Every time I start my computer, a message comes up before Windows XP starts saying that the 160GB IBM/Hitachi hard disk drive needs to be checked for consistency. Windows then checks the files and everything continues normally. This happens every time I start the computer.
The most likely explanation is that the system is not writing back all of the cached hard-disk-drive information before it turns off the computer. There is a patch for this bug in Service Pack 1 for Windows XP (SP1), so either download and install it, or obtain the SP1 CD from Microsoft. It is a very large service pack that would take a very long time to download on a dial-up 56K-modem connection.
The problem could also occur on a multi-boot system running Windows XP, Windows 98, or Windows Me. If the Windows 98/Me system is missing a large IDE cache patch for the problem, it would also fail to write back the cached information before shutting the system down.
On some older computers, you may have to reflash the BIOS. If necessary, see the BIOS page on this site.
There could also be a hardware problem with the drive itself, so use the free diagnostic utility provided by the drive's manufacturer to check it.
There could also be a problem with the drive's partition record - especially if the drive was partitioned by using a third-party partitioning utility such as PartitionMagic or Partition Manager. For instance, although problems only usually start occurring with drives or partitions over 64GB in size (see IDE1.htm#fdisk on this site), Microsoft does not recommend using the FAT32 file system for partitions over 32GB in size. (NTFS is Windows XP's native file system, but it can use FAT32 if upgraded from Windows 98, or FAT32 is opted for during the installation.) Indeed, Windows XP's own partition-creation utility that is run from the Windows CD, will refuse to create a partition larger than 32GB using FAT32. Other third-party partition utilities can create larger FAT32 partitions than that, and one or more partitions in excess of Microsoft's limit, or the real problematic limit of 64GB, could therefore be the cause of the problem.
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