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?



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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I know this thread is over a month old, but I just came across it. I had a similar problem that Disk Utility (DU) said it couldn’t fix. After doing some research on line I found the thing that worked for me. I posted my experience in Apple Community, but the essence is this:

Run DU starting with the last/bottom volume in the list of volumes shown on the left (e.g. Macintosh HD - Data) and working your way up. Once you’ve run DU on the next volume (your system volume, e.g. Macintosh HD), the next step is what surprised me. Move to the text that says ‘View’ with a down-arrow that’s just to the left of the words ‘Disk Utility’ in the top of the window and choose 'Show All Devices." This will reveal the ‘Container’ that your volumes are in, and the ‘Media’ (actual hard disk/SSD) in your computer. Run DU on the Container first (which might take a long time), then run DU on the Media. Running it on the Container fixed my problem. I didn’t find any problems on my Media. After that I ran DU on my ‘Macintosh HD - Data’ where I had gotten errors before and it had no errors. Hope this helps.

BTW, on my Mac running Monterey macOS 12.6.1 DU can now check and repair the volumes on my backup external drives (clones). For a long time DU wouldn’t work on external drives but it does under 12.6.

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Thanks for the idea. When you say “Run DU”, I assume you mean run First Aid?

I think I tried opening up the container display and running it on everything, though I’m not sure in what order. But maybe I’ll try that again.


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You are correct, I meant you should run First Aid within Disk Utility.

Chiming in here as I happened to use Disk Drill for the first time yesterday. tl;dr: Disk Drill worked extremely well and recovered ~100 photos from my SD card.

There was 1 photo where it could only recover the jpg from the jpg+raw pair, and 2 raw files that had errors. It brought everything else back from the dead completely intact. I’m extremely happy with this product. (In addition, it’s quite a nice Mac app, which isn’t something I expected in the seemingly dicey field of drive recovery software.)

They have a free trial on their website which you can use to test the waters. It will run the recovery scan and show you the files it’s found, along with its estimated chance of recovery for each. Actually recovering the files requires paying.

For context, my scenario was a little different as it wasn’t filesystem corruption: I’d taken photos on my dSLR, then when I went to import them I found everything on the SD card had been erased. (Possibly some unlucky accidental bumps to buttons on the camera back that navigated to “erase all”.) I’ve got no experience with how it performs with a corrupted disk, but it’s easy to try. If you choose to fully install it there’s a button in settings to properly uninstall the app so you can be sure it doesn’t leave any processes running. (Proper installation adds some lower level components to your system, but there’s an option to run it in self-contained mode which can be necessary depending on your recovery situation.)

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Thanks for the tip!

Yea, and that distinction could make all the difference. But she hasn’t wiped the drive yet, so maybe when she’s home for break, I will try that just for fun before I erase and repurpose the drive.

Meanwhile, I think we have recovered everything either from iCloud or backup via Arq.

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I finally got my hands on this bad drive when my daughter was home last week. I tried First Aid again, and it still failed.

Since we got all the data we need from backups, I didn’t try harder to recover using any of the tools mentioned above. I tried to simply Erase the drive using Disk Utility, and even that failed. That surprised me. The original message made it sound like a filesystem error; now it seemed more like a hardware issue.

To isolate the issue, I tried the NVMe drive in a different enclosure, with a different cable, and in other ports and on other Macs. The common problem is the NVMe drive. So I guess it’s a hardware failure.

Pretty lame for a Samsung 1TB NVMe to fail after about 12 months. This is a state of the art, top of the line product. Thankfully, it appears to still be returnable to Amazon, and it went in the mail today. Supposedly I will be getting a credit soon.

Not sure if I should but another Samsung?