File-fixing tools to improve uptime in Windows 8

Windows 8 will feature new health checks for files in a bid to improve uptime, according to Microsoft.

File-fixing tools to improve uptime in Windows 8

The company said in a blog post that it had made improvements to the disk checking utility chkdsk as well as introducing an updated NTFS health model.

“In Windows 8, we’ve changed the way we approach the health model of NTFS and changed the way we fix corruptions so as to minimise the downtime due to chkdsk,” said Kiran Bangalore, senior program manager for Windows Core Storage and File Systems, in a blog post on the subject.

According to the company, the move should dramatically shorten the time chkdsk spends fixing problems found with corrupt disk space because the NTFS health model will be able to focus on individual errors instead of, as previously, treating the whole disk as a problem area, which could take hours to scan and fix.

With this new model, chkdsk offline run time is now directly proportional to the number of corruptions

Microsoft said more problems could be resolved or “self-healed” with the machine up and running, instead of being taken offline to fix corrupt files or disk errors, while a pre-fix vetting system would run behind the scenes to identify corruptions.

“At the user or administrator’s convenience, the volume can be taken offline, and the corruptions logged… can be fixed,” Banglaore said.

“The downtime from this operation, called ‘Spotfix,’ takes only seconds. With this new model, chkdsk offline run time is now directly proportional to the number of corruptions, rather than being proportional to the number of files as in the old model.”

Four-stage process

Microsoft said the changes were driven by the growing capacity of hard disks and external storage that meant the previous models for spotting and fixing disk issues would take too long.

The process will be broken into four stages, depending on results, with a healthy machine requiring no action, and online verifications and scan running in the background if problems are spotted, with a spot-fix the final stage of returning the PC to a healthy state.

“The file system puts the volume in this state after the online scan is completed, if required, and this state is reflected in the Action Center,” Bangalore said.

“On client systems, you can restart the PC to fix all the file system issues logged in the previous step. The restart is quick (adding just a few additional seconds) and the PC is returned to a healthy state. For Windows Server 8 systems, a restart is unnecessary to fix corruptions on data volumes.”

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