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  1. #1
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    Windows reporting healthy drive as faulty

    Some weeks ago Windows produced a message that my D:/ drive corrupt and unusable and suggested running chkdsk - which I did at the next boot and it reported no errors. However, at every subsequent boot I get the same message "The file system structure is corrupt and unusable. Please run the chkdsk utility on volume D:"
    D: is my data partition on a second HD and I have run chkdsk several times and Windows checks it at every boot and on every occasion no errors are found.
    Is there somewhere perhaps in the registry that the incorrect information about this drive is stored and that can be corrected? It makes no difference to the running of the PC but it is annoying and, of course, it slows down the booting process.

    The information given on the Event Viewer is not really helpful. Source: ntfs Type: Error Category: Disk

    Any advice would be welcome.

    XP Pro SP3

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    Does your disk support SMART monitoring? (It may be necessary to enable it in the BIOS and run for a while to get best reporting).

    If it does and is already enabled, you could use a SMART monitoring tool to check the reported performance. I think SIW may support SMART reporting, if not, Speedfan does.

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    It is enabled and Speedfan finds it has no errors.
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    Sorry if it sounds obvious, but did you run chkdsk /f?

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    If the chkdsk /f doesn't resolve it and autochck is still running at each boot, it sounds like the dirty bit is stuck for some reason. In a command prompt window, you could run "fsutil dirty query d:" without the quotes {note the colon after your drive letter}. The status of the dirty bit will be reported - I expect it will be set.

    If you are sure the drive is good you might prevent the autochck being triggered by a stuck dirty bit. This WinITPro article has the detail.

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    yes chkdsk /f

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    Tinto Tech Thank you

    The fsutil dirty query d: did not produce any result. Presumably because there was nothing to report.

    I followed the instruction from the WinITPro article and on rebooting I no longer have the tedious checking of the normal D: drive.

    I would have been happier to have found where Windows was receiving this incorrect information and correcting that but this is a satisfactory workaround.

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    Follow up.
    I did not watch the boot process this morning but checked Event Viewer to make sure that the problem was solved. Unfortunately, the "corrupt and unusable" error was still recorded. I looked up the change I had made in the Registry and noticed firstly, that I had missed the space at the end between the drive letter and * and, secondly a new line had been added below - auto_reactivate \\?\Volume{D77270E1-9AEF-11DE-85B4-806D6172696F}\bootwiz\asrm.bin .

    I entered the missing space and saved and removed the new line. On booting nothing came up on the screen but the same error is reported in the Event Viewer so Windows must still be checking all drives. On reviewing the Registry entry the second line has not reappeared.

    I ran the fsutil dirty query again - in a Command Prompt this time! - and the answer was D is dirty.

    On reflection this workaround is not that satisfactory. There must be a place where the (incorrect) report about the file structure on drive D: is recorded and this needs to be altered to stop the unnecessary drive scanning and error reporting.

  9. #9
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    I believe the dirty bit is stored in firmware on the drive itself.

    If that is correct - please somebody, correct me if that's not right - the fault lies in the drive and although the workaround prevents autochck running at start-up, it is as you say, a rather unsatisfactory patch.

    Assuming the dirty bit is set in firmware, then consider if the drive is bad despite SMART reporting it clean, or if it has a firmware corruption.

    One way to test would be to drop the suspect drive into a second machine which is currently running clean. If autochck is triggered on that machine, you know the dirty bit is in firmware on the suspect drive. At that point I think it time to either swap out the drive or use the patch and hope for no further issues ont eh drive.

    Of course, all the above observations fall by the wayside if it can be shown that the dirty bit is held within the Windows registry and not in firmware.

    Hope that helps...

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    Dropping into another machine - well I'm not keen on that. I am certain that there is no fault in the drive. It has been scanned (with/f) dozens of times by CheckDisk, Speedfan reported that SMART was error-free as did HD Tune. In addition I have done surface scans with HD Tune and MiniTool Partition Wizard and they both report no bad blocks. I will have to put up with the repeated error reports until someone comes up with the site where this erroneous information is stored.
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    Ken, I believe the trigger for your error is stored in the firmware of the drive - the so called "Dirty Bit". Running autochk at boot is designed to clear it. If it is not being cleared by running the autochk then the drive has developed a fault, despite the surface scan reporting no errors etc.

    Applying the patch does not clear the error in the firmware of the drive, it tells Windows to ignore it and prevents a reoccurring autochk at boot up.

    The other thing you could do is visit the Western Digital site to see if they have a diagnostic tool that will confirm the behaviour of the dirty bit.

  12. #12
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    I have done two further things. The first was when viewing the error in Event Viewer to follow the suggestion of checking with MS support. Their suggestion for dirty disks was to run 'chkdsk /r' to repair the disk. I did this on the next reboot and it reported nothing but the error is still in Event Viewer.
    I then follow the suggested line and downloaded and ran 'WD Data Lifeguard' on the drive. It reported that SMART was correct and then did an extended check and reported no errors.
    I remain convinced that this disk is healthy. I have been using it as my Data disk for over a month since the first error was reported and four different diagnostic programs have now passed it as healthy - as does Windows Disk Management, Unless someone can come up with a way of tracing where this false report comes from I am reluctant to pursue the matter.
    Thank you for your advice.

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