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With Vista came a number of improvements like self healing and symbolic links. Even though these might be OS improvements, they're functionally file system changes.

For Windows 8 have there been any such changes?

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This is what you are looking for? – Karthik T Oct 30 '12 at 3:06
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There have been various changes made to the chkdsk and NTFS health model. Here's an overview:


  • Online self-healing: The NTFS self-healing feature was introduced in Windows Vista (and in Windows Server 2008) to reduce the need to run chkdsk. Self-healing is a feature built into NTFS that fixes certain classes of corruptions encountered during normal operation, and can make these fixes while still online. In Windows 8 the number of issues that can be handled online has been increased and this has reduced any further need for chkdsk.

  • Online verification: Some corruptions are intermittent due to memory issues and may not be a result of an actual corruption on the disk; so a new service to Windows 8 has been added, called the spot verification service. It is triggered by the file system driver and it verifies that there is actual corruption on the disk before moving the file system along in the health model. This new service runs in the background and does not affect the normal functioning of the system; it does nothing unless the file system driver triggers it to verify a corruption.

  • Online identification and logging: When an issue is verified, this triggers an online scan of the file system, which runs as a maintenance task in the file system. In Windows 8, scheduled tasks that are for the maintenance of the computer run only when appropriate (during idle time, etc.). This scan can run as a background task while other programs continue to run in the foreground. As the file system is scanned, all issues that are found are logged for later correction.

  • Precise and rapid correction: At the user or administrator’s convenience, the volume can be taken offline, and the corruptions logged in the previous step can be fixed. The downtime from this operation, called “Spotfix,” takes only seconds, and on Windows Server 8 systems with cluster shared volumes, this downtime has been eliminated completely. With this new model, chkdsk offline run time is now directly proportional to the number of corruptions, rather than being proportional to the number of files as in the old model.

There have been various other changes made to implement better manageability as well, and the new file system health model basically works like this:


Check the Source for more details, 'cos otherwise it's just gonna end up as a complete copy-paste job, and with articles like these it's really difficult to reword everything.

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Will do. More robust online healing is definitely a nice improvement. – Louis Oct 30 '12 at 3:11
It looks like the version number got stuck at 5.0 regardless of further changes. What version is it up to in Windows 8? – Synetech Oct 30 '12 at 3:18
> Check the source … Number of files in millions: 100, 200, 300 ‽Hundreds of millions of files‽ Who the heck has hundreds of millions of files on their whole system, let alone a single volume? I have “a lot” of files spread out over my drives in my system and and it’s still only ~½M files. Even cloud servers are unlikely to have 100,000,000 files. – Synetech Oct 30 '12 at 3:22
@Synetech: Heh, true. :) But that's not to say they didn't test such a far-fetched scenario out, just to be safe (and to brag, obviously). Edit: As far as the version goes, which version are you talking about? The NTFS.sys driver version is different from the NTFS version. For example, fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c: in Win7 says the NTFS version is 3.1, and I believe it's the same in Win8 as well (can't test right now since I just trashed my VM install :/ ) – Karan Oct 30 '12 at 3:29
Change my previous comment to stuck at 3.1 (from XP). The command fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo returns the version of the volume specified (defaults to 3.1 in Windows 7). The NTFS spec is up to 3.1 right now (unless they updated it while designing Windows 8), so it is possible that ntfsinfo can return different numbers for different volumes on the same system. I don’t know why the driver is 5.0; I guess they increase it according to changes, not the spec. Either way, if 8 has made changes to the NTFS spec, it should be 3.5 or 4.0 or something, but then again, they did not change it in Vista. – Synetech Oct 30 '12 at 3:56

The NTFS.sys version (i.e. NTFS v5.0 introduced with Windows 2000) should not be confused with the on-disk NTFS format version (v3.1 since Windows XP).[12] The NTFS v3.1 on-disk format is unchanged from the introduction of Windows XP and is used in Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. The confusion arises when no differentiation is made when features are implemented into the NTFS.sys driver within the Windows OS rather than in the NTFS on-disk format. An incident of this was when Microsoft detailed new features within NTFS in Windows 2000 and they called it NTFS v5.0, yet it is the NTFS.sys driver that is at that version and the on-disk format is only at v3.0.[9]

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I'm sorry I'm not in a position to provide a precise answer to this question, but I'm getting a very strong feeling that the way Win 8 sees an NTFS volume is different to how Win 7 sees the same volume.

I wish there was something official from MS but I haven't seen anything yet.

From personal experience, I have noticed on a number of occasions, if I mount Windows 8 disks/partitions under Windows 7 to carry out e.g. an offline malware scan (sometimes requiring file permissions to be modified to gain access), Windows 8 then finds issues with the file system on the partition when it mounts/accesses it again. Why is this? I have seen a number of similar reports from users dual booting Windows 8 with Win7 or Linux.

I was previously led to believe it only happened with OS volumes using the new Win 8 fast boot feature, but today I saw it happen with a data drive. Previously in use with Win 8, after connecting it to a Win 7 machine, Win 7 said while booting that the volume needed to be checked for consistency. Fearing data loss from others' experiences, I skipped the scan and let Win 7 boot with it still attached. I was able to make a backup of all files and then proceeded to run a disk check from within Win 7. Oddly, it reported no issues. I rebooted just in case and still no issues were now flagged. So either Win 7 did some kind of spot fix itself while booted, or there's something else odd going on.

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