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Windows 7 Memory Bug Could be a 'Feature'

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 34 comments

Not quite a showstopper, but Microsoft is paying attention.

No matter how ready for primetime any operating system may be, it's never impervious to bugs. This applies to Windows 7, which is now in the can and released to manufacturing.

Apparently, a critical bug has been found in Windows 7 that could crash the computer when running Windows Chkdsk. According to reports, the crash occurs when chkdsk is ran with the /r switch, which is used to locate and repair bad sectors. When ran, the system reportedly consumes memory to 90 percent or more, eventually crashing the computer.

ZDNet blogger Ed Bott ran some tests and concluded that the bug, isn't completely reproducible or as critical as some make it out to be.

Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky replied to the original report detailing the bug with a response that points out that maximum memory usage is actually a "feature" to speed up the chkdsk process. Here's an excerpt from his reply:

"In this case, we haven’t reproduced the crash and we’re not seeing any crashes with chkdsk on teh stack reported in any measurable number that we could find. We had one beta report on the memory usage, but that was resolved by design since we actually did design it to use more memory. But the design was to use more memory on purpose to speed things up, but never unbounded — we requset the available memory and operate within that leaving at least 50M of physical memory. Our assumption was that using /r means your disk is such that you would prefer to get the repair done and over with rather than keep working.

"While we appreciate the drama of 'critical bug' and then the pickup of 'showstopper' that I’ve seen, we might take a step back and realize that this might not have that defcon level. Bugs that are so severe as to require immediate patches and attention would have to have no workarounds and would generally be such that a large set of people would run across them in the normal course of using their PC."

Sinosky added that the Windows team is running an overnight stress test with 40 machines. Read his full reply here.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    jerther , August 6, 2009 7:15 PM
  • 18 Hide
    dman3k , August 6, 2009 7:21 PM
    "teh stack"

    I bet he thinks he's so 1337...
  • 10 Hide
    doomtomb , August 6, 2009 7:38 PM
    Quote:
    UPDATE:

    After emailing back and forth with the VP Sinofsky, it was found that the chkdsk /r tool is not at fault here. It was simply a chipset controller issue. Please update you chipset drivers to the current driver from your motherboard manufacturer. I did mine, and this fixed the issue. Yes it still uses alot of physical memory, because your checking for physical damage, and errors on the Harddrive your testing. I’m currently completed the chkdsk scan with no BSOD’s or computer sluggishness. Feel free to do this and try it for yourselves. Again, there is no Bug.

    Thanks all.

    http://www.chris123nt.com/2009/08/03/critical-bug-in-windows-7-rtm#comment-11466
Other Comments
    Display all 34 comments.
  • 19 Hide
    jerther , August 6, 2009 7:15 PM
  • 18 Hide
    dman3k , August 6, 2009 7:21 PM
    "teh stack"

    I bet he thinks he's so 1337...
  • 5 Hide
    Bullheaded67 , August 6, 2009 7:29 PM
    There may actually be a bug but I suspect it is in reality systems that are unstable for one reason or another (drivers, heat, unstable overclocks, etc). Some sites used extremely poor journalism to report this issue. I am glad to see this site giving a fair report.
  • 10 Hide
    doomtomb , August 6, 2009 7:38 PM
    Quote:
    UPDATE:

    After emailing back and forth with the VP Sinofsky, it was found that the chkdsk /r tool is not at fault here. It was simply a chipset controller issue. Please update you chipset drivers to the current driver from your motherboard manufacturer. I did mine, and this fixed the issue. Yes it still uses alot of physical memory, because your checking for physical damage, and errors on the Harddrive your testing. I’m currently completed the chkdsk scan with no BSOD’s or computer sluggishness. Feel free to do this and try it for yourselves. Again, there is no Bug.

    Thanks all.

    http://www.chris123nt.com/2009/08/03/critical-bug-in-windows-7-rtm#comment-11466
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2009 7:39 PM
    dman3k"teh stack"I bet he thinks he's so 1337...


    LOL! My first reaction too.
  • 8 Hide
    stradric , August 6, 2009 7:42 PM
    Not to mention that chkdsk is hardly critical to normal everyday activity on one's computer.
  • 8 Hide
    megamanx00 , August 6, 2009 7:46 PM
    Bug, oh no my friend. It's a feature that lets you quickly and conveniently restart your computer ^_^
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2009 7:47 PM
    "is ran" "when ran". Head...Exploding...
  • 5 Hide
    Netherscourge , August 6, 2009 7:52 PM
    They set us up teh CHKDSK bomb!
  • 3 Hide
    hellwig , August 6, 2009 8:46 PM
    I don't know about CHKDSK (Wikipedia says '/r' requires a disk-level lock, so yeah), but whenever I ran ScanDisk and tried to use my computer, any disk access would reset ScanDisk. I quickly learned to NOT run other things while scanning/repairing a disk. Since CHKDSK /r is not able to run with other things writing to the drive, this means CHKDSK can use as much memory as it needs, what else would be running that needs that memory?
  • 0 Hide
    mindless728 , August 6, 2009 8:51 PM
    well, i will have to try and reproduce this, seems i have 8GB of memory, lets see if it will use it all
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , August 6, 2009 9:00 PM
    and now one will ever get that error because people are to lazy to actually run a chkdsk anymore. Many have never heard of it and don't even know what it is for.
  • 0 Hide
    war2k9 , August 6, 2009 9:47 PM
    BOOM!
  • -1 Hide
    nekatreven , August 6, 2009 11:00 PM
    hellwigI don't know about CHKDSK (Wikipedia says '/r' requires a disk-level lock, so yeah), but whenever I ran ScanDisk and tried to use my computer, any disk access would reset ScanDisk. I quickly learned to NOT run other things while scanning/repairing a disk. Since CHKDSK /r is not able to run with other things writing to the drive, this means CHKDSK can use as much memory as it needs, what else would be running that needs that memory?


    Your system drive is the only one that cannot be run with a /r from within the OS. It will require a reboot, but other drives that are hooked up just work (as long as there are no active handles to them).

    If its the former, I'd suspect that chkdsk going out of bounds of the available RAM after the reboot regardless of the fact nothing else is running. However if it is another drive or a flash drive or something, Windows may be devoting a ton of RAM to chkdsk and slowing down the viewing of pr0n and the pwning of the nubs by those that do not know that if you need to run it with /r...you should to start it and then stand ten feet away and stare at it and consider becoming religious in hopes that the data is not gone.
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , August 6, 2009 11:21 PM
    The question is... will they ever fix my "0x0000004E" error? I always Bsod hen I browse the web.
  • -1 Hide
    aspireonelover , August 7, 2009 12:51 AM
    gin FushichoThe question is... will they ever fix my "0x0000004E" error? I always Bsod hen I browse the web.

    you probably have bad ram...doesn't happen to me :p 
    check your OC and your RAM
  • 0 Hide
    nachowarrior , August 7, 2009 2:45 AM
    three words, third party utilities.

    99% of the time, if there's a functionality built into windows someone else has done it better.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 7, 2009 4:09 AM
    The only bug I care about that I hope is fixed in RTM is the issue Im having with Explorer. About 75% of the time I right click on an icon(even the recycle bin) Windows Explorer stops working and restarts itself. I had this problem with the beta and rc1.
  • -2 Hide
    flabbergasted , August 7, 2009 4:28 AM
    Ran CHKDSK on my Ultimate 64 edition. Fast and no problems
  • 0 Hide
    volks1470 , August 7, 2009 5:43 AM
    Is this bug related to when I mount a disc image such as game and install it, my memory will slowly climb to 98% ram being used out of 4gb.
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