RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Aug 1 2012   2:35PM GMT

Word/Apple File System/DropBox – A Strange and Horrible Saga

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

This week I hoped to kick back, relax and put the final finishing touches to our “Building VMware End-User Solutions” book – which I’m co-authoring with Barry Coombs. Sadly, the experience has been marred by whole series of file problems. I’m going to be honest with you – and say I haven’t really definitely worked out WHAT is causing the problem or WHY. Personally, I suspect a fault in the file system, that could be linked to underlining disk problem.


Things were going swimmingly on Monday when I got back from the US. I started assembling our individual chapters into a master file. Most of this stuff is “ancillary” in nature – tidying up chapter numberings, adding table  of contents, and index. By Monday evening I thought I would be ready to upload the master file (some 30MB) to the DropBox. Then the upload mysteriously failed. Barry emailed me to say some of the images were missing. He was right.

It wasn’t a disaster I still had the original – as well as the original chapters. Perhaps the upload had failed mid-transfer leaving .tmp file over.

On Tuesday morning I started working with the file locally. After an hour I got these error message:

Rather foolishly I regarded these as “Word” problems. Fortunately every time this happened (and it happened a lot) I was able to cut & paste the contents of the file to clean Word document and save it elsewhere. Tearing my hair out I must have ended up with about 10 of these files – each with day/time in the filename so I could keep track of them. Usually, this error would cause Word to crash, and use 100% of the CPU. I would have to terminate word to get it to be responsive again. On the downside I was nearly always working with a “recovered file” with NO idea of what had been lost since my last save. That lead me to saving every 60 seconds.

Then I realised I’d been paying more attention to the dialog box logo, and not reading the message. “Disk Error” “Try formatting another disk” “Save the document to another disk”. Cripes. Could it be the disk/file system?

So I ran the Apple Disk Utility. Sure enough the writing was on the wall.

I did another TimeMachine backup to CYA. Reboot the Mac whilst holding down CMD+R, which forces AppleMac to reboot into a recovery style mode – and ask the Disk Utility to repair the disk. That was successful.

However, it didn’t work. This morning the inability to save the word file returned. Another rescan of the disk indicate file system errors again.

In the end I transferred the file to memory stick, and decided to work from that. Taking the dialog boxes original advice. In this way I hope to limp through the rest of the week – so I can still make it to the printers on Friday.

Of course, this is the last thing I could possibly want in the final days of finishing up 9 month book project. :-(

My plan is next week to either reformat the disk and have clean install (or use the TimeMachine  – won’t that just bring back a screwed file system?) or play it dumb and take the MBP back to the shop where I bought it and claim a replacement under warranty. To be honest this is my second MBP, and those of you who follow my twitter steam will know I’ve not been impressed. The fan goes like billy-o a LOT more than the previous model I had. There’s been this suspicious ticking noise  – which made me take it back to the shop – worried it was a disk problem. They said they replaced the disk – and now this. I guess you call it Sods Law.

 Comment on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: