There comes a time in a mac owners life when you have to deal with a hard disk failure or at least some corruption due to an improper shutdown like if there’s a power cut or accidental unplugging.  Apple’s Disk Utility is fine for the basics but when you need something that delves a touch deeper and sorts out more than just basic disk permissions, Stellar Software’s Mac Volume Repair comes to the rescue.

Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery Software Offering was one of our first reviews we did way back in the midst’s of time performing data recovery more than admirably but let down by the UI interface looking incredibly dated given the design centric UI of today’s applications.  The Mac Volume Repair Interface wise it’s as simple as you can get. There’s no hidden options or contextual options, what you see below is what you get.

StellarVolumeRepair Preferences 2 584x440 Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative
StellarVolumeRepair Preferences 1 584x440 Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative

Unlike Disk Utility there is no verify first before embarking on a repair option, instead it jumps right in with a repair option available. It’s a might bit unsettling to not at least view what could be wrong before doing a repair for when you have to jump in and do a touch of manual work.  Again having a dated interface without any logging going on does leave you wondering if the user interface is dated, is what it can actually do going to belong in the past.  Thankfully not as discussed below

So here’s a capture of the state of the permissions on my daily workhorse mac before running Mac Volume repair.  It hits me at this point I’m testing disk software on a live work machine, surely that’s not a good thing? Ah well.. he who dares…

StellarVolumeRepair Apple Disk Utility Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative

Lets Click the Repair Permissions…
StellarVolumeRepair Disk Selection Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative

and when it’s done it’s stuff this is what you get. Again there’s no log file or any sign to tell you what’s gone on along with no information on how to get out of trouble if you need to roll back.

StellarVolumeRepair Permissions Repaired Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative

Now let’s run the Apple Disk Utility again to see if there is a change. Granted Disk Utility is more basic but the premise is that after running Volume Repair the permissions should be at least fixed?

StellarVolumeRepair Apple Disk Utility After Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative

and viola, sure enough those permissions are now sorted. What isn’t made clear on their website is how Stellar differs from Disk utility but if you head to the bottom of the review they have sent me a list of issues it will fix.

Bootable Recovery DVD.

If your drive really has got itself into a mess you’ll soon learn that the Apple disk utility won’t always help, at the worst your drive might not even boot and this where a Stellar Softwares offering shines above that whats built in with the shape of being able to create a  Rescue Disk. Of course you need to create this before you have any issues but a disk created from a different mac will work.

1357745729 Stellar Software Mac Volume Repair 1.0 Review   A Disk Utility Alternative

From the tools menu you can swiftly create a rescue cd that gives you the basic permission and repair options as in the desktop version.  Word of note here. It won’t recognise a non formatted or non initialized drive. I found this put when using a new, put of the box disk. So in other words there is no partition or initialization tools.

App Support

All too often we get requests to review software where it’s a one-off process. The software get’s released, promotional duties done and then that’s it no support or, in a worst case scenario, development stops. Stellar responded in a timely fashion to any questions that I had, not only under my review name but a pseudonym I create. Some might call it sneaky but I prefer calling it in-depth.

Fusion drive compatibility.

What’s not clear is how it works with Fusion drives. As its part of the core file system it should work things out but our lowly office mac has an old style spinning platter so it remains untested.

Overall Thoughts On Stellar Mac Volume Repair 1.0

The only main gripe I have is the lack of “what’s going on”  No error logging, timers to give an indication of how long any action will take may leave some slightly unsettled.   It’s not obvious till you dig around what the advantages of Mac Volume Repair 1.0 over disk utility is until you start digging.  Granted the company’s website does a good job telling you what things do but what it can do.  Which is a shame as it does plenty more than Disk Utility.

All that in mind it still hits the recommended group as being able to create a boot disk to get you out of a bind is great in itself, it’s just a shame that more time wasn’t spent on the UI as has obviously been spent on the real disk repairing.

Stellar Volume Recovery is priced at €39 and a free trial is available for download as well.

Following errors are covered by Stellar Volume Repair over Disk Utility.

Thanks to the developers for this one.  We wondered what makes Stellar Volume Repair better than the built in Disk Utility and they responded with the below list

S. No. Errors Stellar Volume Repair
1. Invalid node structure yes
2. Invalid key length yes
3. Invalid directory item count yes
4. Invalid extent entry yes
5. Invalid extent entry yes
6. Invalid record count yes
7. Invalid index key yes
8. Invalid B-tree node size yes
9. Invalid leaf record count yes
10. Invalid volume file count yes
11. Invalid volume free block count yes
12. Invalid volume header yes
13. Incorrect number of thread records yes
14. Incorrect number of extended attributes yes
15. Invalid node height yes
16. Incorrect block count for file yes
17. Overlapped extent allocation yes
18. Invalid number of allocation blocks yes
19. Invalid catalog record type yes
20. Invalid catalog PEOF yes
31. Invalid extent file PEOF yes
32. Invalid B-tree header yes
23. Catalog file entry not found for extent yes
24. Invalid key for thread record yes
25. Invalid root node number yes
26. Invalid map node yes
27. Invalid header node yes
28. Invalid directory record length yes
29. Invalid file or directory ID found yes
30. Incorrect size for file yes


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