If you have been working on Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you might have noticed that Windows 8 has gotten friendlier and more efficient when it comes to automatically detecting and fixing issues with the hard drive.
Microsoft Talks About Better Hard Drive Problem Detection And Repairs In Windows 8
Windows 8 has made things easier and less worrying when it comes to the OS automatically detecting and fixing problems with the hard drive. It is now less intrusive and disruptive to the whole user experience, which is a very important step forward as the disk capacities continue to expand at a fast pace.
These advances are mainly in the CHKDSK utility that has been around since the times of MS DOS. Short for ‘Check Disk’, the utility has so far been an inconvenience to run because it requires the user to stop using the computer whilst the hard drives were checked. And this tests can take a really long time to finish.
Microsoft has also made advances to the NTFS structure that is used by Windows to store information on the hard disk. This improves the ‘health’ model of the hard disk that till now saw the entire disk as one unit that was either ‘healthy’ or not. Depending on this, ChkDsk would take the entire disk offline do perform its tests. And some of these runs last for hours at a time, meaning the user is locked out of his system for that long. The time taken was of course directly dependent on how big the disk capacity is and how many files there are on the file system.
Thanks to the improvements in both areas, ChkDsk can now run in the background as the user goes on with this work with the system. NTFS no longer sees the entire disk as a single unit for health monitoring. And even if the problems cannot be fixed when the volume is online (i.e. ‘mounted’), the logs generated during the background check make offline checks and fixes much faster, thus improving over all speed and performance. In the new version, fixes might take just seconds and the whole thing is called ‘Spotfix’.