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I have a laptop that I have installed Windows XP on, then Ubuntu 10.10, then Windows 7 in that order. All three OS's are on the same HDD on separate partitions (XP: NTFS with Full Disk Encryption, Ubuntu: ext4, Win7: normal NTFS) and the bootloader is Grub 2. I thought everything was working perfectly.

Yesterday I restarted Windows XP (usually I hibernate it) and it ran scandisk. It found thousands of problems and spent half an hour deleting segments? It then carried on to XP normally. This is a new laptop so I checked the logs only to find that scandisk had "corrected" errors on the Windows 7 system partition not the XP partition. Windows 7 now boots into the recovery environment and diagnostics report my boot sector has problems.

Why did this happen, does Win 7 use a different version of NTFS to XP? How do I recover my Win 7 partition, do I have to use bootrec.exe or will that make things worse?

I know this isn't a simple question, many thanks if you can help.

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There are actually differences between NTFS used in different Windows versions, as described in this Wikipedia page.

Windows XP, Vista and 7 all use NTFS version 3.1. However, NTFS 3.1 is a highly complex and advanced file system, and in fact its design includes features that not all versions of Windows can support. So, there is no chance of Windows XP corrupting a Windows 7 volume (making all data impossible to access), however XP may destroy data that Windows 7 saved to disk, if said data is 7-specific (alternate data streams not copied, etc.).

One of the biggest difference is the System IDs (SID). XP may have destroyed permissions on the Win7 partition, among possibly other destruction.

There is no danger when sharing a data disk, but sharing a system drive between so remote Windows versions should be avoided. The only safe solution is to reinstall Windows 7, but you may get through with only Doing a Repair Install to Fix Windows 7.

In the future, do not let one of the systems scan the other's disk. There are too many years of difference between them. See this article : Disable or Stop Auto CHKDSK During Windows Startup

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