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I have a Macbook Pro 15″ Early 2011. Last year I changed the disk to put a new Samsung SSD (Evo). Recently my computer was really slow. I rebooted on the recovery partition, and tested my disk with Disk Utility. It showed a lot of "orphaned inodes".

After a clean install and a few weeks, I had the same problem. So I started thinking the SSD was failing. After another few weeks, I couldn't even boot (prohibitory sign at bootup).

I sent it to Samsung as it was still under warranty. They apparently tested it, and saw no problem at all. They formatted it again and flashed it with the last firmware.

I received it two days ago, did a clean install, and today if I run Disk Utility, I still have these orphaned inodes.

What can I do? Is the SSD failing, or can it be some other part of my computer?

  • Do you have the Trim enabled ? – Ruskes Feb 6 '15 at 16:50
  • Yes, I enabled the TRIM with cindori.org/software/trimenabler – Noé Malzieu Feb 6 '15 at 17:19
  • This is not a bug, it's the journaling clearing up a normal situation. An "orphaned" inode in this context is one which has been explicitly deleted, but which was still open by some process when it was deleted. The file vanishes completely from the directory structure, but normal Unix semantics require it to remain present on disk until the last user of that file closes it. At that point, the inode itself (as opposed to the directory entries pointing to it) is deleted, and the disk space used by the file is cleaned up. – Ruskes Feb 6 '15 at 17:39
  • In Terminal run "df -hi" to get a report on inodes. – Ruskes Feb 6 '15 at 17:59
  • I see, but if it is the normal journaling situation, should Disk Utility say "The disk SSD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired"? And when my computer did not boot, the number or "Orphaned file inode" repaired by the disk utility was a lot more than usual … – Noé Malzieu Feb 6 '15 at 21:10
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Orphaned inodes, are common, but they do normally get cleaned, latest after a restart.

This is not a bug, it's the journaling clearing up a normal situation. An "orphaned" inode in this context is one which has been explicitly deleted, but which was still open by some process when it was deleted. The file vanishes completely from the directory structure, but normal Unix semantics require it to remain present on disk until the last user of that file closes it. At that point, the inode itself (as opposed to the directory entries pointing to it) is deleted, and the disk space used by the file is cleaned up.

In you case you use a application that does not release them (even if marked as deleted).

You could close apps to check, or use a terminal

sudo iosnoop

Type Password and wait and observe.

Look for who is still writing to the SSD.

  • Thank you @Buscar웃 ! Should I do that right after a restart ? I get lots of results, from launchd to locationd , but nothing seems out of the ordinary. – Noé Malzieu Feb 6 '15 at 21:48
  • To exclude some 3d party app doing it, restart in safe mode then check for the orphans. – Ruskes Feb 6 '15 at 21:51
  • it looks like the problem was actually a bug in my shell: Fish shell (github.com/fish-shell/fish-shell/issues/1859) – Noé Malzieu Feb 6 '15 at 22:24
  • But I wonder: if the problem was fish shell, did my computer going really slow and eventually not booting have anything to do with this ? Can an accumulation of orphaned inodes cause the disk to be corrupt ? Thanks again @Buscar웃 – Noé Malzieu Feb 6 '15 at 22:25
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First reset the SMC:

Shut down the computer. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time. Press the power button to turn on the computer. Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC. This much came from Apple's SMC reset insructions for you model: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295.

Next, try the four-finger salute. The technical name for that maneuver is "resetting the NVRAM". To try it, be sure the computer is completely shut down, then disconnect everything from the computer except power cable.

Press the power button to start the computer and immediately hold down all of the following 4 keys as quickly as you can: command, option, P, and R (the maneuver used to be called "resetting parameter ram", hence the p and r). You may need both hands on the keyboard until you¹ve done it closer to as many times as I have.

Keep those keys down until you hear the startup chime at least 3 times. It could take a minute or so, depending on the machine. The screen usually lights and goes dark again between chimes.

When you’ve heard enough chimes, wait for one more. As soon as you hear it, release the keys and instantly press and hold shift. As soon as the Apple appears, let go of the shift key. That puts it in safe boot mode which also runs a file system check. If booting is still a problem, another clean install for OS X may be needed, and faulty hardware is still suspect.

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