Volume Header Needs Minor Repair

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Hi guys,

I made a post a few weeks ago saying that I had a power failure and my Mac went out on it. After that I ran Disk Utility from the DVD and everything was OK.

So, tonight I downloaded the programme "Maintenance" and it says my volume needs to be repaired.

I rebooted from the DVD and ran the Disk Utility and got the "volume header needs minor repair" message. I've repaired it, and verified it and it says it's OK. However, I'm very concerned about this. Some people say that this is a sign of an about to fail hard drive - is this true? My computer is only like 5 weeks old..... Do I need to worry? My computer is running perfectly.

I have an iMac Intel Core 2 Duo - OS 10.4.8 - 2gig RAM. Do I need to include anymore information?

This guy has the same problem.


I also found this article.

POWER USERS' CLINIC Journaling vs.fsck

Mac OS X 10.4 comes with journaling turned on. As noted on Section A.4, journaling means that the Mac keeps a diary about every tiny bit of hard drive activity. In event of a crash or freeze, the Mac knows precisely what was going on at the time, and precisely which files might have been damaged.

In theory, then, you'll never need fsck at all. After all, there's nothing to check. The Mac's journaling software is always on top of things—and, if the journal indicates that there was trouble saving a file, Mac OS X can finish or undo the change.

Even Apple concedes, however, that in the real world, things can still go wrong, even with journaling turned on.

That's why, when you attempt to use fsck as described on these pages, a message will inform you that, hey, you don't need to repair your disk. Thanks to journaling, there's no damage to repair.

If you decide to proceed on the off chance that something's gone wrong behind your journal's back, just use the -f flag to force the disk check, like this: fsck -f.

Note, however, that you may see a series of phony error messages when you do this. If you see any of these messages, you should ignore them:

*

"Volume bitmap needs minor repair"
*

"Invalid volume free block count" or "block count changed from XX to YY"
*

"Volume header needs minor repair"
*

"Incorrect block count for file"

If you see any other error messages, though, let fsck go ahead and repair them.
Is the above information correct?

Any advice would be appreciated! Sorry to post yet another thread on this, but different threads give different advice and it's kind of confusing and I'm also extremely anxious about this computer breaking down or something going wrong with it.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
If it's an iMac G5 then it'll be older than five weeks. The attached information about journaling is correct in theory, as it says. As great as it would be to say a journaled drive doesn't need repair, this is unfortunately not the case. Anyway, keep your data backed up and verify your drive with either Disk Utility or Maintenance regularly. These errors can be the sign of a failing drive, but not necessarily. Just keep an eye on it. :)
 

yadmonkey

macrumors 65816
Aug 13, 2002
1,243
706
Western Spiral
It sounds to me like you had some errors in the file system/directory. While they can be caused by physical issues with the drive, they don't necessarily imply physical issues. You said your iMac went out with the power recently - well when you shut down a Mac properly, one of the things it's doing is updating the disk directory. If the Mac shuts down suddenly, then the directory doesn't get updated and errors can occur.

I find these types of errors on healthy hard drives all the time. Disk Utility and the FSCK command can fix some of them. There are plenty of non-physical ways for disk directories to get damaged.

If you really want to be sure about the physical health of the drive, get a disk utility which can do a surface scan on the drive. This will identify any bad sectors, which are more typically found on older drives. If there were other physical issues, then you Mac probably wouldn't be running perfectly.

That said, mad jew hit it on the head - whether you think your computer is healthy or not, back up all your important data. This is the only way you'll ever be sure!
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
If it's an iMac G5 then it'll be older than five weeks. The attached information about journaling is correct in theory, as it says. As great as it would be to say a journaled drive doesn't need repair, this is unfortunately not the case. Anyway, keep your data backed up and verify your drive with either Disk Utility or Maintenance regularly. These errors can be the sign of a failing drive, but not necessarily. Just keep an eye on it. :)

Sorry - it's an Intel Core 2 Duo, does this make a difference?

Thanks for the advice guys. Do either of you recommend any disk utility programmes such as Disk Warrior or Tech Tool Pro? I read in a magazine that they can sometimes do more harm than good......
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
Ahh okay. Nah, it doesn't really make a difference. I agree with the wise but smelly yadmonkey's sentiments; I don't think there's much to worry about. I don't use those third party tools, personally. I find that if Disk utility is incapable of fixing my problem and a complete reformat doesn't help then the drive's as good as dead. Those tools are great for retrieving a failing disk if only momentarily to get your data back from it. However, if you back up regularly, then this shouldn't ever be an issue. :)
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
Ahh okay. Nah, it doesn't really make a difference. I agree with the wise but smelly yadmonkey's sentiments; I don't think there's much to worry about. I don't use those third party tools, personally. I find that if Disk utility is incapable of fixing my problem and a complete reformat doesn't help then the drive's as good as dead. Those tools are great for retrieving a failing disk if only momentarily to get your data back from it. However, if you back up regularly, then this shouldn't ever be an issue. :)
Thanks for your help, Mad Jew.

Do you think a reformat would help in this case or should I just leave well enough alone? I verified the disk this morning and everything appears to be OK.
 

SmurfBoxMasta

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2005
1,351
0
I'm only really here at night.
But, just in case, set aside $80 to buy Diskwarrior, if it starts acting up again with those same errors. DW is THE #1 tool to fix volume header & directory structure problems. It has saved my a*s many, many times over the years, and has NEVER caused a single problem on any of my disks, dating back to my OS 8.6 smurfbox in 1999 thru my current QS w/ 10.4.10 :D
 

bingefeller

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
519
15
Northern Ireland
But, just in case, set aside $80 to buy Diskwarrior, if it starts acting up again with those same errors. DW is THE #1 tool to fix volume header & directory structure problems. It has saved my a*s many, many times over the years, and has NEVER caused a single problem on any of my disks, dating back to my OS 8.6 smurfbox in 1999 thru my current QS w/ 10.4.10 :D
Hmm, I might look into getting a copy just to be safe.

:)
 

yadmonkey

macrumors 65816
Aug 13, 2002
1,243
706
Western Spiral
I agree with the wise but smelly yadmonkey's sentiments
Smelly?!?! I... uh... how did you know?! Must have used a packet sniffer...

bingefeller said:
I read in a magazine that they can sometimes do more harm than good......
I'm not a big fan of disk utilities in the hands on non-pros. It's true that some of them can cause harm - for example trying to defrag a disk which doesn't have a squeeky clean directory is an invitation to trouble. That said, I can't really see how Diskwarrior could cause trouble - that program is terrific. Tech Tool I really only use for the occasional surface scan when a client brings me a hard drive which already appears to have a physical issue. But in that case, it's really not doing much other than confirming the obvious.