How to identify the cause and fix NTFS errors

Started by Aleksey


How to identify the cause and fix NTFS errors   02 February 2022, 09:15

Good day.

I have 2 Boot RAM Disks (5 GB each) on my system.

Disk Z: ephemeral, for system and user TEMP/TMP directories. exFAT formatted (cluster: 32KB).

Disk Y: backed by an Image, for some apps cache redirected to RAM disk by symbolic directory links (some by SoftPerfect Cache Relocator 1.6, and some manually). NTFS formatted (cluster: 4KB / compressed volume). Contents of this RAM disk saved to image every 5 minutes. Disk image is located on dedicated volume (NTFS / 4KB / not compressed) on NVMe SSD (there is no underlying issues with SSD).

I regularly have following issue with second (Y) RAM disk:

From Windows Event Log (two following events):

Level: Warning / Event ID: 98 / Source: NTFS (Microsoft-Windows-Ntfs)
Volume Y: (\Device\HarddiskVolume25) requires an Online Scan. An Online Scan will automatically run as part of the next scheduled maintenance task.


Level: Error / Event ID: 55 / Source: NTFS (Ntfs)
A corruption was discovered in the file system structure on volume Y:.
The exact nature of the corruption is unknown. The file system structures need to be scanned online.

When scanning with chkdsk, I get such errors:

File record segment X is an orphan.

chkdsk Y: /F
solves this problem easily. But judging by Windows Event Log, this problem occurs on average every 3-7 days, but there are cases of occurrence an hour after the problem is fixed.

It is difficult for me to judge when this type of problem began to reveal itself, since I didn't notice any actual problems with applications that work with this RAM disk. And I discovered this problem only when I scanned all disks in my system.

Subjectively, I began to notice problems in the first half or middle of last year. Possibly after upgrading to version 4.2 which was released on 2021.01.04. Now I use SoftPerfect RAM Disk v4.3.1 x64 and the problem continues to arise.

Apps that actually R/W on this RAM disk:
Chromium (cache)
Firefox (cache)
Pale Moon (cache)
Vivaldi (cache)
Discord (cache)
qBittorrent (.fastresume files and logs only)
GOG Galaxy Client (cache and logs / no games)
Thus, there is no significant write/read load on this RAM disk.

Please help in identifying the source of this problem. Any suggestions how to trace such problem on OS or application driver level?

OS: Windows 10 x64 v1809
RAM: 64GB (4 x 16GB)
Storage (OS and RAM Disk Image volumes): Samsung SSD 960 PRO 512GB (NVMe 1.2 / No SMART Errors / Percentage Used: 24% / Available Spare: 100%)
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Re: How to identify the cause and fix NTFS errors   02 February 2022, 09:25

Unfortunately it is really hard to tell what might be causing this. Since it's only the image-backed RAM disk that has this error, my best guess would be some data inconsistency because the RAM disk driver has to temporarily block writing to an image-backed RAM disk to write pending changes to the file.

As a simple workaround I would recommend using exFAT instead of NTFS. It's generally faster as well as much simpler and doesn't have NTFS overhead. You would need to create a new image of the same size, format it as exFAT, copy everything there and then swap the image. Alternatively, backup everything up from the image, then format it as exFAT and copy everything back.

Additionally, ticking 'Mount as Removable' in the RAM disk properties might help, as Windows will try to finalise writing and flush the cache as soon as possible.

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