Help/Advice Needed: Problems With iMac & Failed Volume Structure (TechTool)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by BenEndeem, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. BenEndeem macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #1
    I was using my early '08 iMac earlier, specifically browsing albums in iPhoto, when my iMac crashed Windows-style (everything froze except the cursor). I've never experienced anything like this before on a Mac. Nothing has been installed recently and as far as I know, it has never had problems before.

    I decided to run the hardware test in both modes, which came back as fine.

    However, upon experiencing a few more slow downs, I decided to run TechTool (updated to 3.1.3 for SL), which produced a result of 'failed' for the Volume Structure. To confirm this result, I ran the test three more times, all of which reported a failure while running, though, oddly, the last said 'passed' in the report (despite saying failed on the actual run).

    I've since repaired permissions and reset the PRAM, but still nothing. Bizarrely, TechTool's contradictory reporting has continued.

    Console is also reporting some unusual messages such as 'disk0 ioctl' and 'kernel 0x00000000' (the former frequently and the latter after the crash).

    As far as I can tell, the iMac has returned to running reasonably smoothly, but I fear these are the first signs of a HD failure. If this is indeed the case it really couldn't have happened at a worse time, as by the end of the coming week it will be essential that I have this computer available.

    Inconveniently, Apple support for computers is unavailable on Sundays. Also, the computer is indeed covered by Apple Care.

    My questions regarding this are as follows;

    -Am I correct in my assessment of the possible issue?
    -If so how do I approach it with Apple? Are they generally sympathetic to time constraints?
    -Any further advise?

    I would appreciate any help greatly. Thank you.
     
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    They could be signs of hard drive failure, but not necessarily. These are after all volume errors rather than hardware problems. Did you run a drive surface scan? That's the best way to find out.

    If the scan comes back with a clean bill of health, I'd suggest formatting the hard drive. In the installer, go to Utilities -> Disk Utility, select the drive rather than the partition in the left-hand menu, and click Erase. Zeroing out the hard drive is a plus. Once that's done, run a clean install. Even if the drive is failing, that may buy you a bit of time.

    Of course, right now you should be backing up like it's going out of fashion.

    If it is a drive problem, getting it replaced on a schedule is worth a try, but it really depends how busy they are. Otherwise, if you're fairly competent, you could try replacing the drive yourself. I put a 1.5 TB drive in my iMac (same model) in about an hour without too much trouble, but don't try it if you're not sure of your abilities. If you damage the logic board, the computer will pretty definitely take more than a week (and $800) to fix. ifixit.com has guides for iMacs now.
     
  3. BenEndeem thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #3
    The surface scan came back as completely fine, so I'd assume it is more likely to be a software problem. I've backed up all of my data, so I suppose it's time to zero the HD.

    One question, if anyone can help; will all of my software licenses be restored as they are or will there be a complicated process of renewing them? I've always wondered about that regarding Time Machine, but have been fortunate enough until now not to have to find out.

    Thanks, for the reply BlueRevolution.
     
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #4
    If you restore from Time Machine, everything will be restored as you left it, with the exception of OS X which will require you to download all of the software and security updates again.
     
  5. BenEndeem thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #5
    One more question that I've just thought of; if it's a software error, is there the possibility that this will return with the restoration of the system?
     
  6. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #6
    Yes, but usually a fresh install will cure your problems. If it does return, we can discuss taking more drastic measures.
     
  7. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #7
    I run TechTool Deluxe once in awhile. It came with the computer, and I've never deleted it. Yesterday, for the first time (two years) I got the same thing you've reported. Well, I also have TechTool Pro. I ran that and checked the Volume Structure, and it says all is well. I slept just fine last night.
     
  8. BenEndeem thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #8
    It is still reporting the same thing after the restoration.

    One thing also, repairing disk permissions shows errors 'item has been modified but will not be repaired' (or something to that effect) and Console is showing 'kernel disk0: ioctl(' etc.

    I will try again by backing up from an earlier date.
     

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