Data migration into the long run is a type of issues that Mac customers ought to take into consideration on occasion. Authorities and college archivists fear about it so much and so must you. Regardless that StuffIt is in extensive use in sure circles, many house customers aren’t planning a future with it. Even so, trying again in time will be the true difficulty.

The Huge Occasion

The opposite day, I used to be working with some very outdated monetary archive recordsdata on my Mac. I used to be curious, so I double-clicked one .sit file and nothing in any respect occurred. So I dragged the archive to Stuff Expander 12, the most recent model I had, and acquired this error message:

The Error that acquired me pondering

Irritated, however not alarmed, I did some investigating. I attempted increasing another .sit recordsdata and so they “unstuffed” simply nice. So it appeared that I could have had a file that:

  • was corrupted
  • was lacking a wanted useful resource fork (from Mac OS 9 and early Mac OS X days)
  • had additionally been encrypted, possibly by one other app

The Huge Questions

That acquired me interested in what number of StuffIt archives I had amassed through the years. A search with PathFinder confirmed that I had 2,882 .sit recordsdata and 44 .sitx recordsdata. After which, in fact, my subsequent thought was, conscious of the Snow Leopard improve I simply did on some pretty new Macs, “What if a day comes, because of technical developments, that I can no longer open those archives? Will the current version of StuffIt Expander work all the way back to the beginning of StuffIt technology? What tools might I need to keep current? I decided to find out.

Tracking Down the StuffIt Developer

My next step was to figure out the chronology of the company, Aladdin, and the technology. Recall that Raymond Lau developed StuffIt in 1987 and Aladdin Software was formed to market it. StuffIt quickly became the de facto standard for compressing and archiving files in Mac OS, especially in 1990s when we had relatively limited and expensive disk storage. StuffIt Expander a simple utility to expand archives, was a standard third party add-on for all Macs up until Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger. Its big brother, the full featured StuffIt Deluxe was widely used to create and encrypt archives that could easily be sent via e-mail.

Eventually, Aladdin became Allume, and in 2005, Allume was purchased by Smith Micro Software. I contacted Matthew Covington, Senior Director of Product Development at Smith Micro in Watsonville, CA where the StuffIt team is. Not only did he provide some suggestions on what the problem with my archive file was, but also brought me up to date on the StuffIt technology. Here’s what I learned from Mr. Covington:

Recovering Old Knowledge for Data Migration

1. “The present model of StuffIt Expander, which is StuffIt 2009, is ready to open archives created by any prior model of  StuffIt. This covers the earlier historical past of StuffIt archives ( i.e. the .sit file format) in addition to the newer era of StuffIt X archives (.sitx file format). Observe that Expander is ready to open an entire slew of different file codecs along with those that we’ve created — for instance the Expander can open zip archives, together with encrypted zip archives and zip archives created with newer extensions to the Zip format that WinZip and others have created in recent times that the Finder can not.”

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In summary, the current StuffIt Expander should be all you’ll ever need to open any StuffIt archive ever created. StuffIt Expander 2009 can be downloaded from Smith Micro, free. Cool. One problem solved. Regarding my stubborn archive, Mr. Covington wrote:

2. “… does the error outcome from a bug in StuffIt, or does the error outcome from some sort of corruption to the archive file itself? The bug in Expander speculation can simply be examined — I’d suggest that you just obtain the free Expander 2009 replace and see if that has any higher luck in your recordsdata. If neither StuffIt 12 or StuffIt 2009 can open the archives, then the issue is probably with the file itself.”

I replaced StuffIt 12 with StuffIt 2009, but the archive still wouldn’t open.

Mr. Covington continued: “In some circumstances, older variations of the StuffIt file format have been depending on data saved within the useful resource fork of the file, so if the useful resource fork has been misplaced, such recordsdata received’t open.”

I checked the file with this command within the terminal:

ls -l Finance.sit/..namedfork/rsrc

It confirmed a 338 byte useful resource fork on a 36 MB file. So evidently that wasn’t the issue both.

“There are also issues with archive size. If the .sit archive is above 4 GB in size, it is likely to be corrupt…. One troubleshooting tip that does require StuffIt Deluxe, is that in some cases the corruption in the file can be worked around by browsing the contents of the archive in the Archive Manager application that ships as part of the StuffIt Deluxe application.

“In some circumstances, whereas Expander is unable to course of the whole archive on account of corruption, Archive Supervisor can permit you to pull particular person recordsdata out of the archive with out having to entry the corrupt space of the file. We’ve tried to place a whole lot of the older troubleshooting strategies for opening corrupt archives into StuffIt Expander, nonetheless, so in lots of circumstances we’re capable of skip over corruption within the file routinely to extract as a lot as potential. A failure proper originally of the method, which is what I’m guessing you see, signifies a way more major problem with the file.”

I was sent an NFR copy of StuffIt Deluxe 2009 to see if the Archive manager would open the reluctant archive. That also failed.

Next, I was interested to find out what files got instaleld by StuffIt Deluxe. I got the answer:

3. “There are a variety of parts put in outdoors the purposes folder with StuffIt Deluxe. Within the case of Deluxe, the engine is put in in frequent location the place a number of purposes can entry a single occasion of the library. We additionally set up a Highlight plugin and some different gadgets that find yourself dwelling outdoors the Purposes folder. Once you run the installer, it is best to see a listing run by.*

“At this point we’re aware of no bugs or other issues with StuffIt Deluxe 2009 and Snow Leopard. Magic Menu (which loads in the Finder menu bar) and the Spotlight plugin both appear to load and function correctly. Needless to say we’ve had plenty of time to test for compatibility through access to Apple’s developer seeds.”

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My final gasp try was to notice that the file sort and creator of the apparently corrupted file has been modified. Kind = “enc2”; Creator = “crp2”. Actually, it ought to have been Kind = “SIT5”; Creator = “SIT!” That prompt that I could have provided some after-the-fact encryption on the file that I forgot about over the past 9 years. It might have been with a Traditional utility, which I can not run, or maybe a Mac OS 9 native encryption utility. Then the file was both corrupted or I am going to have to seek out the utility that encrypted it earlier than StuffIt Archive Supervisor will work.

Classes and References for Knowledge Migration

Lesson #1 in information migration: Use customary file codecs, maintain sturdy, useful data on any strategies used for compression or encryption and related passwords. Maintain monitor of and replace instruments used to archive, compress or encrypt recordsdata at every stage of OS and {hardware} migration. In different phrases, do not improve if you cannot carry your instruments ahead — or take care of the recordsdata first to ensure they will carry ahead.

— Chronology Of StuffIt

Here is the development of the StuffIt Archive format over time. It would show useful in understanding the evolution of assorted archives it’s possible you’ll encounter.  

  • 1993 — Introduction of the StuffIt 3 archive format (used .sit extension) — Higher compression in comparison with unique StuffIt archive format.
  • 1998 — Introduction of the StuffIt 5 archive format (used .sit extension) — Once more, improved compression over prior model. This model of StuffIt additionally eliminated a number of the dependencies on useful resource fork information to allow higher cross platform assist sending recordsdata between Mac and PC.
  • 2002 — Introduction of the StuffIt X file format. (used .sitx extension) — Higher compression, robust encryption as much as 512-bit, elevated the variety of recordsdata allowed in a single archive, elevated the utmost allowable archive dimension.
  • 2005 — An up to date to the StuffIt X file format added compression of JPEG pictures –- capable of compress JPEGs by an extra 20 to 30 % with out additional reductions to picture high quality.
  • 2007 – An replace to the StuffIt X file format added compression of the Microsoft Workplace 2007 file format (launched in Workplace 2008 on the Mac). These new doc codecs (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) are basically compressed with Zip compression by the Microsoft purposes, so the Finder’s zip compression is unable to make them smaller. StuffIt launched a brand new approach that allowed Workplace 2007/8 paperwork to be additional compressed, and for inline JPEGs saved in these paperwork to be compressed utilizing the JPEG compression technique launched in 2005.
  • 2008 – An replace to the StuffIt X file format added assist for specialised compression of 24-bit pictures – TIFFs, PNGs, Bitmaps, and many others. Additionally added was improved compression of PDF and MP3 recordsdata.

— Development of File Kind and Creator

StuffIt 1.5.1
Extension: .sit
Kind: SIT!
Creator: SIT!

StuffIt 2 (launched with StuffIt Deluxe 3.0)
Extension: .sit
Kind: SITD
Creator: SIT!

StuffIt 5 (launched with StuffIt Deluxe 5.0)
Extension: .sit
Kind: SIT5
Creator: SIT!

StuffIt X 7.0 (Launched with StuffIt Deluxe 7.0 – that is the newer StuffIt X file format.
Extension: .sitx
Kind: SITX
Creator: SIT

This data may turn out to be useful if, someway, the kind or creator of an archive has been altered or corrupted. It is likely to be potential to vary that file information and obtain a profitable unstuff. There are a number of apps plus command line instruments and developer instruments to vary the file sort and creator, however that is a topic for one more article.

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Silly Installer Methods

Note that the StuffIt Expander makes use of an installer. I requested Mr. Covington about that, and he stated: “Expander is completely self contained. The StuffIt Engine is included in the application package. The fact we’re using an installer at all is really down to customer feedback. We went to a drag and drop install at one point in time, but in the end a lot of the new users we were getting (and this is especially true for users who switched to the Mac from Windows) were just more comfortable with running an installer.”

That is an astounding bit of data, and Mr. Covington gave his permission to share that tidbit from a developer’s standpoint. In fact, within the Mac group, we prize drag and drop installs and anticipate all the center to be contained in the bundle. Nevertheless, many Home windows customers are seemingly not conversant in the bundle idea, that’s, that every one Mac OS X apps are actually directories that act like a single file. Not realizing that — and the way the Mac OS X file system is ready up — they, maybe, choose the psychological consolation of an installer.

Lesson #2 in information migration: Turn out to be conscious of conventions and protocols in numerous OSes that would trigger misunderstandings in regards to the construction of the info and the proper use of software program instruments.

Finish Of File

What I’ll do subsequent is to try my .sit and .sitx archives to see if any of them are vital and actually ought to exit their archival standing. Only for the peace of thoughts. Nevertheless, realizing that I’ve the instruments I have to open any StuffIt archive implies that I in all probability needn’t unstuff all 2,882 recordsdata. For now.

Fashionable Web applied sciences and shopper terabyte drives make it much less and fewer crucial to compress recordsdata or collections of recordsdata besides in particular circumstances, largely for transmission. Nevertheless, when you do elect to compress recordsdata after which add the complication of encryption, it is smart to maintain your instruments updated and perceive how they work.

Here is one other tip for house customers: designate an ordinary household password for private, encrypted .dmg, .zip, and .sit(x) recordsdata that your partner and kids know. Doing all these items will insure that your priceless private information, compressed so way back, can migrate efficiently into the long run.


* Set up Log:

/Library/Frameworks/StuffIt.framework was not discovered.
/Library/Frameworks/StuffItCore.framework was not discovered.
/Library/Frameworks/StuffItSupport.framework was not discovered.
/Library/Contextual Menu Gadgets/StuffItCM.plugin was not discovered.
/Library/PreferencePanes/StuffIt AVR.prefpane was not discovered.
/Library/Highlight/StuffIt.mdimporter was not discovered.
/usr/native/bin/stuff was not discovered.
/usr/native/bin/unstuff was not discovered.
/Library/QuickLook/StuffIt.qlgenerator was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/Frameworks/StuffIt.framework was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/Frameworks/StuffItCore.framework was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/Frameworks/StuffItSupport.framework was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/Contextual Menu Gadgets/StuffItCM.plugin was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/PreferencePanes/StuffIt AVR.prefpane was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/Highlight/StuffIt.mdimporter was not discovered.
/Customers/john/usr/native/bin/stuff was not discovered.
/Customers/john/usr/native/bin/unstuff was not discovered.
/Customers/john/Library/QuickLook/StuffIt.qlgenerator was not discovered.

Put in
StuffIt.framework efficiently put in.
StuffItCore.framework efficiently put in.
StuffItCM.plugin efficiently put in.
stuff efficiently put in.
unstuff efficiently put in.
StuffIt.qlgenerator efficiently put in.


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