Fixing "Invalid Node Structure"

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by noobsauce, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. noobsauce macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Disk Utility is giving me an "Invalid Node Structure" message and saying that it cant repair the disk and i have to do a complete backup of my data. Now the irony is that the disk giving this message happens to be my only backup disk that has lots of data that I would rather not lose to a reformat. Is there any way to fix this?

    [EDIT] I did another repair and it is now giving me Invalid Record Count, Invalid Sibling Link and Invalid Node Structure. Oh God.
  2. thegilly macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Backup NOW if you haven't. I got 'Invalid Node Structure' which Disk Utility couldn't repair right before the hard drive in my C2D white iMac died. So I'm thinking it's probably not a good sign. But best of luck!
  3. noobsauce thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Backing up is not possible, the failing drive is my only backup disk
  4. gsahli macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2007
    It is time to buy another backup disk!
    Everything WILL fail sooner or later.

    Disk Warrior can often fix those errors when Disk Utility won't.
  5. noobsauce thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Ok thanks, I'll give Disk Warrior a try. I might also add that the drive is less than 6 months old.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you are having directory problems with the external drive, the FIRST RULE is "don't try to _write_ anything new to the drive". Doing so may only "corrupt it more".

    You have to determine what your problem actually IS.

    It could be:
    1. Corrupted but repairable file system (directory). It's quite possible that Disk Warrior can rebuild the directory from scratch and restore the drive to good working order. This should be your "first course of action".
    2. Corrupted but UNrepairable file system. In this case, even DW may not be able to restore the drive, but you might still get files from it using a drive recovery application like DataRescue III or Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery. (see below for how this works)
    3. Bad drive -- could be either a hardware failure with the drive, or the drive is ok and something is wrong with the "controller board" (mounted in the external enclosure).

    You should try Disk Warrior first. There is a VERY good chance that if all you have is some "directory damage", that DW may be able to rebuild the directory and get you going again.

    If that fails, you are going to need to spend a little money (not "a lot", but some).

    For $30, I suggest you get one of these:

    It will serve you well in the future. Money very well spent.

    Then, get a "bare drive" to go into it. They're available from many sources, I've had good luck buying Seagate drives from

    Hook up the SATA dock to the computer (don't power it on yet). Put the bare drive into it. Now power up. Because the new drive "is bare" (no file system), you'll have to first initialize it using Disk Utility, so go ahead and do this.

    When done, you'll have an empty drive waiting on your desktop to recover files to.

    Now, hook up the PROBLEM external drive. Does it mount on the desktop at this point (regardless of what Disk Utility may say about it)?

    If so, try copying folders/files from the problem drive to the fresh one, one folder at a time, so to speak. You may find that some folders copy OK, but others won't (again, might be directory problems). GET COPIED WHATEVER YOU CAN.

    If you can retrieve a good portion of the files from the bad drive, it might be prudent to simply "write off the rest" (assuming there's nothing mission-critical there), re-initializing the problem drive, and "starting over" with it.

    If NOTHING else seems to be working, there are programs like Data Rescue III or Stellar Phoenix that can "get to" files on a drive, even one with a completely unreadable directory (or a re-initialized drive). They aren't free, but they often work when all else has failed. If these two apps can't do the job, and you HAVE TO HAVE the data, the next step is usually a data-recovery firm, but they cost A LOT of money.

    Get the SATA dock and a bare drive first. You will quickly see the value of having a SECOND "backup" around. The dock makes it easy to swap out drives as you accumulate them. And you can even use CarbonCopyCloner to create a "bootable dupe" of your internal drive using the dock -- and then boot from the dock as well (hold down the "option" key at startup and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN to see what I mean).

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