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NTFS differences WinXP vs Win2K


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:09 PM

I had 3 computers - a Dell380 desktop w/ WinXP Pro, a Thinkpad X41 Tablet running WinXP Tablet and an older Sony VAIO GRX 600 laptop running Win2K Prof - that all had multiple duplicate files in different folders, files with the same name in which the earlier version might actually be the most complete and some different files with the same name for reasons I won't go into but that involve RL not being kind and PC's not actually working [bleeping pc's]. I needed a program that would compare files and not just file names and modified dates in order to weed out the duplicates and separate different files with the same name to create some computer order and free up wasted space. I was using Foldermatch [I think that's the program] to compare files across the network. I also compared files between the Sony and a WD ext HD used to back up the Sony's files and that I had formatted to NTFS from the Sony .
I couldn't afford the expensive $800 dollar business file comparison software but Foldermatch seemed to work great.
Sometime after I did that work I opened a Word doc and found that it was corrupted - instead of its original contents it contained a series of "Y"'s' with two little dots on top. Since then corrupted docs have shown up randomly on all of the computers and the WD ext HD I was working on. Fortunately, thus far I have had a copy of the all the corrupted docs I've found either on a CD or another computer. The corrupted doc shows the same file size as the non-corrupted doc in Explorer - I don't know its corrupted until I open it . I also found corrupted text docs - they show a file size in Explorer but when opened appear empty.
I can't be certain the corruption occurred while using Foldermatch, but it was all I could think of. I never had these corrupted docs until I used Foldermatch although I had transferred docs between the Sony and Dell and the Tablet before frequently. There has never been any evidence of a viral infection w/ repeated viral updates and scans over time. Someone suggested that the differences between the NTFS versions in WinXP and Win2K might have contributed to the problem. I also used Supercat on all the different drives across the network to create catalogs of the folder contents, but since Supercat just gives the file name, size and modified dates it seemed less likely to have caused the problem than a program that actually compares files and let me go into the files to see any differences found.
I was Googling "Word doc file corruption" and "NTFS and file corruption" and "Foldermatch and file corruption" when RL clobbered me again a few times - which is why I'm not 100% sure Foldermatch was the name of the program I was using.
I've finally once again got my desktop set up and networked with the tablet - the Sony [bleeping computer] currently only boots into Safe Mode and it has to stand in line for troubleshooting. I'd like to start cleaning up the duplicates but I don't want to corrupt any more files. I now also need a program to locate any remaining corrupted Word and text docs that I haven't found yet.
If different versions of NTFS did contribute to the file corruption, I'm wondering about possible problems using an ext HD for more than one computer. I back up the Dell and Tablet to an LaCie ext HD - different partitions but I formatted and partitioned the LaCie on the Tablet. I have no idea if they have the same NTFS versions.

Has anyone encountered this type of file corruption? Has anyone encountered problems with Foldermatch and/or Supercat or used them between networked drives w/ different formats w/out any problem? Any ideas on another cause for the corrupted Word and text docs? I did consider if the corrupted docs came from transferring from a CD but the pattern of affected files just doesn't match. HD problems seem unlikely - 4 different HD's all developing problems resulting in the same pattern of corrupted docs at the same time - and the pattern doesn't fit the files being transferred from one HD w/ problems.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

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#2 alan12345

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:36 AM

It would be far better to use a MD5 hash checksum on the files and compare the results.

Then you would not need to open with Word.

More importantly, Word will ONLY indicate some possible corruption, but some it will ignore.
(It may interpret to give the same visual display.)

Notepad can "Save As" in various formats, i.e. ANSI, UNICODE, etc.
Notepad will display the same, but other text editors may behave differently.

A hash checksum comparison is a good way to be sure if two files are the same.

I know nothing about different flavours of NTFS,
but I never have problems copying a file from FAT32 to NTFS,
and copying it back from NTFS to FAT32 is always perfect.
The only glitch I have seen is copying to FAT32 partition from a NTFS partition with Alternate Dada Streams.

Alan

#3 Andrew

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 10:56 AM

I have never, ever had any problems transferring files between systems using versions of NTFS. NTFS is one of the things that Microsoft has done well in. Files and partitions created with a newer version of NTFS are (AFAIK) 100% backwards compatible with systems running older versions.

If you're using anything but an NTFS formatted external drive then all NTFS-specific attributes and metadata is transparently stripped while copying. This is normal and expected. So, if they were transferred via CD/DVD or over the network then NTFS is not the culprit. And, based on the fact that NTFS is backwards compatible with itself, I'd pretty much rule out NTFS altogether (barring filesystem corruption, of course; run chkdsk to be sure)

The best duplicate file finder program I've found is called, appropriately, Duplicate File Finder. Another program that may be helpful is called Directory Toolkit. Duplicate File Finder is free, whereas Directory Toolkit is not.

#4 MaryBet82

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 07:43 PM

Thanks to alan1234 & Amazing Andrew.
I don't know how to do an MD5 hash checksum, but I expect some program will do it for me.
I seem to remember that Word itself had some doc comparison function that I tried out but didn't use.
I don't think I described how Foldermatch worked. You opened the program and then chose two folders to compare. Foldermatch scanned the folders using its file comparison algorithms then you got two side by side panes listing the files in each folder. Word docs that were the same both by attributes and internal checking were green, those that were the same internally but had different attributes were another color and those that didn't match were a third color. I guess orphans were a fourth color.You could click on one of the Word docs listed as different from its counterpart in the other folder and the two docs would open in the side by side panes and you could scroll down and see where they differed. All the comparisons were done within the program.
It's a neat little program and may well be totally innocent of any involvement in my randomly corrupted files problem. What I need to do now is make some test folders with copies of .doc's and .txt's on the two currently networked computers and run Foldermatch on those folders periodically and see if I get any corrupted files. If the problem has nothing to do w/ Foldermatch I certainly want to use it again.
I've recently wondered if some of the files I was comparing were compressed [by Window's Clean Disk function] and if that was a problem. That's led me to wonder if you can uncompress a file Window's compresses. There's no Rclick option. I think I read the answer to that years ago and I think it's no.
I've noticed on opening compressed notepad files from within notepad that the compressed files are often unreadable - either w/ widely spaced characters or just rows of little boxes. If I open the same file by double-clicking it it's fine. The file appears damaged but it's not. That may be a Windows-Doesn't-Manage-Memory-Well problem because it seems to happen after I've opened/closed several files within Notepad. There were damaged Word and text docs scattered over my computers, tho. I kept some in folders on each computer and doubleclicking them I still get all those y characters.

All my internal and external HD's where data files, OS & program files are stored are formatted NTFS, formatted either by Win2K or WinXP. I've always run chckdsk regularly [weekly and anytime Windows starts or shuts down "funny"], run defrag analyzer regularly and defrag when recommended. There's been adequate free space on all HDs. Utilities have never ID'd a problem w/ a HD, but I can't say I have great confidence in that area. The switch from FAT to NTFs meant new utilities had to be developed. By now they should have some, but I haven't had time to read in that area. But the pattern of damaged files didn't fit their originating from one HD. If that is the problem then the Sony is the most likely culprit.
I've never had any problem transferring from one computer to the another over my little LAN either. I've never had any problem transferring from one computer to another using a USB flash drive or from a backup CD, although I don't do either regularly.[Since NTFS has those data streams I figure I ought to try and keep them attached to the files until I figure out what to do with them] It does seem that fonts either backed up to CD or on purchased CDs tend to become damaged relatively quickly over time, so I just back them up to all my HDs.
I'm relieved to know that I don't have to worry about the different versions of NTFS. I'll check out the two programs recommended. If I have a day that I feel less brain dead I'll read up on MD5 hash checksum.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#5 Andrew

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 09:09 PM

MD5 Context Menu adds an option to compute the MD5 hash of any file you right-click on.




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