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TOPIC: Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error

Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 06 Sep 2014 21:32 #5787

I was trying to rebuild my primary HD as I have done periodically. It consistently failed with "Rebuild Error Encountered / Insufficient Work Space To Continue". I had just installed a new eDrive with updated OS and Tech Tools Pro.

TechTool Pro7 Ver 7.0.4 (998-4af11f4)

Mac Pro4.1
Quad Core
16 GB RAM
eDrive 12.13 GB Capacity, 4.82 GB available
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 06 Sep 2014 22:22 #5789

The Volume Rebuild tool rebuilds the disk directory files Catalog B-Tree and Extents B-Tree. Each of the new versions of these files must be written to disk space that is both free and contiguous (all in one piece). It appears that you do not have enough free, contiguous disk space for the new disk directory files to be written. The volume is either too fragmented, too full, or both.

The size of the largest piece of disk space that is both free and contiguous is shown in the Volume Optimization preview, as "Largest".

Unfortunately, creating more disk space that is both free and contiguous by using the disk optimizer is not likely to work, because in order to defragment a file, the disk optimizer needs a piece of free, contiguous disk space that is at least as large as the largest file to be defragmented.

I suggest this strategy:

Check to see how full the volume is. In most cases, a bootable volume should have a minimum of 15% free space. Please see:

Summary of 15% free space rule

Instead of using the disk optimizer to optimize this volume, use this approach:

Optimize Using the Cloning Tool

If the disk directory has no errors, and the volume is too full, transfer some files to another volume and then delete the originals (to create more free space) before using the Cloning Tool. There is no point in creating another volume that is too full.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
Last Edit: 06 Sep 2014 22:29 by micromattech3.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 13 Sep 2014 15:28 #5806

There was plenty of space on the system partition. I simply cloned it to a spare partition and that worked well so I am able to use the computer effectively. I was surprised to see fragmentation on the clone as well; although not as much. I would have that it would have been fragment free.

Since I have breathing space now, I am doing a Volume Optimization on the highly fragmented partition. I will then turn Time Machine back on, which I had turned off when I did the clone.

A remaining question is whether a Time Machine restore using a new copy of Mavericks would have served the same purpose?
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 13 Sep 2014 17:10 #5808

Duplicate cloning copies a volume bit-for-bit, so it preserves fragmentation. File synch cloning to an empty volume copies files to free space, but once you boot from a clone of a bootable volume, many files used by the system are replaced by new ones, such as files in caches.

Doing a restore using Time Machine will certainly greatly reduced fragmentation, but I have never seen it directly compared to using a duplicate clone followed by a file sync clone to an empty volume. If I have to do a Time Machine restore, I will try to remember to check the fragmentation of the result.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 21 Mar 2015 23:51 #6230

I'm getting the same problem in Tech Tool Pro 8. I tried a volume repair, and when that failed I tried volume optimisation to get more contiguous free space. TTP warned me that I shouldn't need to do volume optimisation on SSD and that it can even be harmful.

It seems odd that TTP requires the user to manually try and find a single large file to remove and hope it's contiguous in order to do volume rebuild. Why can't TTP work it out for me and defragment just enough free space to store the new Catalog B-Tree and Extents B-Tree?

It seems that if volume optimisation is not recommended for SSD, there will very often be significant fragmentation of free space, which severely limits the usefulness of TTP when a problem occurs and a volume rebuild is necessary.

Perhaps the TechTool Protection preference pane could periodically defragment a sufficiently large amount of contiguous free space for just this reason, so it's possible to do a volume rebuild when it becomes necessary?
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 00:11 #6231

If you have errors in a disk directory, the disk optimizer should not be run. If the disk directory is irreparably damaged, the volume should be backed up, erased, and restored from the backup. If you have an up-to-date backup made before the disk directory was damaged, that may have more files than a backup made from the damaged volume.

You cannot optimize an SSD or hybrid drive. The SSD portion has firmware that engages in wear-levleing, which attempts to even out the wear on the individual memory cells. No matter what a disk optimizer tells the drive to do, the firmware operates at a lower level, and does what the drive maker intended it to do.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 00:27 #6232

So what you're saying is that TTP's volume rebuild feature will often be useless for fixing directory errors on SSDs because SSDs will have significantly fragmented free space by design?

This should be mentioned before people buy. I only purchased TTP to try its directory rebuild feature as I am frequently getting directory errors that I am able to fix using Disk Utility only to have them recur a few weeks later.

I thought TTP might do a better job at fixing the problem for good, and wanted to try that before writing it off as a hardware fault and taking the machine in for service. But the advice seems to be to just wipe the whole disk and restore from a backup, which I don't need TTP for.

However, if I understand correctly, even with a file level restore (as opposed to block level), the SSD firmware would fragment the writes for wear levelling, and so I still won't be able to do a directory rebuild.

I'm not sure if a file level restore will effectively do a directory rebuild, or if it will restore the original Catalog B-Tree and Extents B-Tree which may have errors?
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 00:44 #6233

So far, I have not seen very many cases similar to yours.

If a disk directory is going to be rebuilt, it must be able to be written in such a way that two files, the Catalog B-Tree and the Extents B-Tree, can each be written in such a way that they are in one piece (called an "extent") each. The disk directory must be able to keep track of its own pieces. It is permissible for the Catalog B-Tree and the Extents B-Tree to become fragmented in use, but they must each be created in one piece.

The Catalog B-Tree keeps track of the first eight pieces of a file, and the Extents B-Tree keeps track of any additional pieces. Apple calls the Extents B-Tree the Extents Overflow File.

It is easy to visualize a file being in one piece on a conventional hard drive. In SSD memory, for a file to be in one piece means that it must be able to be described by specifying the starting block number and how many more blocks there are, to arrive at the block number for the last block. Because of wear leveling, files are often written to SDD memory in more pieces. It appears that when the SSD device is formatted, the initial disk directory files are able to be written in such a way that they are seen as being in one piece.


SSD drives should not be allowed to get too full. In such a situation, the disk directory may need to grow, and then it becomes fragmented.

To turn our attention to your problem, you should not be seeing repeated instances of Disk Utility repairing a directory error, and then having the same directory error arise again. Such a situation could be caused by having bad RAM, corrupted system software, or unremapped bad blocks on the drive. SSD memory cells can become defective, and the Surface Scan can check whether the blocks can be read, even though the name of the test might suggest that it is only for hard drives.

If you copy the files to another drive, and then reformat the SSD drive with Disk Utility, the SSD drive will have a new disk directory that records only itself and a few essential files needed by the operating system. If the files are then restored from the backup to the SSD drive, the new disk directory will be used be used to record the files.

It is not a bad thing to have to copy files from an SSD drive to another drive, reformat the SSD drive, and restore the files from a backup. A firm that makes a utility for Windows and Linux has some interesting comments about the nature of SSD drives:

From www.hdsentinel.com/compatibility_ssd.php :

About Solid State Disk Drive (SSD)

Solid state disks do not contain any moving parts. Because of this, they may tolerate physical vibrations and shock better than hard disks. But they have other kind of problems: write cycles wear the electronic parts so lots of delete and write operations may also damage them. Wear leveling feature can help in this situation but the problem is not fully eliminated.

Current SSD technology also has another problem: solid state disk drives may "forget" data with time. To prevent this, periodic complete overwrites can refresh the storage device - but because of its nature this also reduces the lifetime of the solid state disk.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
Last Edit: 22 Mar 2015 01:04 by micromattech3.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 00:55 #6234

What is the exact diagnosis that you get when you verify the volume with Disk Utility?
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 05:29 #6235

I already tried a surface scan which revealed no errors, and I did a memory test which also revealed no errors. I believe the memory test only tests a portion of the available memory though. Is there a way to do a more comprehensive memory test?

I don't recall the exact Disk Utility errors. I always reboot into recovery mode to run Disk Utility on the startup volume, and I haven't saved any of the logs. Something along the lines of missing nodes/blocks or incorrect number of nodes/blocks and wrong amount of free space. The common symptom leading up to a repair is Finder failing to show me any files in a directory, or a number of directories. Usually any directory that I haven't already/recently viewed. Or it shows me a list of files that is out of date. E.g. I copy a new file to the desktop and I can't see it there, but I can see it there in terminal.

The point remains though, if TPP's official advise is to format and restore from a backup, then what's the point of having TPP?

Especially with SSD volumes on most Macs these days, they're smaller and more likely to become filled up and are fragmented anyway due to the nature of SSD. If I can't use TPP to rebuild the volume and I have to do it manually by restoring from a backup, why did I buy TPP?

Its usefulness and ability to recover from failure (e.g. using the eDrive while away from home and away from a complete backup) seems to be severely limited if it requires contiguous free space that SSDs are likely not to have and TPP is not able to help in creating.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 05:50 #6236

Disk Warrior appears able to rebuild the directory successfully, correcting a bunch of errors. It did warn about not having enough contiguous free space, but gave me the option of directly overwriting the existing directory anyway (with a healthy dose of warnings about having a backup, and not interrupting the process.

Again, this highlights the limitations of TPP that I wish I had known about prior to purchase. Being able to rebuild the directory in an emergency and having TPP installed in an eDrive volume is the whole reason I bought it, and the fact that it just doesn't work with any SSD that has ever been close to significantly filled due to fragmentation and the fact that TPP can do nothing to help users create more contiguous free space makes it basically worthless.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 22 Mar 2015 11:33 #6237

As I mentioned before, I have seen very few cases similar to yours. Such cases tend to arise when an SSD drive is very full, and if you follow the threads at MacInTouch, you find that having an SSD drive very full is not a good practice.

The memory test in TechTool Pro can test memory that is not in use. No software-bassed memory tester can test the RAM that is in use by the operating system or the test program itself. To maximize the amount that can be tested, restart and hold down the Shift key, to perform a Safe Boot. This Apple Knowledge Base article describes what does not load in a Safe Boot:

support.apple.com/en-us/HT201262

Since you were able to use the RAM test and the Surface Scan, it is clear that TechTool Pro was not worthless in your case. You should save the results of the Surface Scan for future reference. If a later scan finds unmerited bad blocks, and the drive is still under warranty, you should be able to get it replaced.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
Last Edit: 22 Mar 2015 11:33 by micromattech3.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 16 Jun 2015 07:50 #6489

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I am another case of the same.

I have a 480GB SSD, 80 GB of free space. Errors are reported that could be fixed by Volume Rebuild, but Volume Rebuild doesn't have enough contiguous space, 80 GB!!!! (Contiguousness of free space is a non-sequitur on an SSD drive; optimising an SSD would profoundly shorten its life).
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 16 Jun 2015 07:54 #6490

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Also, I have 16GB of RAM, 14GB of which is free. Is it not conceivable to build the directory in RAM?
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 16 Jun 2015 10:28 #6491

The 80 GB of free space is not necessarily all in one piece in the sense that it can be specified by a single beginning and end block number. The Volume Optimization preview shows the largest piece of disk space that is both free and contiguous, which is labeled "largest".

The new directory must be able to be built in RAM, but it must also be able to be written to the volume in such a way that the Catalog B-Tree and the Extents B-Tree must each be able to be written in a single piece (extent). The disk space is too fragmented to permit that, and SSD drives put file extents in locations based on load leveling, so optimization will not work.

Please send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , including a link to this thread. You will receive a reply by email. Thank you.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 20 Jul 2015 06:56 #6564

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So, currently TechTool Pro 8 CANNOT REPAIR DIRECTORY CORRUPTION ON SSD DRIVES. Am I correct?
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 20 Jul 2015 10:20 #6565

The rebuilding of the disk directory requires free, contiguous disk space, as explained above. Please send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Thank you.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 20 Jul 2015 21:02 #6566

The correct interpretation of the "Insufficient workspace to continue" error message is that there is not enough free, contiguous disk space for the new directory, not that the Volume Rebuild tool cannot access more than 4 GB of RAM. Other read or write errors can cause the same error message to arise.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
Last Edit: 25 May 2016 21:10 by micromattech3.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 27 Jul 2016 14:21 #7363

I am yet another with the same case. There is plenty of free space--and yet, as you say, probably not enough contiguous free space on my SSD. I will take the blame for letting it get too full; I am a bad person, I suppose. And yet the solution is unclear. Do I clone the drive? is this only for hard drives, not SSD? I "copy the files" to another drive and reformat my drive? I suppose you mean I do a full backup, then copy just the files. Erase and reformat. Then move the files back onto the drive. Yes? Honestly: that's totally scary!!!

If the reformatting the drive can create new contiguous space--is there not any existing program that can as well, without reformatting? Thank you.
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 27 Jul 2016 14:37 #7364

The solution is the same whether the drive is an SSD drive or a regular hard drive. All of the files must be copied to another volume, using a program that copies files, not the Finder. Your description of the approach is correct, including the observation that it can be alarming. If you have enough drives, make an additional complete backup, just for peace of mind.

Reformatting the drive creates free, contiguous spaces because it eliminates all of the files, and then creates a new disk directory that records only itself.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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The following user(s) said Thank You: andrewgreer

Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 27 Jul 2016 14:39 #7365

Thank you! So for instance carbon copy cloner, or can I use TTP volume cloner
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 27 Jul 2016 14:50 #7366

You are welcome.

You can use our volume cloning tool, or Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper, ChronoSync, or another similar program. I suggest you use the one you usually use for making backups. Just make sure you clone all the files.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 25 Oct 2016 12:59 #7686

unfortunately pro tool didn't work for me either, same issue, couldn't repair, couldn't recover, I used disk worrier which worked and I was able to recover the data, no repair as well, but I was happy to recover my data and reformat the drive
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 25 Oct 2016 14:46 #7687

It is good to see that you were able to recover the data.

Alarming incidents like the one you just had are a good time to review your backup strategy.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 01 Mar 2017 17:08 #8095

This is a problem I have been having on a MacBook Pro running 10.11.6 with TTProToGo 8 on a flash drive. I was glad to find this issue hear and thank micromattech3 for the thoroughness of his reply, I learned a lot about my hardware, hence future considerations. Thanks! :)
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 01 Mar 2017 17:42 #8096

You are welcome, and thanks for letting us know that you found the thread helpful.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 08 Aug 2017 02:47 #8490

Would a Time Machine Backup suffice for a complete restore, if I wipe the hard drive clean?
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Volume Rebuild Failed - Insufficient Work Space error 08 Aug 2017 05:17 #8491

If you can boot from a Recovery HD volume, and then erase just the volume that has an irreparable disk directory error, you can boot from the Recovery HD volume, download the system software from Apple, and then allow the new system software installation to import applications, users, and user files from the Time Machine backup. You can also use a clone made by Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper in place of the Time Machine backup.

If you cannot boot from a Recovery HD volume, and you have an OS X installer that you have downloaded, you can use Disk Utility to erase the affected volume, then run the OS Installer to reinstall the system software. After the reinstallation is complete, boot from the new system software installation, and then import applications, users, and user files from a Time Machine backup or a clone made by Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper in place of the Time Machine backup.
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool
Last Edit: 08 Aug 2017 05:28 by micromattech3.
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