Crosslinked files and clusters

Just a few hours ago, i tried shutting down my comp. it froze at the shutdown screen. I restarted. Scandisk came up and at around 85% it started looking for crosslinked files and then crosslinked clusters. Never happened to me before. It took ages to go to 86%. Takes a LOT to complete just 1%. So i canceled and it crashed trying to load windows. I restarted and chose normal instead of safe mode. Windows loaded ok (?). I went to system tools and run scandisk from there to find out which files were crosslinked. Turned out to be some text and Web pages i had downloaded many months ago. To make a long story short i let scandisc run. I'm not close to it right now but it's most probably still scanning.

My question is... are crosslinked files and clusters a 'normal' symptom or does it mean my HD is about to die? Is it possible it's because of a viropus or something? Will more crosslinked files and clusters appear soon? should i backup everything and get another disc or will scandisc fix it????
I have no idea of the nature of this, so i would greatly appreciate all help.

Thank you in advance.
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More about crosslinked files clusters
  1. Crosslinked files can be generated by a crash, system error or fault OS or by hardware problems and no they are certainly not normal. I should try deleting all unecessary and temporary files and then booting to the recovery console and running chkdsk or scandisk or norton DD or whatever.

    You should have everything you want backed up anyway, so if you correct the problem I would say go with it as it is but look out for recurring problems. Otherwise you might want to do a full reinstall. If you think the hard disk is suspect run a low level format of the disk, but I think that's a bit excessive at this stage.

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  2. If there is data on that Hard Drive that you want to preserve, then you SHOULD NOT attempt to boot from that drive anymore.

    If there is data that doesn't matter then reformat the drive and start over.

    If the drive is taking an in ordinate amount of time to reach 86%, as you indicated, then there is likely some sort of hardware problem.

    The problem could be improperly seated cables, bad cables, a power supply problem, or a drive that has experienced some failure. (I voting for a drive failure. NOT that I WANT it to be a drive failure, it's just the most common.)

    Does this mean the drive is dead?

    Not necessarily, but by the same token it could very well mean that the drive is going to fail soon. (Although I have had MANY drives that have experienced limited failures, and continued to work fine for years afterwards. Limited failures are usually caused by a shock/hard bump to the drive during operation, or bad coating at a specific location on the hard drive platters. Shock/hard bumps aren't very likely to cause problems no-a-days but it still can under the right/wrong circumstance.)

    If the failure is somewhat limited, then you can boot up from a boot disk, and then check the drive and search for bad sectors. This will attempt to fix the problem and it is possible all may be well. If you are running Windows 95 or Windows 98 then you will want to delete the swap file AFTER the drive check is complete.

    Again, if there is data that you want to get that is on the drive, the best bet would be to get a new drive and install Windows onto the new drive. Make sure the OLD drive is removed. Once Windows is running properly, install the OLD drive, and copy the most important files first.

    Most likely, since there is already corruption on the drive, you will not be able to copy the whole drive at once because the corruption may cause errors in the copy process. Copy the most important stuff first.

    I will disagree with SJonnie here.

    You NEVER want to delete files off of a hard drive that has corruption. This will only lessen the chance of being able to retrieve files that are damaged, and could in fact result in files that are good being damaged. (Granted though, it was mentioned that you should have a backup on the drive. True. Drives are cheap enough now, that the hours spent filling it up can easily justify the cost of a backup drive.)


    NO, this is not "normal".

    Yes, if the system crashes, of you loose power, some crosslinked files may occur. These are usually quickly remedied with the automated disk check. Since, in your case, it is taking a long time for the check to progress it is likely finding sectors that are bad, going bad, or are marginal. (Windows retries failed sectors several times, so a sector that is perfect goes at disk speed, one that is bad slows things down while it is being checked. Really slow can be indicative of many bad sectors, and also bad communications to the hard drive.)

    Also many drive manufacturers have their own utilities to check out a drive. Some of those, being manufacturer specific, can give better results than the Windows generic utilities.

    NOTE: Many of these tests are DESTRUCTIVE. If you want the data on your drive get it first, and read the prompts well. DESTRUCTIVE tests are just that, they destroy data. Data is unrecoverable from that point unless you have a REALLY good friend in the NSA.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Crosslinked files are caused by data errors. The last time I saw a hard drive get corrupted on it's own (ie, not caused by irregular shutdown) was a few years back with a VIA chipset.

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