Programmer Thoughts

By John Dickinson

More adventures of home tech support

May 02, 2009

Recently, Karen’s laptop refused to boot. After a few attempts to fix the problem (OS X’s Disk Utility and Disk Warrior), I connected the drive to my computer, made a complete backup, and reformatted it. This is the first time I have ever had to reinstall OS X on any Mac I have owned. I suspect her problems were caused by bad sectors on the disk, so before I reinstalled the operating system, I erased the disk by writing zeros to the entire disk. This way, if bad sectors are detected, the drive could substitute them for the good sectors it keeps in reserve.

After reinstalling the OS, she reinstalled her programs, and I restored her documents from the backup. The last thing too do was to connect he back to our home file server.

Originally, I used NFS to share our files. When I reinstalled her OS, though, Karen’s user id reverted back to the OS X default. Unfortunately, this was the same user id that I used on my computer. Because NFS based its permissions on the client’s user id, I had two choices. One, I could change her user id on her fresh install. Or two, I could use something other than NFS on the file server.

The second option seemed to be a better long-term solution, so I looked in to setting up SMB. SMB has the advantage of requiring a user id and password to connect. This means that from any computer, no matter the users on that computer, I can connect to the file server with the proper permissions.

Setting up the new network shares turned out to be less painful that I anticipated, and, for now, all is right in the world of our home computers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

The thoughts expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.