In Windows 8, Microsoft has made the detection and correction of file system errors more transparent and less intrusive. In a May 9 blog post, a program manager on Windows core system team explained the new NTFS health model for Windows 8 and redesigned tool for disk corruption detection and fixing, the chkdsk utility so as to minimize the downtime due to chkdsk.
Microsoft also introduced a new file system for the future, ReFS, which does not require an offline chkdsk to repair corruptions.
"One of our key design goals for Windows 8 was to increase availability and reduce the overall down-time of systems; this feature, along with other storage features such as Storage Spaces and the new ReFS file system, helps reduce the complexity of fixing corruptions and increases the overall availability of the entire system," Kiran Bangalore.
As the hard disk capacities have continued to double every 18 months and the number of files per volume is increasing at an equal rate, chkdsk has taken longer and longer to complete (even with speed improvements) -- necessitating the redesign of the NTFS health model and chkdsk. Microsoft states. "Our design included changes both in the file system and the chkdsk utility to ensure the best availability." The new design splits everything into multiple phases (as seen in the screenshot below) and ensures a coordinated, rapid, and transparent resolution to the corrupt disk.
"We developed a new method of communication that describes types of corruptions as "verbs" that act upon the key components and points of the design - the file system driver (NTFS), the self-healing module, the spot-verification service, and the chkdsk utility. All file system corruptions are classified as needing one of 18 different "verbs" that we've defined in Windows 8. We've also left room for possible new verb definitions that can help us diagnose issues even better in the future," Kiran said.
Windows 8 enable better transparency into the new health model, by exposing the state of the file system via the following interfaces: "Action Center, Explorer, PowerShell, and Server Manager," all of which display the health state of the drive.
There will be four different health states for a disk as shown in the diagram above, which are Online and healthy (no corruptions detected), "In Windows 8 we increased the number of issues that can be handled online and hence reduced any further need for chkdsk."
Another is the Online spot verification needed (the spot verification service is verifying the corruption), "It's triggered by the file system driver and it verifies that there is actual corruption on the disk before moving the file system along in the health model. This new service runs in the background and does not affect the normal functioning of the system; it does nothing unless the file system driver triggers it to verify a corruption."
Third being Online identification and logging (corruption is confirmed and a scan is needed), "when an issue is verified, this triggers an online scan of the file system, which runs as a maintenance task in the file system."
Finally, Spot fix needed (a restart is needed to fix errors) -- Microsoft says, "the volume can be taken offline, and the corruptions logged in the previous step can be fixed." "The downtime from this operation, called 'Spotfix,' takes only seconds, and on Windows Server 8 systems with cluster shared volumes, we've eliminated this downtime completely. With this new model, chkdsk offline run time is now directly proportional to the number of corruptions, rather than being proportional to the number of files as in the old model," explains Kiran.
Also, in another Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft Matt Harrington notes that as of May 2012, developer can download Windows 8, use it, and develop apps. But, the Windows Store is not open for everyone to deploy. "However, we are looking for the first wave of great applications which highlight the power of Metro and Windows 8, especially from developers who want to get to market first and build their brand," he stated.
Basically, devs creating a new app or game need a token today to submit their apps, which can ge get using the following process:
- Create a great application or game.
- Let me know about it by contacting me via my blog's contact form.
- I'll help you register so you can get your application through our Application Accelerator Labs, where the app will get reviewed to confirm it is done and conforms to the Metro guidelines and certification requirements.
"This is a great opportunity to not only be first to market with your app, but also to get feedback from a Microsoft Services Engineer to make your app great. If you are serious about creating an application, this is a chance that you probably don't want to pass up," he said.
In addition, Microsoft is holding a series of events and office hours to help you including:
Windows Developer Camps (to learn about Windows 8 development): "Redmond, WA. May 11, 2012; Denver, CO. June 1, 2012; Chandler, AZ. June 8, 2012. Register."
Windows Application Accelerator Labs (to build your app): "Redmond, WA. May 15 - 17, 2012; and Mountain View, CA. May 22 - 24, 2012. Register."
Finally, the Internet Explorer 10 which will be shipping along with Windows 8 is now at the build 10.0.837X.0 (up from 8250.0 in the Consumer preview) and has a current score of 319 points on the Html5test.com.
"For comparison, IE9 gets a score of 138 and IE10 from the Consumer Preview received a score of 316."
There is another minor change in the latest builds in the form of a "splash screen." The image you see below is the boot screen (via Win8China) that replaces the beta fish from the Consumer Preview.
Here are more screen of the new Windows 8 NTFS model: (click to enlarge)
Watch this video "Redesigning new chkdsk and the new NTFS health model":