Win7's dirty, dirty little bits


F

Flasherly

Exit Win7 - all indications - normally;- Ditto for Win XP.

Periodically, more than I'd like, upon a boot menu/arbitrator to load
XP (after a Win7 session), Win7 -apparently- resets all it's "Dirt
Bag" bits across all partitions, best I can figure.

Dirt Bag: That is what MS does to a hard drive's partition in order
to trigger a ChkDsk /F conditon upon the next boot. The make an
honest-to-god dirty bit. For real. Worse, people have been damned
for the past decade trying to figure it out (when it gets so filthy, I
guess, you could just stuff a bar of Ivory soap up it and throw it
permanently into hold).

Me, I think it's Microsoft's way of being chummy with the NSA.
Collecting all the filthy file information on everybody's computer
during "dirty bit" operations and pass it along ... Yo - BigBro.

No matter if the partition was never acessed, flag it for "dirt"
anyway.

I tried not giving drives under Win7 drive-assignment letters,
although I've as much faith in that circumventing MS dirtbits as a
snowball's chance in Hell.

What's called for in a new and modern OS, such as Microsoft's, is a
complex boot arbitrator with conditional brances for a menu item, as
to what drives will be flagged hidden. Might work...a Big Maybe for
compromises.

That way you buy all the new HDDs, you want, fill them with programs,
even. Just make sure you don't show them to MS. Least, not all at
once (you'll, in fact, be waiting until tomorrow for ChkDsk to
finish).
 
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L

Loren Pechtel

Exit Win7 - all indications - normally;- Ditto for Win XP.

Periodically, more than I'd like, upon a boot menu/arbitrator to load
XP (after a Win7 session), Win7 -apparently- resets all it's "Dirt
Bag" bits across all partitions, best I can figure.

Dirt Bag: That is what MS does to a hard drive's partition in order
to trigger a ChkDsk /F conditon upon the next boot. The make an
honest-to-god dirty bit. For real. Worse, people have been damned
for the past decade trying to figure it out (when it gets so filthy, I
guess, you could just stuff a bar of Ivory soap up it and throw it
permanently into hold).

Me, I think it's Microsoft's way of being chummy with the NSA.
Collecting all the filthy file information on everybody's computer
during "dirty bit" operations and pass it along ... Yo - BigBro.

No matter if the partition was never acessed, flag it for "dirt"
anyway.

What's the problem?

Remember, Windows accesses volumes in the background.

It appears that when Windows accesses a volume it marks it dirty, when
it releases a volume the last thing it does is mark it clean. Chkdsk
runs if the drive is marked dirty.

Better to run it when it's not needed than have a directory problem
that breeds because you used a corrupted volume.
 
F

Flasherly

What's the problem?

I'm periodically/randomly experiencing a boot condition, (the CHKDSK
dirty-bit flag is present), going into Windows XP, upon and after
exiting Windows 7 64 Pro.

I'm using a boot arbitrator on SSD1 as my BIOS "first boot"
assignment, whereupon is contained the boot arbitrator and Windows
XP. The boot arbitrator then will boot Windows 7, as provided by the
boot arbitrator selection menu, by going to and bring up Windows 7
from SSD2 - a physically different SSD, entirely, whereupon Windows 7
is installed and runs from.

They both, Win7 and XP, shut down without apparent incident, cleanly
to reboot. However, as I said, I'm apt to get a ChkDsk condition, for
Windows XP, by all indications generated -by Win7- upon exiting.
Windows XP then will check all and every one of my drives, because all
and every one is marked with a "dirty bit."

On one drive, alone, I have 250,000 files. I seldom use that drive,
but to see Windows XP churning away to chkdsk it, just because Windows
7's prior shut-down sequence, by all indications a smooth shutdown,
says to do so - Man, that's starting to burn my butt on weirdness
factoring alone.

(I really shouldn't ignore what may be some irregularities between
SSDs and various permutations they can be run - IOW, plattered and
conventional HDDs may not exhibit, altogether, those same aberrations
if I installed both XP and Win7 on two conventional drives.)
Remember, Windows accesses volumes in the background.

It appears that when Windows accesses a volume it marks it dirty, when
it releases a volume the last thing it does is mark it clean. Chkdsk
runs if the drive is marked dirty.

Win marks them initially dirty: a partition - logical/primary. All
mine, my "drives," are FAT32 (one NTFS). Win then releases drives for
a clean condition - presumably at shut down or restart. Just
restating how I read you.
Better to run it when it's not needed than have a directory problem
that breeds because you used a corrupted volume.

Oh, yes. I'm not quite ready to turn it off indiscriminately, rather
deny chkdsk to disk partitions that were actively engaged in prior MS
operations.

I can however turn off ChkDsk (through the registry) - never to run on
drives I know damn well it never accessed and should not have flagged
for dirty. I just don't want to - be cleaner, as its largely been up
to now, if Win7 just stayed clean and also played that way.

I'm going to be carefully watching how I shut down Win7 from now on.

I still may crash XP on occasional image backups, the first time
booting up after an image is placed/written onto the SSD boot
partition. It almost invariably takes on the second image write,
though, should the first immediately crash. Never had that problem, on
the Samsung SSD, until I moved XP to a newer Crucial SSD (and Win7 to
the Samsung). Like I said, the weirdness factor -(is Crucial really
all it's cracked to be by comparison to Samsung?)- in my hardware
setup may be incidental to generating OS instability.
 
F

Flasherly

Dirty Bits
--

Found something else.

Sticking in SSDs into XP and an old(er) MB (non-AHCI BIOS), my SSDs'
partitions aren't correctly aligned.

Fun. I'll have to figure out so'mo' *NIX to fixerupper with GPartEd.
Something about GPartEd resizing individual partitions, through two
stages, adding or subtracting a meg of space, give here then take
there, to bring the partitions back into correct alignment for
correcting one big heap of a mess of mistakes when using all but the
latest&greatest soft- and hardware.

A SSD's "offset" of course should be divisible by the whole number
4096 at a returned sum and whole number (sic) without fractional or
decimal placement.

As anyone not numbered among idiots --those whom carry tablets,
subscribe to clouded identities-- naturally should know. (I'm
checking and will report back if XP users still qualify for special
mental-imbecile status.)
 
B

bruce56

Exit Win7 - all indications - normally;- Ditto for Win XP.

Periodically, more than I'd like, upon a boot menu/arbitrator to load
XP (after a Win7 session), Win7 -apparently- resets all it's "Dirt
Bag" bits across all partitions, best I can figure.

Dirt Bag: That is what MS does to a hard drive's partition in order
to trigger a ChkDsk /F conditon upon the next boot. The make an
honest-to-god dirty bit. For real. Worse, people have been damned
for the past decade trying to figure it out (when it gets so filthy, I
guess, you could just stuff a bar of Ivory soap up it and throw it
permanently into hold).

Ubuntu does an fsck after 30 boots. A pain when you have a stack of 2 TB
drives in it.
 
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F

Flasherly

Ubuntu does an fsck after 30 boots. A pain when you have a stack of 2 TB
drives in it.

Well, at least Ubuntu knows what it's doing.

When getting up and running a pair of SSDs, I ran into all kinds of
irregularities and inconsistencies between various partitioning
software under Windows XP. Including a primary partition that
wouldn't boot from the latest SSD, a Crucial MX100. It was initially
very difficult to activate that primary partition with various
partitioning tools. Now, I have to figure how to straightening up the
whole apparent mess with GPartEd. If I can. Be strange indeed if I
couldn't run SSDs properly unless I buy a ACHI equipped MB. Stranger,
yet, figuring why they do run at less than their optimals with all the
old, and new, partitioning software that messes them up with either/or
older non-ACHI boards or Windows XP.


Put it this way, I'm not rock-solid inspired, that this guy knows what
the f*k he's talking about...

--
Speed Up Your SSD By Correctly Aligning Your Partitions

We've covered proper solid state drive maintenance before, but one of
the most overlooked factors in proper SSD care is partition alignment.
Here's how to make sure your partitions are aligned correctly and that
you're getting the most out of your SSD.
How to Maximize the Life of Your SSDHow to Maximize the Life of Your
SSDHow to Maximize the Life of Your SSD

An SSD drive is a worthwhile investment, but like any storage device,
it can fail. In fact, failing …Read moreRead on

We talked about partition alignment in our SSD migrating tutorial, but
if you've already migrated to an SSD, you might not have realized that
you're sacrificing performance with misaligned partitions. A regular
hard drive usually starts its first partition after 63 empty blocks,
while SSDs require 64 blocks of data for optimal performance. This
means that sometimes, if your SSD was formatted by something other
than Windows' installer, it can be aligned incorrectly and will
transfer data much slower than intended.
How to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling WindowsHow
to Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Reinstalling WindowsHow to
Migrate to a Solid-State Drive Without Rein

Installing a solid-state drive is one of the best upgrades you can
make to your computer, but…Read moreRead on

To see if your partitions are aligned correctly, hit the Start menu
and type in msinfo32. Enter Msinfo32 and go to Components > Storage >
Disks. Look for your SSD on the list and find the "Partition Starting
Offset" item. If this number is divisible by 4096 (that is, if
dividing it by 4096 equals a whole number and not a decimal), your
partition is correctly aligned. If not, you need to realign it.
Luckily, this is pretty easy to do with the Gparted live CD. If you
have an Ubuntu live CD lying around, that will work too, since it has
Gparted available under System > Administration.

Start up Gparted and find your SSD in the upper-right dropdown menu.
Select it, and click on your first partition in the menu. Hit the
Resize/Move button in the toolbar. Change the "Free Space Preceding"
box to 2MB, uncheck "Round to Cylinders", and hit "Resize/Move". (If
you're using a newer live CD, check the "MiB" box). Hit Apply once and
let it do its thing.

Now hit Resize/Move again, and change the "Free Space Preceding" box
to 1MB. Uncheck "Round to Cylinders" again, hit Resize/Move, then
click Apply. Now your drive will be aligned to exactly 2048 blocks
after the beginning of the disk, which allows for optimal SSD
performance. Note that if you have multiple partitions on your SSD,
you'll need to repeat this process for each partition, not just the
first one on the disk.

Yes, moving it 2MB away then moving it back 1MB seems like a long,
roundabout method, but Gparted measures space in a weird way. When you
first start up Gparted, your partition will have less than 1MB of
space preceding it, but Gparted will only measure it as 0-meaning if
you align it to 1MB right off the bat, it'll keep the drive annoyingly
misaligned at 1.03MB. If you set it to 2MB, hit Apply, and then move
it back to 1MB, it works fine.

Boot back into Windows, open Msinfo32 back up, and run the above check
again. If you get a whole number this time, your partition is
correctly aligned. If you get an error when you try to boot back into
Windows, that doesn't mean you did anything wrong—sometimes Windows
gets a little confused and can't find a partition if you move it (even
if you only move it 0.7MB away). Grab your Windows installation disc,
boot into it, and hit Repair Your Computer on the main menu. It should
automatically detect the issue and fix your boot menu for you.

That's it. It seems a little complicated and roundabout, but it's
something not a lot of people know to do, so you may have been sitting
with a non-optimized SSD for all this time (I know I have been for a
few months). This should fix the problem, and if you've had your SSD
for awhile, you might even notice a speed boost.
 
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