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Helix Diagnostics
Helix Utility 7.0
Helix Utility 7.0

Helix Utility 7.0, builds upon Helix Utility 6.2, adding major new features:

  • Compact Object Map. When compressing an existing collection, this new capability boosts performance for older collections by removing the gaps that occur in a collection’s internal Object Map over time.
  • Rescale Collection. Along with providing the ability to expand a collection up to 64GB, this new tool adjusts the ‘internal block size,’ allowing collections that won’t be growing to such an extreme size to run more compactly.

These features are described in detailed technotes along with other new Helix 7.0 features.

Helix Utility 6.2
Helix Utility 6.2

Helix Utility 6.2, the first Intel native version, is available exclusively to members of the Europa Pioneer Plan. Introduced in the July 2012 edition of The Latest Word, the Helix Utility 6.2 features a totally revamped interface that puts all of the functions into an easy-to-follow control panel that is patterned on Apple’s Disk Utility application.

Compatible with macOS 10.6 and later, Helix Utility 6.2 (and the Europa Pioneer Plan) are described in greater detail on the main Europa product page.

Helix Utility 6.0
Helix Utility 6.0

Helix Utility 6.0 is for Helix users who have not upgraded to Helix 6.2, and is the last version that runs on PowerPC Macs in macOS 10.3 through 10.5 and in Classic macOS 9.x. The remainder of this technote explains how to use Helix Utility 6.0.

Helix Utility 6.0 Basics

To analyze a collection for data damage, first make a backup copy of the collection. Then launch the Helix Utility. Select Open from the File menu and select a copy of the collection.

A dialog box will appear with a warning about backing up your collection. if you made a backup copy, press the "OK, I have a backup" button. If you didn't, click "Cancel, I'll make a backup first" and do so.

The Helix Utility will read the collection into memory and a thermometer bar will indicate its progress.

When the Helix Utility is finished reading the collection, select Data Damage Repair under the Tools menu. Another thermometer will indicate the progress of the data damage repair.

Tip: If you do not want to wait for Helix Utility to finish reading the collection before starting the Data Damage Repair, you can press Command-R (the command key equivalent for Data Damage Repair) while the collection is being read. When Helix Utility is finished reading the collection, it will automatically start the data damage repair. All that is left to do is wait for the final dialog box that reports the result of the repair.

Collection Buffers

The performance of Helix Utility can be improved significantly — particularly for large collections — by making sure the Collection Buffer is set correctly. Under macOS you simply set the buffer (found in Preferences) to a value large enough to hold your entire collection.

Information on setting up RAMJet (found in Helix Classic applications) can be found on this page.


Beginning with version 5.2, Helix Utility is scriptable via AppleScript. See the documentation that comes with your version of Helix Utility for instructions and sample code.

Diagnostic Mode

Beginning with version 6.0.1, Helix Utility contains an additional Diagnostic Mode that can be used to pre-diagnose the extent of fatal damage. This is useful when trying to decide whether to schedule a collection repair or to revert to a backup copy of the collection. In some cases, it may even provide enough clues that we can talk you through a repair over the phone.

To run Helix Utility in Diagnostic Mode, hold the Control key down while Helix Utility launches. Helix Utility beeps once during launch to let you know that you have successfully entered Diagnostic Mode.

Note that if you hold the Control key down before clicking on Helix Utility, the macOS Contextual Menu pops up. (If this happens, select Open from the menu and continue to hold the Control key while Helix Utility launches and you hear the beep.)

An easier way to enable Diagnostic Mode is to use this drag and drop technique: click (and keep holding the mouse button down) on the collection, then press and hold the control key, then drag the collection onto Helix Utility. Release the mouse button when Helix Utility highlights, but do not release the Control key until you hear the beep. If you do not hear the beep, check the sound level on your computer, then quit Helix Utility and try again.

Now that Helix Utility is in Diagnostic Mode, proceed with the structure check just as always. The check proceeds normally, but at the end, a dialog prompts you to save the diagnostic data to a file. (If there is no prompt to save the diagnostic data, then Helix Utility did not find any errors and no file is written.) There is very little in this file that can be put to use by someone without collection repair training. Send the file to our tech support department, and we can do a preliminary assessment of the damage.