NTFS Health Model Improvements in Windows 8 and FAQs


Microsoft details some of the new designs and improvements in NTFS new health model and the old CHKDSK utility on their official Building Windows 8 blog. Here are some highlights.

The new design of the NTFS health model and chkdsk is based on these 3 main requirement.

1. 0 downtime caused by file system corruptions and nearly 0 in all other configurations.

2. A user or administrator must be aware of the file system health at all times.

3. A user or administrator should be able to easily fix their file system when a corruption occurs in a scheduled manner.

And the new design splits the process into the following phases.

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with the following 4 ways to manage:

  • Action Center
  • Explorer
  • PowerShell, and
  • Server Manager

There are 4 health states involved in this new health model:

1. Online and healthy

2. Online and spot verification needed

3. Online and scan needed

4. Spot fix needed, potentially offline.

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Here is also a video demonstrating this new approach that is worth checking out.

If you find out the above information are too technical, you may find the following FAQs more useful and handy.


Q) Will the new health model work on removable drives?
Yes, this works on removable drives that report fixed media, like most external hard drives.

Q) How do I enable the new file system health model?
You don’t need to do a thing—the new file system health model is enabled by default.

Q) Will the new file system health model apply to Windows Server?
Yes, the health model is identical for both server and client. One thing that will be different by default is that the data drives will not be checked or fixed during boot of the system – this maintenance will be left to the administrator when time permits.

Q) Can I move between Windows 8 and Windows 7 and not affect the file system health model?
Yes, the file system health model will adapt to whichever operating system version it is mounted on.

Q) Will ReFS need to run chkdsk?
ReFS follows a different model for resiliency and does not need to run the traditional chkdsk utility.

Q) Will I ever need to run the old chkdsk /f?
There are cases where failing hardware can produce such severe corruption as to make the file system un-mountable; in these cases, you should perform a full, offline chkdsk to fix the file system. If for some reason this fails, we recommend that you restore from a backup.

Q) Is a reboot absolutely required to fix non-system volumes?
No, but the Action Center generally provides the simplest experience. If you’re an advanced user, you can fix non-system volumes by opening the properties of the drive, or by running chkdsk \scan <volume>: and chkdsk \spotfix <volume>: from the command line.

Q) I run chkdsk /f often to check the status of our drives, is that needed anymore?
No, the system will inform you when a corruption is found, and you can then choose to run the chkdsk /scan to detect all the issues. An online chkdsk /scan will not take away from the availability of the drive or system.

Q) I run read-only chkdsk today to check the status of our drives; do I still need to do this?
No, we recommend you run chkdsk/scan instead, since this will also perform all possible online repairs and will also prepare for a spotfix, if needed.

Tip my hat again to Building Windows 8 blog for another great post that explains certain feature in much detail.


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