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Question: Invalid Key Length error after 10.4.3 install/10.4.4 update

After installing Mac OS X, version 10.4.3 from CD, and upgrading to version 10.4.4 via Software Update, ran Disk Utility, verify disk, from DU on startup disk and got following message: "...Invalid key length...The volume Macintosh HD needs to be repaired. Error: The underlying task reported failure on exit...1 HFS volume checked...Volume needs repair." Tried rebooting from 10.4.3 install CD and running Disk Utility, First Aid, from CD to repair startup disk. After trying 3 times, First Aid halted and could not repair problem. Purchased Disk Warrior 3.0.3 CD, booted from DW CD, and DW also could not "rebuild" startup disk. Have purchased Drive Genius 1.2 CD from Prosoft to try to repair startup disk. If that fails, is only recourse to backup software on startup disk to external hard drive, and do erase and re-install of 10.4.3/10.4.4 software to cure problem? Please provide help!

iMac G-4,800Mhz,512M Ram,60G HD Mac OS X (10.4.4)

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Jan 27, 2006 2:55 PM in response to jaxjt In response to jaxjt

Hi jaxjt, and welcome to the forums.

FYI, you might have better luck posting in the Tiger forum, but here goes.

There were a lot of people who experienced problems with the last update to iTunes for Panther, causing Disk Utility to fail. The solution was to go to Library/Receipts and move iTunes.pkg and iTunes4.pkg to the desktop and then run Disk Utility. Apparently this problem did not affect Tiger, so i doubt that would help you.

You could try going to Library/Receipts and delete the 10.4 update. It should be called MacOSXUpdate10.4.4.pkg, or something very similar. Then try running the update again, and see if that resolves your problem.

Sorry I can't be any more helpful. Good luck.

Andrew

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Jan 27, 2006 6:26 PM in response to jaxjt In response to jaxjt

From Alsoft, the makers of Disk Warrior:

Every file or folder (item) on a Mac OS Standard (HFS) or Mac OS Extended (HFS Plus) disk has a directory key. The term "key" is a shorter way of referring to a directory key. Item names can have a variable number of characters (length). Keys, in turn, are variable length because one component of a key is the name of its item.

Although item names are variable length, they do have a maximum length. This imposes a maximum length on keys. A key with an invalid length is one which exceeds the maximum. It is essential that an item's key not be invalid if it is to be accessed. Disk Utility tests key lengths at the same time that key order is tested.

Unfortunately, Disk Utility and even some third party repair utilities are unable to repair this problem. You will have to use Disk Warrior to repair the directory.

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Jan 27, 2006 2:55 PM in response to jaxjt In response to jaxjt

Hi jaxjt, and welcome to the forums.

FYI, you might have better luck posting in the Tiger forum, but here goes.

There were a lot of people who experienced problems with the last update to iTunes for Panther, causing Disk Utility to fail. The solution was to go to Library/Receipts and move iTunes.pkg and iTunes4.pkg to the desktop and then run Disk Utility. Apparently this problem did not affect Tiger, so i doubt that would help you.

You could try going to Library/Receipts and delete the 10.4 update. It should be called MacOSXUpdate10.4.4.pkg, or something very similar. Then try running the update again, and see if that resolves your problem.

Sorry I can't be any more helpful. Good luck.

Andrew

Jan 27, 2006 2:55 PM

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Jan 27, 2006 6:26 PM in response to jaxjt In response to jaxjt

From Alsoft, the makers of Disk Warrior:

Every file or folder (item) on a Mac OS Standard (HFS) or Mac OS Extended (HFS Plus) disk has a directory key. The term "key" is a shorter way of referring to a directory key. Item names can have a variable number of characters (length). Keys, in turn, are variable length because one component of a key is the name of its item.

Although item names are variable length, they do have a maximum length. This imposes a maximum length on keys. A key with an invalid length is one which exceeds the maximum. It is essential that an item's key not be invalid if it is to be accessed. Disk Utility tests key lengths at the same time that key order is tested.

Unfortunately, Disk Utility and even some third party repair utilities are unable to repair this problem. You will have to use Disk Warrior to repair the directory.

Jan 27, 2006 6:26 PM

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Jan 30, 2006 7:04 AM in response to Andrew Penner In response to Andrew Penner

Dear Andrew Penner, Thanks for reply. I will try re-install of 10.4.4 using the long version in Apple downloads rather than the abbreviated, tailored 10.4.4 version obtained thru Software Update. The suggestion to check Library/Receipts is useful. Since Mac OS 10.4 has been out nearly a year, I know someone must have experienced a similar error message by now (i.e. "Invalid key length") when running Disk Utility with new versions of 10.4. If only recourse is to "reinstall" the software, one wonders what is causing the "corruption" in the data in the first place. Puzzling. Will post result after reinstall and retest. I noticed the version of Disk Utility on my 10.4.3 Install CD is 10.5 whereas the version of DU on my hard drive after the 10.4.4 update is 10.5.3. Is that a problem? JaxJT

iMac G-4,800Mhz,512M Ram,60G HD Mac OS X (10.4.4)

Jan 30, 2006 7:04 AM

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Jan 30, 2006 7:23 AM in response to Kappy In response to Kappy

Dear Alsoft, Thanks for reply. The primer on "keys" was useful. I did run Disk Warrior 3.0.3 while booted from the DW CD, but DW was unable to "rebuild" the directory or repair the software on my computer's hard drive. DW was able to "recover" its version of the contents of the hard drive, but it could not replace the directory with its data recovered. I have not received the Drive Genius 1.2 (Prosoft) CD which I ordered, but will try that to repair the hard drive software when it arrives. If that does not work, I will do the backup, erase, reinstall procedure suggested elsewhere. Work still in progress. Will post results upon completion of next steps. JaxJT.

iMac G-4,800Mhz,512M Ram,60G HD Mac OS X (10.4.4)

Jan 30, 2006 7:23 AM

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Oct 21, 2006 7:52 AM in response to jaxjt In response to jaxjt

Problem resolved; none of the third party repair programs worked; finally reloaded Mac OS from original install disks and reloaded all other software from original disks; the problem did not reappear; after each software program load, I performed a repair disk permissions operation using Disk Utility to be sure the problem was not present; Lesson for future: If your software becomes "corrupted", and third party repair s/w doesn't work, "bite the bullet", and reload Mac OS and "start over" updating with Software Update, and reloading with original software installation disks.

Oct 21, 2006 7:52 AM

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Question: Invalid Key Length error after 10.4.3 install/10.4.4 update