Q&A: Invalid volume/directory counts

Q When I run Disk Utility on my iMac (OS X 10.6.8), it keeps reporting invalid volume/directory counts. Each time I restart from my Install disk, repair the disk, only to find that this has recurred a few days later. How can I stop it?

A This is very unusual, and seldom reported.

Checking through your repair log from Disk Utility, the error that is recurring is that three folders are being incorrectly marked as files.

This might correlate with entries in your System and Console logs, but you are going to be very lucky to find such helpful evidence. Look particularly for evidence of a kernel extension (.kext file) that might be crashing or flagging errors, an old and crufty background service or other hidden process, or possibly an old app that needs to be updated.

If you are still looking for clues, restart with the Shift key held down to disable third-party extensions and their ilk. Then keep a paper note of all the apps that you use, whether you create any new folders, and so on. At the end of each day, restart from your optical disk and perform another repair.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 16, 2012.