fixed : use the Terminal to repair corrupt .sparsebundle-file

Question :

I have a corrupt .sparsebundle-file (a TimeMachine-backup file), that I would really like to fix, because there’s some files in there that I need.

I have tried using the Disk Utility app, but that didn’t work.

I also read that it should be possible to use the Terminal app to do this, but I’ve never used the Terminal app before, and I can’t find clear directions on how to do it…

What exactly should I do ?

Answer :

The Terminal app is not a regular OSX-application, it is a command-line tool (a.k.a. console) to program and reprogram in the underlings of OSX (more or less like the DOS-prompt in Windows). So, as you are going out of the ‘OSX comfort zone’ when you start using the Terminal app, you should beware since messing things up there can really mess up OSX, and lead to having to re-install OSX.

Having that said, here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing your .sparsebundle-file using the Terminal app :

– first, connect your backup-drive (the one with the broken .sparsebundle-file on it) to your Mac, using a USB- or FireWire-cable

note : if the backup-drive is inside a Time Capsule, you’ll probably be best of getting the harddrive out of the Time Capsule (as outlined in this iFixit How-To) and then temporarily hooking it up to your Mac using something like this SATA-to-USB connector (or an old USB-harddrive-enclosure). Even though this breaks the warranty on your Time Capsule, it’s probably the best solution since the direct USB-connection is much faster than the usual network-over-ethernet-connection… (and bringing the Time Capsule in to an Apple-dealer for repair, will definitely mean losing all your data, since that is part of the regular repair-policy… and bringing it to a specialized data-recovery company will cost more than buying a new Time Capsule)

– then, open the Terminal app (which can be found in the Utilities folder that is in the Applications folder)

– in the window that opens, you will see the name of your Mac followed by a colon (:) and a tilde (~), so if the name of your Mac is MacBook Pro, you will see :

macbook-pro:~

that is the “prompt”, when you see that, you can start typing the commands

note : some basic knowledge about working in the Terminal :

  1. each line of commands (a.k.a. “command line”) you type should be activated by pressing the ENTER-key
  2. as long as you do not see the prompt, the Terminal app is still busy executing your last command line
  3. the Terminal can not handle names with spaces in them, as spaces play an important roll in a command line ; they separate the subsequent commands given in one command line, e.g. if your backup-file’s name is MacBook Pro.sparsebundle, the Terminal app requires you to type is as MacBook\ Pro.sparsebundle or you can type the entire path to the file in quotation marks, like : “…/…/MacBook Pro.sparsebundle” (another option is to temporarily change the filename to one that has only letters and numbers in it)
  4. you don’t need to type the entire path to a file’s location in a command line manually, you can just drag-and-drop the file itself onto the command line and the entire path to the file will be automatically generated (a handy trick to prevent mis-typing)
  5. when typing your password in the Terminal, the cursor will not progress, so there will be no visual feedback whatsoever about what you’ve typed… so, type your passwords only with total focus on what you’re typing !
  6. ! BEWARE : be sure to double-check your typing when using the command line, as one mis-typed letter can generate an entirely different, unwanted outcome, screwing up your entire OSX installation !
  7. when working in Terminal app on a MacBook (Pro/Air), the advice is not to use an external keyboard, but the on-board keyboard

Now, when you see the prompt appearing, type this (followed by pressing the ENTER-key) :

admin$ sudo su –

Then, when you see the prompt appearing again, type this (followed by pressing ENTER) :

root# chflags -R nouchg [drag .sparsebundle-file here]

Then, at the next prompt, type this (and press ENTER) :

root# hdiutil attach -nomount -noverify -noautofsck [drag .sparsebundle-file here]

And at the next prompt, type this (and ENTER) :

root# tail -f /var/log/fsck_hfs.log

Look closely in this next file when you need to type what, and what the feedback should look like (kind of) :

  • bold green text = this is the command line prompt
  • bold black text = you should manually type exactly this text
  • bold purple text = drag-and-drop your .sparsebundle-file here, and your sparse bundle’s path will be displayed
  • black text = this text is generated by the Terminal, indicating what is busy and/or finished, and will be the same when your replicate this proces
  • blue text = what is displayed here depends on your specific situation
  • if problems are found, they will be listed in-between these lines, and it will also be indicated how it was fixed

console log sparsebundle repair

note : as you can see from the time-stamps in the picture, the entire process will take quite a long time to complete (it took nearly 6 hours to repair this harddisk – a 500GB harddrive that was temporarily taken out of a Time Capsule and connected via USB2.0)

so, from there on it’s wait, wait, wait, do something entirely different, wait (again), get a good night’s sleep… and wake up in the morning with a repaired hard drive…

that should be it 😉

Advertisements

Beware : Home Video Library phishing scam eMail

! BEWARE !

today I got an eMail from Home Video Library, stating “Your video is successfully published”,

on my Mac this was immediately recognizable as a Junk-message (or rather : a Phishing Scam-message), as you can see in the picture below, but on my iPhone that wasn’t so easy to figure out… it was mainly the fact that I haven’t used Picasa in ages that made all alert bells ring in this case… and the fact that I’ve never heard of a company or service called Home Video Library raised more suspiciousness…homevideolibrary_scam…so BEWARE !

Note : this scam eMail comes in various versions, there are similar ones pretending to be from Picasa Library. More info on that can be found here.

fixed : “No Volumes Found in backup”-error

Question :

I was trying to get Migration Assistant-app to put all my data on my new Mac, but when I select the sparsebundle backup-file from Time Machine in Migration Assistant, I get an error : “No Volumes Found in backup”.

How can that be ? I’ve made a new TimeMachine-backup just minutes before, and I didn’t get any errors there… what is wrong ?

What can I do to fix this ?

Answer :

Time Machine is great. But there seems to be a bug in the backup-software that causes this “No Volumes Found in backup”-error you’ve encountered. Normally, this error-message should only be displayed when a sparsebundle backup-file is corrupt (for some reason), but it turns out that it is now also displayed when a sparsebundle backup-file is incomplete…

This is probably due to a disconnection from the backup-disk during the TimeMachine-backup process (for instance because of shutting down the Mac, or switching from WiFi- to Ethernet-connection or vice-versa, during backup).

If the original files are still available on your Mac, the solution is rather simple : just go back to your Mac and use Time Machine to make a new backup. If you want extra insurance to prevent this error, either make a new Time Machine backup to a new/fresh harddrive (preferable an external USB- or FireWire-harddisk), or follow the backup-routine outlined in this post.

If the original files are no longer available on your Mac (e.g. your Mac is stolen, sold or you’ve just done a clean install on it, wiping off all of it’s data), you are in trouble…

…in that case, you could try using Disk Utility to repair the sparsebundle-file. If that works, you are in extreme luck… if that doesn’t help, you have very few options other than using the Terminal-app or a specialized expensive retrieving app like DiskWarrior (the cheaper knock-offs turn out not to work in most cases… too bad…).

I will be posting instructions on how to use the Terminal-app for this shortly (in a new post).

Donate Button (MacManusNL)

tip : make sure your TimeMachine-update is useable

Question :

While doing a regular check on my Mac with Disk Utility, it just informed me that I have a potential hardware failure, should save a many data as I can and reinstall.

So I was planning on doing a TimeMachine-backup and disk-reformat, followed by a clean install of OSX and copy-back from TimeMachine.

But… I recently found reports on a bug in TimeMachine, that might prevent TimeMachine from recognizing the latest backup…

Is there a way to make sure that my latest TimeMachine-backup is useable ?

 

Answer :

This bug seems to occur with unfinished TimeMachine-backups, either due to disconnection, unplugging or switching from WiFi to Ethernet or vice-versa…

As with all things in life, nothing is 100% sure or secure…

But if you want near-100% assurance that your latest TimeMachine-backup will work after a ‘clean install’, do this :

– make sure your Mac is connected to your TimeMachine-backup-disk in only one way, so if it’s an external harddisk disconnect the Ethernet-network cable and set AirPort/Wifi to OFF, to have the connection ‘only via USB’ or ‘only via FireWire’ and if your TimeMachine-backup-disk is a NAS or TimeCapsule, disconnect from AirPort/WiFi (and preferably connect the Ethernet-cable from the NAS or TimeCapsule straight into your Mac, and if possible, stop all other network-connections over Ethernet, by disconnecting all cables, and shutting down AirPort/WiFi) to have the connection ‘only via Ethernet’

– do a new “Back Up Now” in TimeMachine, and make sure it finishes completely before you do anything else (preferably, shut down all other apps before backing up also)

– then startup the Migration Assistant-app (from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder), and type your Mac’s administrator-password when asked

– in the first window, select “From a Mac, Time Machine Backup or startup disk”, and click “Continue”

– in the next window, select the disk that your TimeMachine-backups are on (if you’re on a Time Capsule, you will need to type your TimeCapsule-password when asked), and click “Continue”

– in the next window, a list of all backups (a.k.a. sparsebundles) available on the disk will be displayed ; now you will have to wait a little for each sparsebundle to display what the date is of the backup-version that can be retrieved… if that date matches today’s date, you have a perfect backup available, and you can exit the Migration Assistant-app by repeatedly clicking the “Back”-button

…but if the date is different, or the “No Volumes Found in backup”-error is displayed, your backup is useless for easy recovery ; you will have to exit the Migration Assistant-app, and start over the entire backup-routine explained above, and then check again in the Migration Assistant-app …you have to keep repeating this entire routine until you get today’s date displayed below the backup’s name

If you do not do as described above, you are in serious, enormously time-consuming trouble…  (even though this doesn’t always mean that your personal data is lost… everything might be lost, but… it could also mean you will have to repair the sparsebundle-files and/or it could also mean that you will have to copy everything back ; folder-by-folder or even file-by-file… either in the Time Machine-app or in the Finder ; and all applications will have to be manually reinstalled again…)

Donate Button (MacManusNL)

Beware : Picasa Library phishing scam eMail

! BEWARE !

 

 

 

 

 

today I got an eMail from PicasaLibrary, stating “Your photo is successfully uploaded”,

on my Mac this was immediately recognizable as a Junk-message (or rather : a Phishing Scam-message), as you can see in the picture below, but on my iPhone that wasn’t so easy to figure out… it was mainly the fact that I haven’t used Picasa in ages that made all alert bells ring in this case… and the fact that I’ve never heard of PicasaLibrary (and would expect it to be written Picasa Library) raised more suspiciousness…picasa_scam…so BEWARE !

Note : this scam eMail comes in various versions, a similar one pretending to be from Picasa Library also states “Damaged photos found”. More info on that one can be found here.

 

 

fixed : transfer game progress in iOS (without Game Center)

Question :

I want to transfer the game progress from our iPhone to our iPad, but since it’s our children’s iPad I don’t want to activate Game Center (and some games don’t even support Game Center).

I can’t find a way to do so in iTunes, since iTunes doesn’t seem to back-up game progress…

…is there any way to do this without jailbreaking my iOS-devices ?

Answer :

Yes !

Even though Apple’s Game Center app (and service) is a probably the easiest way to sync your game progress (and in-app purchases) among your iPhones and iPad, there may be various reasons why Game Center is no option for you (e.g. since not all iOS-games have Game Center-support).

The second-easiest way to transfer your game progress from one iPhone/iPad to another is via your Mac (or PC), using either iExplorer or DiskAid. Using either of both works nearly the same, and both can be used in FREE-mode, so here’s an explanation for using DiskAid only :

1- download and install DiskAid from this link (or iExplorer from this link)

2- make sure that every game that you want to transfer game progress file for is installed on both iDevices

3- startup DiskAid on your Mac (or PC) and connect both your iPhone and your iPad (or other iDevices) to your Mac (or PC) using the USB-cable

4- in DiskAid, select the iDevice you want the game progress you want to copy from (from the list on the left), click “Storage”, then “Apps”, then the app you want to copy the game progress from [note : even though all apps are listed alphabetically, the naming might be slightly different from the regular name, so you might not immediately find what you’re looking for where you would expect it…)

5- when the app’s folder opens, select all files displayed, then click the “Copy to Mac” button in the menu bar

6- in the pulldown screen that opens, click the “New Folder”-button to create a folder (for instance on your Desktop) where you want the game progress files to be ‘back-upped’, and call the folder something like “iOS game progress files”, then inside that folder, create another new folder (by clicking “New Folder” again) and give it the app’s name

7- repeat this process until you have folders with game progress back-ups for all games you need

8- then select the iDevice you want to copy the game progress files to (from the list on the left), click on “Apps”, then on the app you want to transfer the game progress files to, and then click the “Copy to Device”-button from the menu bar

9- in the pull-down window that opens, browse to the location where you have the game progress files on your Mac and select all of them, then click “Select”

10- then, check if the game progress files a now visible on your iPhone/iPad from DiskAid ; if not, right-click (or CTRL-click) on the app’s folder in DiskAid and select “Refresh” from the pulldown-menu (you might even have to do this a few times before they will appear)

…that’s it !

enjoy !

note : personally, I like the concept of the ‘both iDevices side-by-side’-layout, and the fact that the transfer is not going through a folder on your Mac, that can be found in the specialised AppTrans (and AnyTrans) app, but I think their pricing is extreme, even with their ‘regular’ discount of about 60%… and I found that they don’t include sales-taxes in their advertised price, so they will charge you about 20% above their price-quote (which I do not regard very transparent, nor consumer-friendly)

Donate Button (MacManusNL)