Thursday, 21 November 2013

Minimizing NTFS Corruption In C: Drive

A "WinLogon" Event After A CHKDSK Has Been Performed Upon Rebooting

Nothing terrifies me more than to receive a message from the Windows XP operating system telling me that one of my disks needs to be checked for consistency upon booting up. I have received no less than 4 of these messages this year alone, and it always happens on the C: drive. Files and/or directories will get deleted everytime when this happens. To restore the deleted files from my backup, I will first have to look in the corresponding "WinLogon" event in Event Viewer. The list of deleted files/directories are all there. I have been lucky so far as only noncritical files were deleted - Windows is still bootable in all cases. I always do a graceful shutdown of Windows before turning off the power to my computer. So this is something that should not be happening.

But after moving my Opera web browser's temporary and cache files to another drive (a FAT32 D: drive in my case), my C: drive appears to have become more stable. Windows has not done a consistency check (i.e. CHKDSK) during a reboot since. Performing a manual read-only CHKDSK from the "Command Prompt" seems to indicate a healthy C: and D: drive too. And I do this quite regularly - me just being paranoid. I chose a FAT32 file system over NTFS for the D: drive because a FAT32 file system is less advanced and complex in design. To me, less-advanced-and-complex means less problems.

Just to have some extra peace of mind, I have since set the TMP and TEMP environment variables to the D: drive too. It was set to the C: drive previously - i.e. Windows default. The less write operation on the C: drive, the better I think. Temporary files are created in the TMP and TEMP directories when Windows is runnning, by the way.

I have another desktop PC downstairs, also running the Windows XP operating system, but it does not have this NTFS file system corruption problem on any drives. The only difference between the 2 computers, apart from the processor speed and motherboard, is that the PC downstairs has a Western Digital hard disk installed, while I have a Samsung HD502HJ. I could not find any upgrades to the device drivers or firmware (there was one but it is not relevant to me) for this Samsung hard disk. I now wonder if there should be one?

The instructions for setting the environment variables and web browser's temporary and cache files can be found here. My paging file is still on the C: drive by the way. It does not seem to be causing any problem. But if and when it does, I will just move it to another drive too.

Update 30th December 2013
My C: drive got corrupted again on 27th December 2013. I believe this is caused by Picasa Desktop since I have used it the day before (about the only thing that I did different), after having not launch it for quite sometime. So the only thing to do is to uninstall Picasa Desktop and move it into Oracle VM Virtualbox.

Update 25th March 2015
I actually had a few more cases of corrupted C: drive since the last update above. But I think I have managed to narrow down the cause to 2 things: putting Windows XP in "Stand By" mode (since I use my PC as a video recorder; I use "Hibernate" mode now), and perhaps having too many applications running at the same time with my limited 1GB RAM (can't be help sometimes as my Anti-Virus software Avira just pops up suddenly to do an update while I already have a couple of applications running). All in all, the health of the C: drive is certainly much better than a couple of months ago.


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