Windows – Hard drive corruption on a dual-boot system


Recently I've decided to buy my first SSD and install Windows 10 on it, and use one of my older HDs to install Windows 7, for dual-booting from separate drives. Both drives are connected through SATA through a 3 year old motherboard. All drives are GPT formatted.

The very bizzare thing that happened to me was when I booted into Windows 7, and saved some files in the Documents folder of my Windows 10 SSD system, assuming that next time I'm gonna be able to boot Windows 10 and see those files in my documents folder. To my surprise Windows 10 booted after an automatic system repair, entered a boot loop, not able to repair itself, and killed my motherboard. After that my motherboard entered a boot loop without even showing the flash screen.

After 2 hours of playing around with it I managed to recover my mobo using its backup bios chip, reinstalled my Windows 10, and everything was working fine. I then did the same thing, cross copying files while booting from Win7/10, and each time this resulted in corrupt drives and systems.

What am I missing there? Back in the old days of Windows XP you could easily remove your OS drive, put in an enclosure, connect through USB to another computer and write files to it, and that drive would boot just fine after placing it back.

Being able to store different documents cross-drive and symlinking them from each system would save me a lot of hassle and disk space.

Thanks for any help.

Best Answer

  • I don't believe the filesystems should be incompatible between Windows versions, but I could be wrong. What I believe you are seeing is an interaction between the new Windows Fast Start-up that was introduced in Windows 8 and A. N. OtherOperatingSystem.

    Windows 10 hibernates the core of the OS when it "shuts down" and so when it reboots it expects the filesystem to be in the same state as it left it when it next boots up.

    Changing things on the filesystem without completely shutting Windows 10 first can (and probably will as you have seen) cause filesystem corruption. If you're just doing something quick between the systems then, in theory, doing a reboot while in Windows 10 and then booting Windows 7 should work as it does a "proper" reboot but if you ever just shut down Windows 10 and restart the computer then you will need to start Windows 10 first and then reboot into Windows 7.

    If you regularly dual boot then you will want to disable Windows fast boot. This should disable the hibernation and make the filesystem safe for dual booting, at the cost of slowing down your Windows 10 boot times.

    Go to Power Options in the control panel (search for "power" in cortana)

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    Select "Choose what the power buttons do"

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    And then click "change settings that are currently unavailable and then uncheck the "Turn on fast start-up" option.

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