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File system errors, Partition loss, Disk crash - don't blame uTorrent.


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If you keep on downloading data to the last free bytes on a harddisk on a buggy system, you’re asking for trouble. I almost lost all data on my PC. uTorrent had just finished a download, and was moving it to the completed-folder. My already buggy PC froze for a few seconds, and after that Windows Explorer could not display the contents of the data-partition anymore, nor of any other partition on that same harddisk. At last a file system check solved the problem, but that wasn’t easy to do.

It had happened before on different systems, and I think it doesn’t matter what version of Windows or uTorrent you use. If the PC health is already critical, any program that writes data to disk may cause this. There was some I/O disk error. The disk was very near full. Perhaps the last bytes were spread over many free small fragments on the disk, perhaps too many for the 700 MB file, uTorrent was moving. I don’t know. Perhaps a bad sector at the end of the disk.

uTorrent usually responds well to a full disk. At the download it reports “Can’t write to disk” if there isn’t enough room. And when I delete some other files, and empty the Recycle Bin (thus creating more space), the download automatically resumes. But this time it was a disaster. Windows Explorer still listed the partition, but refused to show the contents. (of all partitions on the data-drive) Rebooting the PC didn’t help.

The problem: a file system error: the listed files or folders do not match the contents of the drive in reality. The file system can’t handle that, and simply give up.

Right click the partition > Properties > Tab Extra > Error Check. Be sure to check the first checkbox for automatic repair.

This worked. To be sure, I deleted the downloaded data (may be corrupt), and emptied the Recycle bin. Then I went on downloading, but the problem returned. I did it again, and it worked. But the third time the error check simply stopped at some point.

So I tried a disk editor (i.c. Paragon Partition Manager). It had trouble recognising the disk and took a long time to start up. Then I could right click the partition, and do an error check. (click on “Apply” after doing this).

This worked a few times too. But at a third time, Paragon simply refused to start up.

So I turned off the PC, disconnected the data-disk in the PC, and started again. Paragon could start now. I could create a Rescue Disk in Paragon on a Dvd. I turned off the PC, reconnected the disk, and started the PC again, with the disk inserted. Paragon started from Dvd now, looking almost the same as the Windows-version. I was happy it started at all. I could do an error check for the partition. (click Apply) I removed the Dvd, rebooted, and Windows saw all partitions on the drive again.

I deleted the last downloaded data, emptied the recycle bin, and set uTorrent to use a different drive for downloaded data. Problem solved.

Tip: don’t delete data until the file system problem is completely solved. Occasionally Explorer saw all folders again. So I immediately deleted suspected corrupt files. But this crashed Explorer again. Deleting means moving to the recycle bin, and mean using a corrupt file system. This does not work.

What will happen, if your PC has only one disk, like laptops? Probably the whole system will crash, and you won’t be able to restart it. With a bit of luck, the Error Check will start automatically at the reboot of the system. But it may fail just like the windows version of the error check. You may try a rescue disk like Paragon’s. But if it doesn’t work, you loose all data AND your Windows.

Conclusion: keep your system healthy, and don’t stress it’s limits like I did. A computer is only a computer, and is never completely bug-free. You may loose all your data if you misuse uTorrent to explore the computers outer limits.

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