Windows 10 corrupting removable hard drives. Work-around included!

My computer has a bay for 2 SSD drives. One is a System Drive (C:), and the other is a Data drive (D:). I also have a 4 terabyte USB external hard drive connected. I swap out different C: drives for different uses ie: one for internet use, a different one for video work, another one for DAW recording etc.. This system worked flawlessly under Windows 7. After installing Windows 10 there is a major problem.

I boot with one of my C: drives. During the course of work I save data to the D: drive or the external drive. If I power down the computer and switch to another C: drive and power up Windows 10 claims to see errors on the D: drive or external drive and proceeds to correct them. Once booted if I look at the D: drive or external drive the data I have just saved minutes earlier is missing. If I try to write to either drive I get an error message saying I do not have permission or the drive is corrupted. If I power down and boot with the original C: drive with which I saved the data files the drives are now un-readable. After many hours of testing I can re-produce the error each and every time I follow the above procedure. The problem seems to be that unlike previous versions of Windows, 10 wants to take possession of drives it sees at boot and does something to them. It seems each bootable C: drive wants to see each data drive in the same state it last saw it. If it does not the problem occurs.  I know that my booting from different C: drives is not common but the use of external drives is. The common problem will be if someone saves data to their external drive and then connects the drive to another computer the data loss will occur. There have been mention of this happening already popping up on the web.

The Work-around - I discovered that if I remove the D: SSD drive and disconnect the external drive before booting with a different C: drive, and then power them up again once booted (the D: drive is hot swappable). everything works as expected. The work-around is doable but a pain to remember to do. I hope this helps anyone else experiencing the same problem. Microsoft....please contact me if you want greater detail about the situation.

I really love Windows 10. Microsoft hit a home run with this one. Hope they can get this problem fixed.

 

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Last updated September 23, 2019 Views 865 Applies to:

Hi David,

Thank you for sharing this information on this forum. I am sure this will help other users who face this issue.

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I have the same problem with a different workaround because my drives are not removable. I have my Win 7 "C" drive and while I'm testing Win10 I have it on a second drive. I just hook up whatever one I want at the time, Win 7 or Win 10.

When I shutdown Win 10 and go back to Win 7 I get complaints that it must check the drive and it ends up having to fix numerous errors on my "D" and "E" drives. This is every time I go back to Win 7 after running Win 10. A major pain to fix things and some files lost forever.

The workaround I chose was to scrap Windows 10. Win 7 works so there is no need to switch to Win 10. The upgrade may be free but the cost to fix all the damage is too high.

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For the sake of future reference, this issue is caused by having Windows 10 Fast Startup feature enabled when dual or multi-booting other operating systems with Windows 10. Note that Fast Startup was first introduced in Windows 8, so this problem is not new or exclusive to Win10.

The drive corruption problem happens after Windows 10 has been fully shut down and the computer then booted into a different operating system, but not when changing OS's after soft rebooting because Fast startup isn't used during warm reboots.

The core of the issue is that Fast Startup works similarly to Hybernation in that it stores details of the computer's operational state into a  hiberfil.sys file on the harddisk whenever Windows 10 is shut down. That file is subsequently used the next time Windows 10 is cold booted. Cold booting the computer into a different OS however can/will change the real contents of the harddrives in the system such that they no longer match what was stored by Win10 in hyberfil.sys, or it can even cause this file to be overwritten. Chaos ensues after booting back into Windows 10 when it tries to recreate the state it was last in but the drive contents are different from what was stored in hiberfil.sys or worse, if the hyberfil.sys file is corrupted or missing.

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Ralf_G Thank you so much for your response. It makes perfect sense. I have been plagued with this problem ever since upgrading to Windows 10. I never used Windows 8 so I never encountered the problem before. My D Drive (data) would become corrupted and loose data upon switching boot drives. My temp fix was to pull the D Drive (it is an SSD Drive) before each re-boot. If I forgot to do it the problem would sometimes re-occur. I dis-abled Fast Startup on all of my Boot SSD Drives. Hopefully this works. Thanks again!

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