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Win 8 messes up Win 7/XP data files

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#1 davnel


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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:10 AM

This is NOT a request for help, but more along the lines of a guide.


OK, here's the situation:



Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H rev1.1 mobo

Intel i7-3770 (not -K) CPU

32GB Kingston Black 1600 RAM

Antec EA650 PSU

Antec Easy-SATA disk adapter for boot disk


The problem:

I have several different boot disks that can be plugged into the Antec adapter, allowing me to change OSs easily. My data disk (D) is also in an Antec adapter, so that can be changed too. The data disk is formatted in NTFS by Win 7.


I started with a fresh disk, and clean installed Win 8.0 when it came out. This was done with the data disk unplugged. I then switched back to the win 7 disk, rebooted, and got on with business as usual. No problems with the Win 8 installation, BTW.


A few weeks later I started playing with Win 8. I plugged in the Win 8 disk, leaving the data disk in, and rebooted to start Win 8. I allowed some updates then started the process of integrating the data files on D into Win 8. When this was complete, I shut down and switched the boot disk back to Win 7 to get some work done.


Upon restart of Win 7, chkdsk went nuts trying to "fix" the data disk. After about 200,000 errors, I finally gave up and rebuilt the disk. ARGGHHH!


It turns out I did some things wrong - NONE of which were pointed out by Microsoft - ANYWHERE. First, I did a clean install of Win 8. In and of itself this is not a problem. It only becomes a problem if Win 7 or XP needs access to the data disk. Seems that, natively, Win 8 uses an "improved" file system called ReFS - a serious modification of NTFS. Once ReFS gets hold of  an NTFS data file, it, silently, in the background, "corrects" the file. Win 7 looks upon ReFS formatted files as being severely broken and goes crazy trying to repair them. (Visions of the little cleanup bot in Wall-e)


After this fiasco, I did a Google search on "win 8 corrupts win 7 data files". Lotsa good hits. Tom's Hardware and TechNet also have good articles.


The recommendations boil down to the following:

Basically the best approach, if you need to share files between Win 8 and Win 7/XP, is to install Win 8 AS AN UPGRADE to an existing, running Win 7 installation. For some reason, this seems to turn off ReFS and leaves NTFS intact. No further problems. This applies to single installs, like mine, and to dual-boot setups also.


I have one boot disk that had a running Win 7 setup on it. As an experiment, I repartitioned it so I had 200GB available after the Win 7 partition, did a custom (clean) install of Win 8 in that partition from a USB stick I built, and ended up with a good dual-boot disk. No problems with data files on D. Apparently you only have to start with a disk containing Win 7 (or XP) in the boot partition for ReFS to be disabled.


It was a bit frustrating until I figured all of this out. Now I have two good Win 8 installations, although I haven't quite figured out what they are good for, except maybe to play with. On a desktop, without a touch screen, Win 8 is basically a PITA and useless. And NO, the desktop IS NOT DEAD, and won't be for a long time, if ever. [/RANT]


BTW, the upgrade to Win 8.1 was basically painless. You have to start from the Microsoft Store, which only offers the upgrade if your Win 8.0 installation is fully updated. The problem I see is that you have to download the upgrade EVERY TIME you want to do it. There is no ISO or DVD available for installation. That's fine if you have a fast internet connection, but lots of us don't. Mine is 30Mb down , so I'm OK. Not too cool, Micro$oft!!


Anyway, that's my tale of woe. Hope it helps.



Edited by davnel, 03 November 2013 - 03:43 AM.

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