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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.5 - Question about reinstall after "invalid node structure" problem

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RJ Perry

Member Since: Sep 11, 2009
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A week ago, my MacBook began taking far too much time to complete simple functions. Simply opening an application or scrolling through a webpage would set the pinwheel spinning for a good thirty seconds (but often much more). I found that if I tried to watch a video in iTunes it would freeze for several moments before continuing from a point farther along, sometimes without sound, sometimes with sound only and a frozen picture.

Around this same time I noticed that Time Machine was no longer backing up properly. I have a Time Capsule, and have been backing up my computer on it since February of this year. Now, for some unknown reason, the backups fail every time, despite endless “preparation”. The stated failure being something along the lines of “the backup drive disk image could not be mounted.” I cannot enter Time Machine, nor connect to my Time Capsule.

I have been trolling numerous forums for several days trying to find answers to my various questions. I tried downloading software and firmware updates, as well as programs like Onyx, only to be informed every time that “mounting failed.” I was led in the direction of repairing my disk permissions, as well as the disk itself, through Disk Utility. This is how I discovered what I believe is the underlying problem. When I attempted to repair the disk after booting up from the installation disk, Disk Utility gave me the dreaded “invalid node structure” error.

From what I understand, I can either shell out $100 for DiskWarrior (and wait however long it takes to get the CD in the mail because I can’t download anything) and see if maybe that can fix the problem, or I can wipe my drive and reinstall.

What I really want to know is, if I’ve been backing up my computer on my Time Capsule all this time, do I really have to go out and clone my harddrive (whatever that means, exactly…) before I erase and install? Or can I somehow get all my files and folders off of my Time Capsule once I’ve reinstalled OS X?

Whatever info you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Please assume that I haven’t the faintest idea what it means to “repartition a drive” or “mount a disk image” or why those things allow my computer to work the way it’s supposed to. I simply want to fix the problem without losing all my data or royally screwing up my system. (Fast and free would be good, too.)

PS. I used the installation disk’s hardware test and everything seems to be working fine.
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Most of what you've read online was written before Time Machine more than likely. If you have a current Time Machine backup then you're good as far as your data goes.

First I'd try booting from your OS X dvd - Utilities on the menu and Disk Utility. Try a Repair Disk from there. I have not had a drive get to this point since I began using OS X, but from what I read it may or may not fix it.

Next option for me is either Disk Warrior / TechTool Pro - seems to be DW is recommended more often. You'll need the CD. It may or may not fix it. Or, just get a new drive. It's possible you'll get DW and still need a new drive.

If either of these do repair the drive, see if you can now boot into the OS. If not, I'd suggest back to Disk Utility and erase and re-format.

To install you'll also boot to the OS X dvd and go to Utilities, then select 'Restore System from backup' - here is a guide.

This could also be a sign of a failing drive. Personally, I have never trusted a drive that has gotten to this point of failure for my day to day work again, whether it could be repaired or not. The ones that could be repaired I've have moved to secondary storage only. I do have one 40GB drive bought the week they came out that failed similarly about 6 years ago and is still running as a storage drive. For the most part though, I toss 'em.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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