Error while mounting external disk (NTFS is either inconsistent … $MFTMirr does not match $MFT)

I encountered a cryptic error message while trying to mount a disk under Fedora (39) using the desktop file manager.

I went to the shell command to mount manually and hoping to get more information using

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /run/media/cokelaer/ext

and indeed, I got more information:

$MFTMirr does not match $MFT (record 0).
Failed to mount '/dev/sda1': Input/output error
NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it's a
SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware. In the first case run chkdsk /f on Windows
then reboot into Windows twice. The usage of the /f parameter is very
important! If the device is a SoftRAID/FakeRAID then first activate
it and mount a different device under the /dev/mapper/ directory, (e.g.
/dev/mapper/nvidia_eahaabcc1). Please see the 'dmraid' documentation

Let’s break down the error message. This message suggests that there may be an issue with the NTFS file system on the disk. It mentions potential causes such as inconsistency, hardware faults, or SoftRAID/FakeRAID configurations. It even provides guidance for Windows users to run chkdsk /f and reboot into Windows twice.

In my case, which may not work for all issues, I used thr ntfsfix utility installed on Fedora. The ntfsfix command is indeed specifically designed to fix common NTFS problems. Running

sudo ntfsfix /dev/sda1

yielded promising results, with the tool successfully processing the NTFS partition and fixing any errors detected.

Mounting volume... $MFTMirr does not match $MFT (record 0).
Attempting to correct errors...
Processing $MFT and $MFTMirr...
Reading $MFT... OK
Reading $MFTMirr... OK
Comparing $MFTMirr to $MFT... FAILED
Correcting differences in $MFTMirr record 0...OK
Processing of $MFT and $MFTMirr completed successfully.
Setting required flags on partition... OK
Going to empty the journal ($LogFile)... OK
Checking the alternate boot sector... OK
NTFS volume version is 3.1.
NTFS partition /dev/sda1 was processed successfully.

Finally, I reconnected the disk (I unplugged the external disk and plugged it back in). Much to my relief, I was able to access the disk as normal, indicating that the issue had been resolved.

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