How to fix "fsroot tree is invalid"?

Hi guys!

My daughter’s external SSD with a ton of media on it won’t mount anymore. Disk Utility gives a cryptic error. When you try First Aid on that drive, it gives a bunch of errors, such as those shown below.

Tried booting into Recovery Mode (M1 MacBook) and then repeating the process there, but no difference. Trying to repair the boot drive in that mode shows it’s fine and there was nothing to fix.

Googling, most people just say reformat and restore from backup, but it seems her backups may have been failing for a while, so I’m not sure how current the data is. Other sites recommend recovering files and then reformatting using apps like these:

  1. Stellar: Fix APFS fsroot tree is invalid error on macOS
  2. iBoysoft: Fix APFS fsroot tree is invalid in macOS Ventura/Monterey/Big Sur

These could be Chinese or who knows what, so I’m reluctant to try them unvetted. I’ve never used DiskWarrior, but it has a good rep. Haven’t checked prices on any of these either.

I could go to a Mac shop, but that would burn quite a few hours, and I’m wondering if they just use the apps above and charge me the same price…

This drive and enclosure are only about 12-13 months old, too. Could it be a hardware issue?

Looking for some community guidance on how to proceed?

Thanks!

Dave

Running First Aid on “Photos” (disk5s1)

Checking file system and repairing if necessary and if possible.
Volume is already unmounted.
Performing fsck_apfs -y -x /dev/rdisk5s1
Checking the container superblock.
Checking the checkpoint with transaction ID 112858.
Checking the space manager.
Checking the space manager free queue trees.
Checking the object map.
Checking volume /dev/rdisk5s1.
Checking the APFS volume superblock.
The volume Photos was formatted by diskmanagementd (1677.141.2) and last modified by apfs_kext (1934.141.2).
Checking the object map.
Checking the snapshot metadata tree.
Checking the snapshot metadata.
Checking snapshot 1 of 1 (com.bombich.ccc.5963C9C4-20B8-4B53-9DD7-173C388F771E.2021-10-22-235427)
error: (oid 0x30a0) apfs_root: btn: found zeroed-out block
Checking the fsroot tree.
error: (oid 0x53d) apfs_root: btn: found zeroed-out block
fsroot tree is invalid.
The volume /dev/rdisk5s1 was found to be corrupt and cannot be repaired.
Verifying allocated space.
The volume /dev/rdisk5s1 could not be verified completely.
File system check exit code is 8.
Restoring the original state found as unmounted.
File system verify or repair failed. : (-69845)

I agree that Stellar and iBoysoft look dicey.

If the SSD is encrypted Howard Oakley is not encouraging, but otherwise has some info here:

[An atlas of recovery and boot volumes: High Sierra to Monterey – The Eclectic Light Company](https://An atlas of recovery and…). Contact some of the “reliable” disk recovery folks? APFS has not made it easy for them though.

Good luck!

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I came across Disk Drill only a few days ago, so haven’t had time to play with it. Therefore this is not a personal recommendation. However, browsing the site impressed me enough to put it on my list of “investigate further”. You might want to have a look and try a free download and scan. Don’t know if others here have any experience with it?

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Got this kind reply from DiskWarrior support.

Too bad, though. APFS has been out for quite a few years at this point. I remember when they had their growing pains, but now that it’s mainstream and default, this “unfixability” is quite unforgivable.

Good afternoon Dave,

DiskWarrior cannot yet repair the APFS (Apple File System).

Your Disk Utility output seems to indicate your SSD is running APFS.

Unfortunately, there is currently no tool that can fully repair APFS.

DiskWarriro CAN repair MacOS Extended formatted Volumes. Until APFS can be repaired; we recommend keeping external Volumes formatted as MacOS Extended.

Let me know if you have additional questions.


Taylor K.
Alsoft Tech Support

Thank, I just sent them an email inquiry.

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Disk Drill has a bad rap from several users. Although I downloaded it a couple of years ago when some found it of questionable use, I never got around to trying it.

Here’s a discussion from that same time period that may still apply:

Seems to be a PUP at best.

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This is not an answer @dave1 but more of a comment about iBoysoft and Disk Drill. I can’t vouch for the legitimacy of iBoysoft but they have a couple of apps unrelated to data recovery on Setapp - iBoysoft NTFS for Mac and iBoysoft MagicMenu.

Disk Drill is also on Setapp. I tried it a few years ago on an external HDD but it failed to recover any files. A couple of local Mac repair stores were also unable to recover anything and their only suggestion was to return to drive to Seagate to attempt recovery. However, the drive was just out of warranty and the cost was too prohibitive.

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