Microsoft has done it again! During the last Windows 10 upgrade, it has overwritten the user configuration and enabled “Fast Startup”. Why in the world is Microsoft messing around with user preferences?
To be sure, I always turn off Hibernation and Fast Startup, since both interfere with mounting Windows partitions under Linux. But that’s not the only reason I turn off that nuisance.
When using Hibernation or Fast Startup, Windows essentially dumps the memory contents of the PC onto disk. The next time Windows boots it just needs to load one large file back into memory, without having to load each kernel and driver file individually. Sounds simple and neat? Depending on the PC and the disk/SSD, this method can significantly speed up the boot process. But is it really worth saving that time?
Just imagine a sector of the partition that holds the dump file is unreadable, or produces errors. This will most likely render your PC unbootable. Now try to recover your data. You may find some third party Windows data recovery tools for $$.
If you dual-boot or have a bootable Linux stick, you may want to try to mount the NTFS partition under Linux to recover the data, or even try to fix the problem. Unfortunately, Fast Startup and Hibernation renders the entire partition unmountable.
I found the following command that supposedly helps in mounting NTFS partitions that have become unmountable (I haven’t tried yet):
sudo ntfsfix /dev/XY
The above command fixes some common errors on NTFS partitions, as described in the man page. I would be very careful messing around with NTFS partitions and files.
It seems I’m not the only one suspicious of Fast Startup and Hibernation causing data loss – see this thread at answers.microsoft.com. One of the comments raised an interesting concern: When Hibernation or Fast Startup is enabled, the computer writes the entire memory content to disk. Today a PC has easily 8 or 16 or more GByte memory, and writing such large files to SSD every time one “turns off” the computer may wear out the SSD faster than anticipated, resulting in performance problems or worse.
I’m using a Linux-based backup utility to backup both Linux and Windows partitions to a remote server. Today I wanted to run a backup of one of my Windows data disks – not the system disk – and I wasn’t able to mount that disk on Linux. Lucky I remembered that I had “upgraded” Windows 10 and that Microsoft has likely overwritten my own settings.
When will Microsoft learn to respect its users?