A friend of mime mentions a problem that she encounter recently, as follows:

  1. She had two desktop machine. The older desktop machine run in Windows XP while the newer one run in Windows 8.1

  2. Each machine have 1 HDD (Hard disk) attached to it.

  3. Sometime, she will attach her older machine HDD to the newer machine. She will boot the newer machine Windows 8.1, to copy some files (from her old machine HDD to the new machine HDD) as she do not have any network card and network devices. (Before she remove or attach the HDD, she will shut down all desktop machines to prevent electrical shocks)

  4. After the copying, she will attach back the older machine HDD back to the older machine and start it (boot the older desktop machine to start using Windows XP). ==> This is where her problem come! The Windows XP on the first boot up will be successfully without the need to check disk (chkdsk). However, if she start the older machine on the second time, the older machine Windows XP will prompt her to perform a chkdsk at DOS as shown below.

enter image description here

She allow it to check disk but the chkdsk will report no problems. However, this does not end here, it will ask her to check disk on the third and so forth booting, until she perform a scan disk inside Windows XP with the 'Automatically fix file system errors' option checked as shown below.

enter image description here

After scan disk inside Windows XP is performed, there will not no more prompt to perform chkdsk. However, if she perform step 3, she will encounter step 4.

Please do not ask me to tell her to abandon her Windows XP desktop machine as she already got so attached to her Windows XP desktop machine.

Is it a symptoms that a failing hard disk is showing or/and is it a Windows 8.1 bug that will activate the dirty bit of a depreciated windows XP hard disk or/and something else?

  • After copying, does she eject the HDD or just disconnect it? Does the chkdsk find any problems (particularly bad sectors)? Run chkdsk with the /r parameter to force it to check for bad sectors. – fixer1234 Mar 23 '15 at 2:23
  • @fixer1234, Hi fixer1234, with regards to the eject of HDD, she shut down the newer machine to disconnect the old machine HDD and placed it back to the old machine before power on the old machine. Every disconnect and connect of HDD, she will power off the machine as she is scare of getting electrical shocks. Also, the chkdsk is automatically activated by Windows XP, when booting up. So, I don't think she can force Windows XP to use 'chkdsk /r' – user275517 Mar 23 '15 at 2:47
  • Worrying about getting a shock cracked me up. If she shuts down the computer before removing the drive, that eliminates the possibility that delayed writing was incomplete (potential source of corruption). Your bottom picture shows a blank checkbox for the option to scan and fix bad sectors. Enable that before clicking start. Optionally, run chkdsk /r from a command prompt. It will then be scheduled for the next boot. Checked for bad sectors can take several hours depending on size and should not be interrupted once it starts, so plan ahead. – fixer1234 Mar 23 '15 at 2:56
  • @fixer1234, it sounds like it's an internal drive and AFAIK you can't eject them. I think I'd power down the machine to remove one as well. – Holloway Mar 23 '15 at 9:44
  • @Trengot: I assumed that when moving it to the other machine, she was using some form of USB connection. If she is opening the box and connecting it internally, you may be right. That means magicandres1981's answer would be required. – fixer1234 Mar 23 '15 at 15:31

Such issues are caused by the new Windows 8 shutdown mode called HybridBoot which is a log off and hibernation. In Hibernation, Windows doesn't really write all data back to the disk and this can cause chkdsk to detect file system issues. Turn the feature off, to prevent the issue.

  • If she doesn't want to mess with system settings (assumption based on comment about being worried about getting a shock removing a USB cable), ejecting the drive will ensure all writes are complete (she can still wait to remove the cord). – fixer1234 Mar 23 '15 at 5:50
  • Hi fixer1234, just to clarify on something - she only worry about getting a electrical shock when removing the hard disk from the desktop machine that is not power off. If the desktop machine is power off and not running, she don't mind taking any computer parts, even the memory RAM. However, if the desktop machine is power on and running, she will not dare to remove RAM, hard disk from it. – user275517 Mar 23 '15 at 6:31
  • @user275517 Well, you probably don't want to literally pull out a RAM stick while the system is running... – Thomas Mar 23 '15 at 7:22
  • @Thomas I wouldn't pull out an internal HDD while the computer was running either. – Holloway Mar 23 '15 at 9:45
  • @user275517: magicandre1981's point is that what she is doing to shut down the computer isn't really powering it down in a way that closes the drive. To prevent the corruption she's getting when she removes the drive, she needs to either change the settings so that it actually powers down, or select the option to eject the drive, which forces completion of all write activity. – fixer1234 Mar 23 '15 at 15:25

Putting the HD from the XP machine into the other system is going to change the data on that HD in subtle ways. Because you aren't booting from the drive, you're accessing it from a different OS, the way data is stored and critical records like your MBR or registry could very easily get changed in a way that would prevent the HD from working properly on its native system anymore.
Your friend would be better off using thumb drives or purchasing an external hard drive that can be used as a go-between for the two systems, so that when the XP machine receives those files the OS is running and it can manage them in a way that it will be able to understand later.

  • 2
    I wouldn't think just copying files would affect anything system-related on the drive. However, your suggestion to use a thumb drive for transferring files is a good one. – fixer1234 Mar 23 '15 at 2:25

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