Corrupted data - Suggest a course of action

  1.    17 Apr 2018 #1

    Corrupted data - Suggest a course of action


    I have one customer whose boot drive gets corrupted every once a month. I am pulling my hair out because I don't know why this is happening. The computer is fairly new, ASUS mainboard, one 8GB stick of DDR4 RAM, 1TB hard disk, GeForce card, etc.

    The drive is partitioned using the mbr scheme with two partitions:
    1. 100GB system and applications partition (roughly 60-70 GB free).
    2. Remaining space for personal data (user files, desktop, downloads, etc)

    The funny thing is that personal data partition is always ok but system partition (c:) gets badly corrupted once every month or so. There seems to be no viruses or malware around. But if doing a chkdsk on system ntfs partition, it will display a plethora of issues, corrupted indexes, lost clusters, etc.
    Hopefully I can restore the latest Macrium Reflect Image fast, but every frigging month is the same.

    At first I thought the hard disk was failing, but after checking SMART attributes, everything seems ok.
    I also thought the memory stick could be faulty, but if so, why is affecting C: partition only and why ONCE A MONTH?

    I have changed memory stick from slot 0 to 1. It seems to make no difference whatsoever.

    I have never seen anything like this.

    Any ideas? BIOS is UEFI, maybe I should try repartitioning the disk to GPT format.

    Help me please.
    Last edited by eLPuSHeR; 17 Apr 2018 at 02:39.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. slicendice's Avatar
    Posts : 3,805
    Windows 10 Pro x64 v1809 Build 17763.288 (Branch: RS5 Release Preview)
       17 Apr 2018 #2

    First of all, a 50GB system drive is rather small, unless all user profile data is moved to another partition and ALL apps/games are installed on another partition.

    Switching to MBR partition scheme will make absolutely no difference at all.

    • Does the owner of this computer play games?
    • If so, does the whole system crash every once in a while?
    • Does the computer overheat?
    • Is Fast Startup enabled or disabled?
    • What Antivirus/Antimalware software are used?

    First answer these questions, then we can take a closer look at what could be the root cause of this issue?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    17 Apr 2018 #3


    To answer your questions:

    - Shame on me. The system partition is 100GB in size (not 50GB as stated above)(roughly 60-70GB free).
    - There are no games on this system. There are only a limited set of apps installed too. Only thing needed is display some pictures (w10 default picture viewer) and use some LibreOffice documents and spreadsheets. This is a work computer.
    - No crashes that I am aware of but I will check Reliability history as soon as I can.
    - I am not aware of pc overheating. I opened the case yesterday. Everything was quite clean and the fans seem to be in good working order. I had to check on that too, if possible.
    - Fast startup and hibernation (powercfg -h off) are both disabled.
    - We are just using Windows Defender and nothing else.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    17 Apr 2018 #4

    I am waiting for your suggestions but in the interim one thing crossed my mind.

    Would it be a good idea to disable AHCI mode in BIOS and set it to standard IDE (with standard driver) to check for compatibility (there are no SSDs here)? Or should I wait and do other things first?
    Right now, pc is running in AHCI mode with Intel's chipset driver.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. slicendice's Avatar
    Posts : 3,805
    Windows 10 Pro x64 v1809 Build 17763.288 (Branch: RS5 Release Preview)
       17 Apr 2018 #5

    I think, first thing to do, is to analyze the users usage patterns. If the user does only run the computer for an hour every now and then, it could be that it falls so far behind in it's maintenance operations that it causes Defender and other update processes to run on overdrive, thus creating configuration and other conflicts that causes these errors.

    While you have the physical computer available, fix the HDD errors, and any application and system errors, and finally make new view in Event Viewer that only shows error events from the time just before your planned reboot, and then reboot the system.

    After Reboot, check for any event errors and try to fix those. Finally update every single piece of Windows component, starting from Store, then Defender and finally anything that comes from Windows Update. Once this is done, update your event viewer to reflect the next planned reboot time, and reboot system either by pressing reboot in WU or by manual reboot. Once system is up and running again, check Event Viewer for any Errors (this will take some time to show up, so give it an hour, at least).

    Finally do a FULL disk cleanup for drive C. (Right-click C-drive, under General tab select Disk Cleanup, and finally press the Cleanup System Files -button and tick all boxes, except for logs (and maybe Drivers). The rest needs to be cleaned up for reliable operation in the future.

    Windows needs time to do it's maintenance operations. Things that take time are, File System optimizations, .NET-based application optimizations, Store-, Defender- and Windows Update- updates. If you only power on Windows for 1h, once a week, it is very likely and almost guaranteed you end up in a corrupted system. (Has happened to me multiple times in VMs I run seldom)
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    17 Apr 2018 #6

    I think the pc is used several hours a day. It's in a business enviroment (real state agency or whatever these are called).
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7. z3r010's Avatar
    Posts : 7,390
    Windows 10 Workstation x64
       17 Apr 2018 #7

    I spotted this as you first posted and if it was me, I think I'd bite the bullet and replace the drive and fully reload - tracking down something like this can take forever, so definitely ruling out the obvious parts is a good start.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    17 Apr 2018 #8

    Goto the disk makers site as they will have a free test for their drives. Make sure the user is shutting down properleyjust turning it off will cause the problem
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Posts : 22,693
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       17 Apr 2018 #9

    If the customer is not ready to replace the drive you can:
    1) run the beta log collector on the bottom of this web page (not the DM log collector):
    BSOD - Posting Instructions - Windows 10 Forums
    (extract > open) > post a zip into the thread

    2) Use diskpart > label the hidden partition with a drive letter > run administrative command prompt
    chkdsk /x /f /r on the hidden partition
    3) run administrative command prompt chkdsk /x /f /r C:

    C:\Windows\system32>chkdsk /x /f /r
    The type of the file system is NTFS.
    Cannot lock current drive.

    Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
    process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be
    checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

    Type: Y
    This may take many hours so plan to run overnight.

    4) Use the information in this link to find the chkdsk reports in the event viewer > copy and paste > notepad > post one drive or drop box share links into the thread
    Read Chkdsk Log in Event Viewer in Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials

    5) Run Sea Tools for Windows > long generic test on the drive > post results into the thead

    6) Run HD Tune:
    Post image results into the thread for the tests on these tabs:
    a) Health (SMART)
    b) Benchmark
    c) Full error scan

    It would be nice to find an abnormal test result to rule in / rule out drive problems. Unfortunately the testing is not all inclusive. Only hardware problems can be tested. If there are logical problems it may be the recurrent drive problems that indicate problems.

    7) If all of the above fail to diagnose or fix the drive problems then you can perform the following steps:
    a) Make an up to date Macrium image (not a clone) and save the image onto another drive or to the cloud
    b) Back up all files to another drive or to the cloud
    c) Sanitize the drive (over write) ( the method used will be different for HD versus SSD)
    d) Reinstall Windows 10 and restore the image or the files

    These last steps should eliminate any residual drive file problems.
    If there are no longer any problems then continue using the drive.
    If there are repetitive problems after drive sanitization then replace the drive.
    Last edited by zbook; 17 Apr 2018 at 22:00.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    18 Apr 2018 #10

    Thanks for your replies. I will do some tests on the drive when I can. If the drive is failing intermittently, it could be a nightmare to diagonose. I think the customer isn't against changing the drive for another one (I could even try convincing her to get an SSD).
    I will post back as soon as I do some tests and have some reports.

    Best regards.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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