Everything Else
About Collection Damage
I only see one "Helix Utility" but I see references to "the utilities." Is there really another Helix Utility?

Yes. The Helix Utility only checks the integrity of the data in your collection while Helix Update Collection checks the structural integrity of your Collection.

Under normal operation, the structure does not change much and should never have a problem with it, but when you are making structural changes (working in Full Mode) the structure is at risk.

When you update a collection to a new version of Helix, the structure is checked automatically. If you run a collection that has already been updated through Helix Update Collection, it will offer you an option to check the structural integrity of the collection. A good preventative maintenance routine includes regular checkups with both utilities.

When I run Helix Update Collection it reports "Minor Errors have been corrected." Is my collection in danger of corruption?

No. When Helix is running, there are many changes happening inside the collection. Sometimes in the interest of speed, Helix doesn't clean up all of the loose ends when a bit of code is no longer needed. These loose ends can not cause damage to a collection, but since they are no longer needed, Helix Update Collection removes them and reports that "minor maintenance" has been done. The number in brackets at the bottom of the dialog is the actual number of items that were cleaned up.

I ran Helix Update Collection and it reported no problems (or minor maintenance was done) but the icon is now cracked. What's wrong?

You probably had the Collection icon showing in a Finder window during the structure check and that window has not refreshed. Try closing and reopening the window or "Get Info" on the cracked icon. That will tell the Finder to update its information.

When I run Helix Utility's Data Damage Check my Collection's icon gets a "bite" in it, & now Helix tells me there is "Fatal Damage" in my Collection. Is it really fatal?

Maybe. The Helix Utility is a "multi pass" utility program and some errors take as many as 5 passes to completely repair. If you do not complete a repair, Helix will report "fatal damage" since it does not know the final outcome of the repair attempt. This sort of damage is seen visibly in the bite (we call it a chip) that appears in the upper right corner of the collection icon. Run the Data Damage Check again (and again) until you either get the "no detectable problems" message or you see the just "fatal damage" dialog and no others. Sometimes the Helix Utility will falsely report fatal damage when it has in fact just fixed the problem. The bottom line is this: if you run the Data Damage Check and the only dialog you get is the one reporting fatal damage, then run the collection through Helix Utility again. If you get the fatal damage a second time, the collection is damaged. If any other dialogs appear you should run the utility again.

I've done all I can with the utilities and my Collection is still chipped or cracked. What do I do now?

Your collection has become corrupted. Your options are to revert to a backup or have your collection repaired, either by us or a third party repair facility.

I don't have a backup!

You will have to have the Collection repaired. Collection repair isn't 100% successful, so a good backup routine is essential.

How do Collections get damaged?

While it is usually impossible to determine exactly "what went wrong", the majority of collections that are sent here for repair indicate that the damage was caused by some sort of failure related to storing the data on disk. Briefly: When Helix needs to work with data on a disk, it has to ask the OS to ask the disk drive to do what we need. If something goes wrong anywhere in that chain, and the error is not reported back to Helix, chances are that the data on the disk is not accurate. Fortunately there are many levels of error checking in place to make sure that if the data can not be stored correctly, you are informed. You are usually informed with a "crash" - either a Helix error or Mac OS error dialog appears and you have no other option but to restart. A crash is never pleasant, but it is better than having bad data stored in your collection and not be aware of it. Collections sometimes get damaged when an error slips by unnoticed. If you are experiencing frequent crashes or occasional collection damage, making sure your hardware and software are in good shape is the first step to resolving the problem. Make sure that you have allocated sufficient memory to Helix, that your system is virus free, and your disk drivers are up to date, that you have stable electrical service at the outlet where the computer is plugged in, that your hardware is running properly, that all cables - internal and external - are in good shape and securely fastened... the list could go on and on.

How long does a collection repair take?

It is impossible to guartantee a turnaround time since every repair is different, but we strive to repair all collections within one working day of receipt. With overnight delivery both ways, it should take three days. If you can send (and retrieve) your Collection electronically, two days can be shaved off the repair time.

How much does a repair cost?

The full collection repair policy is found here.

Where can I get more information about the repair process?

The full collection repair policy is found here.

Why can't I repair my Collection myself? Can't I just call you and have you tell me what to do?

Repairing a damaged Collection properly requires an understanding of the internal structures of a Collection and the ability (gained only through experience) to determine what the probable cause of the damage was. Collection repair requires a working knowledge of the binary and hexadecimal numbering systems, the ability to convert hexadecimal bytecodes into decimal and binary, the ability to do hexadecimal math (including multiplying hexadecimal numbers), experience with a file editor, and an understanding of the internal structures of the various objects in a Collection. One mistake can render a collection useless or (worse) cause it to appear to be repaired, but still be damaged. This could cause data to be stored in the wrong place, calculations to work incorrectly, random crashes... It is in the best interest of everyone in the Helix community to see that Collections are repaired properly.

My Collection contains confidential or sensitive data. Can I be guaranteed that this confidentiality will not be breached?

Collection repair doesn't usually require that we look at the data in a Collection. However we are more than happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement if necessary.

How often should I run the utilities?

There is no hard & fast answer. Look at it this way: How much downtime and/or data can you afford to lose? Run the utilities as often as is needed so that you are confident that your data is secure. How often do you go to the doctor for a routine physical? Under normal circumstances the utilities don't actually do anything but confirm that all is well. But if there is a problem, you want to know about it sooner rather than later. There are third party utilities available that make running the utilities fully automatic.

I ran the Helix Utility, it reported a fixable problem, and asked me whether I wanted it to fix it or not. I told it not to fix it and it immediately reported fatal damage. Why?

If you do not allow the utility to remove the damaged data, then the damage remains. The Collection will be chipped until you allow the utility to remove the damage. You can still open the collection, but you will be presented with a dialog warning you of the damage. You may want to do this if you see that the utility wants to remove some damaged records. The utility has no way of telling you which records are damaged, just which relation they are in. If a Collection is damaged in this way, you can probably open the collection, open the relation that was reported as having damaged records, create a "Quick List", and scroll through the records until Helix crashes. Then you will have an idea of where the damaged records are in relation to the other data. This might make it easier for you to locate the data in a backup, and recreate the records that will be lost when you allow the utility to remove them.