ftp.

How it is usually done is that people are given free webspace when they sign up with some isp to get an internet connection. they then use ftp to publish a few pages on this webspace.

later, either it gets popular, or they need to move isp, and they look for a different solution, which is hosting.

when it becomes popular, they will usually get a domain name, so they can say "visit fred.com/mypage.htm" rather than having to reel off the isp's prefix, like "visit lineone.net/~xyroth/mypage.htm"

it also looks better if you are using it as a business site.

this domain name you get will make you hosting neutral, and you can move to a different free webspace just by changing the website address it forwards to, or can get a hosting, and change the dns entries to point to your hosting company.

hosting comes in many forms, from cheap and cheerful as seen at http://www.vivostar.net/ through more expensive options like fasthosts right the way through to the sort of thing multinational companies would use like 1&1 or rackspace.

the prices vary to match. vivostar would be £30/year, fasthosts or similar could be as much as £10/month and rackspace can go as high as you need depending on the level of service required. I know of one company with extreem needs where the cost was in the thousands, but they did need something more like the usage that the bbc has, so it isn't too surprising.

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