Troubleshooting Disks

From JRiverWiki
Revision as of 13:44, 19 January 2014 by Glynor (talk | contribs) (Created page with ":''further information:'' Media Center Troubleshooting Guide There are a few different types of disk-access problems that can cause trouble in Media Center. I'll address Fi…")

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
further information: Media Center Troubleshooting Guide

There are a few different types of disk-access problems that can cause trouble in Media Center. I'll address Filesystem Corruption, Disk Permissions Issues, and OS Corruption here. If you are having lots of otherwise-unexplained trouble, this is absolutely worth checking.

Filesystem Corruption

If the hard drive you are running MC from (typically the system drive), the drive that contains the Library, or the drive(s) that contain the media files contain filesystem errors, then you could be subject to a whole host of hard-to-explain trouble. This is particularly common with "older" filesystem such as FAT32 and HFS+, but can apply to any volume, particularly if you've had sudden power outages or anything like that where the computer was unable to shut down cleanly.

Disk Errors or Failure

If your disk is actually physically failing, it can (obviously) cause trouble in a variety of ways. The first thing to do is to check the disk using the built-in tools referenced above. If you see repeated trouble, or increasing "reallocated sectors" counts in the log reports the tools generate, this can be a sign of a more serious problem with your disk hardware.

If you suspect this, before you do anything else, backup the data on the drive. Even trying to repair a troubled disk can cause it to fail completely. Step one is always back it up!

Testing for disk failure can often be done with a special tool provided by the manufacturer of your particular disk. Here are a few of the common manufacturers:

Some, but not all, manufacturers have utilities for Mac OSX as well. There are also some general-purpose tools that you can use to test your disks. These often can't diagnose with as much specificity as the official tester from the vendor, but they can often do more detailed performance testing, and can be very useful.

For Mac OSX, there is also a non-free, but fantastic disk utility that can often repair disk errors that the built-in utility cannot, called DiskWarrior. It is expensive, but if you have data that needs to be saved on a broken disk, it can be a lifesaver.

SSD Firmware

SSDs are fantastic new types of storage for computers, and they can provide immense performance benefits. Unfortunately, because they are new, and their controllers are new, they often require firmware updates for stability. Check with the vendor of your SSD and ensure you have the latest firmware for your particular drive. Many manufacturers provide an "all in one" tool that does diagnosis and can update firmware (such as Intel's SSD Toolbox or Samsung's Magician, referenced above).


Sometimes, a disk issue that seems to be hardware actually turns out to be just the cable used to attach the disk. This is a simple fix, but aggravating problem to diagnose. If you are having disk trouble, just for good measure, replace the cable you're using to connect the disk. Rule that out. If it works, it is almost always the cheapest and easiest solution, and if it fails, then you lost nothing save the cost of the new cable (assuming you don't have an extra already).

This includes: Parallel and Serial ATA cables (SATA, IDE, or PATA) for internal drives, USB/Firewire/eSATA/Thunderbolt cables for external drives, and Network cables for network-attached devices (both the one from your computer to the switch, and the one from the switch to the network storage machine).

If you need new cables, a great place to buy them in the US is from Monoprice:

OS Corruption

Hardware failures, even transient ones, and malware infections (even cleaned ones) can sometimes leave disk corruption in their wake. This is particularly bad when the corruption "infects" the core OS files on the system disk. Windows provides a handy utility for checking and verifying the essential system files on disk, called the System File Checker.

Here's a handy guide for how to use this tool from the good folks over at

There's no similar, simple analog to the Windows System File Checker utility for Mac OSX (which is too bad, as HFS+ is a bag of hurt), but one thing that can sometimes help is reinstalling the most recent "combo update" for your Operating System. Here are links to a few of the recent ones:

Filesystem Permissions Errors

MC runs "as" the currently logged in user, which means if the media files, or especially the Library files, are "owned" by another user, you may experience problems with playback and performance. This section could get quite long if I provided a step-by-step guide for all operating systems, but I'll try to provide some relevant links.