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    2 Star Lounger miladytn's Avatar
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    Corrupt FAT files (XP)

    A long distance friend of mine asked me for help. I have no details other than the following. The message they see says the FAT files are corrupt. I don't know if they have tried to restore or not. What could be the problem and where would a person start fixing such things. Thanks for your help!

    When the computer is first turned on, there's an error message that says these files are corrupted, and then proceeds to scan the files. When it gets done, it just sits there, with all keys locked. The only way to proceed is to turn the computer off and back on and then hit escape when that message comes up.

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    Re: Corrupt FAT files (XP)

    If it still possible to boot to Windows, click Start | Run, type CHKDSK /R and hit Enter. When it will prompt you to run on the next boot, click Yes and restart your computer. Wait for CHKDSK to run through procedure (a half of an hour or so).

    If it is impossible to boot to Windows or previous operation hung on indefinitely, the only way is to insert Windows Installation CD (does your friend have one?), restart the computer, choose "Boot from CD" option and select "Repair". If your friend never has Windows installation CD (Windows was pre-installed), try to contact computer manufacturer.

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    2 Star Lounger miladytn's Avatar
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    Re: Corrupt FAT files (XP)

    Thanks for your help!! I will pass it on and hope for the best. I know this is probably a question with endless answers, but any idea what would cause the FAT files to be corrupted?

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    Re: Corrupt FAT files (XP)

    There are "endless answers", indeed.

    To make long story short, I can tell that FAT (File Allocation Table) file system contains files in chunks (clusters) and the table with "addresses" of all chunks. When Windows use a file, it "reads" it using these addresses and immediately "writes" the file into another place on the hard drive, adding new addresses and replacing the old ones. That's why it is recommended to run checkdisk and defrag regularly (say, once a week) when you use FAT (FAT32) file system. The most common cause of corruption is lost file "address" in allocation table: the file is still physically present but Windows could not "find" it.

    Another file system, NTFS (New Technology File System), is more stable from this point of view. It is more secure also - files in NTFS file system cannot be easily accessed from, say, bootable DOS floppy (but many people consider this as disadvantage). You can easily convert from FAT32 to NTFS under Windows (but not the opposite!).
    See NTFS vs. FAT: Which Is Right for You? for more information.

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    2 Star Lounger miladytn's Avatar
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    Re: Corrupt FAT files (XP)

    Thank you very much! That is very informative. You folks are the greatest. <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23>

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