Skip to comments.WindowsXP Gurus - I Need Your Help
Posted on 01/24/2008 6:32:07 AM PST by savedbygrace
I need help. Out of the blue, my WindowsXP (SP2) system has gone crazy. It is frequently giving me a warning message in the System Tray that says:
Windows - Delayed Write Failed Windows was unable to save all the data for the file D:/$BitMap. The data has been lost. This error may be caused by a failure of your computer hardware or network connection. Please try to save this file elsewhere.
That file is apparently hidden, but revealing hidden files doesn't show it.
My WinXP volume is on C:/ and the D:/ drive volume is for data files.
I've googled for help, and done everything that Microsoft and others have suggested. Nothing helps. This began suddenly.
Any ideas? Any other info you need before you can help me?
Make sure you have a backup of the data on your D: drive. If this is an internal drive then it could be going bad.
I should add that the warning message always points to that same file, D:/$BitMap. Never any other file.
Also, I built this computer myself, from parts. Don’t know if that’s relevant, but I wanted to point out that it’s not a brand, like a Dell or something, so I can’t call the computer maker, because that’s me.
a disk that is FAILING
Get your data backed up NOW, if you haven't already done so.
Get your data backed up, and replace that disk.
DON'T WAIT for something bad to happen.
It's already happening.
I would only add that you should run chkdsk on the d: drive after doing a backup. This will id any bad sectors. If chkdsk doesn’t id any bad sectors, you may simply have a corrupt file.
Run chkdsk on your next reboot (consult your friendly help system for the how-to).
My first thought would be a hardware failure.
It would be your hard drive controller or your hard drive. It might also be a corruptied partition, if your D: drive is a partition, rather than a separate physical drive.
Back up all essential data to external drive/CD/DVD.
Then run some hardware checks.
If I disabled Indexing on both disk volumes, rebooted, then re-enabled Indexing, would that refresh the Indexes?
I ran chkdsk on both volumes last night. I have no idea what errors were found because it booted into Window after it finished and didn’t show me a log. (I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 11pm last night, and it appeared the chkdsk was going to take another hour or so, so I powered down the display and went to bed.
Is this an external hard drive? The error message you received usually occurs when the communication between the motherboard and the drive is interrupted. You may have a bad cable or a loose connection. Make sure all of your cables are securely seated on both ends. If the problem continues, you may want to try replacing the cables. If that does not work, you should probably run some diagnostics against your hard drive to see if it is going bad.
We need far more information than this. System configuration info, hardware specs, a list of installed programs, updates, etc. Run the free tool Belarc Advisor will give you most of that info. Free user-level, user-friendly tool.
If you wanted on off the cuff guess, I’d say you have a program attempting to write to D:. I’ve seen quite a few XP machines with the oh-so-annoying and system-abuse ‘Waiting to write backup to blah-drive’ in the system tray. 95% of the time, their cd or dvd packet writer software has been configured to either prompt user to backup up or complete a prior attempt at a backup to media(cd/dvd disk).
Need way more info to be sure though.
Your drive is going bad. Save your stuff and put a new one in while you still can.
Here’s a free antispyware program that fixes some problems that many don’t. I had a similar problem and after dozens of searches this was the only thing that fixed it.
One more thing,
What sort of hardware configuration do you have going on?
Number of physical hard drives.
IDE, SATA, SCSI?
Any RAID configuration involved?
Not backing up a disk of data you want - on any computer system - is a mistake for which you may or may not pay. Defrag the disk. If defrag finds disk errors the system will attempt to repair them on the next boot. DO NOT RUN DEFRAG BEFORE BACKING UP. If the disk is going, asking it to run a defrag may kill it.
Go to the disk manufacturers web site and download their SMART tools. Western Digital, for instance, uses Data Lifeguard Tools. The SMART tool should give you an idea of the overall health of the disk.
Google and run "Rootkit Revealer" ... you should find it on a Microsoft.com web page. Rootkits live by the $ sign.
Replace the disk.
(See this Wikipedia article on the Windows NTFS file system, metafiles section)
After making sure you have a good backup
If the disk check doesn't come out perfectly clean, repeat the same procedure until it does. If it keeps finding errors, or finds more each time, then the drive's a goner.
I second the SAS recommendation. Sometimes these messages are due to malware and not actual impending hard drive failure. I would run the chkdsk with /f switch + do an SAS scan, to see what can be ruled out.
I ran into a similar problem when a disk was full, at which point additional saves corrupted the file system.
Before attempting any further saves on the drive, pull up some data files, music files, ZIP files, etc. to make sure they are not corrupt (I discovered the corruption when a music file started halfway though a different song).
If the file system has not been corrupted, do a full backup, then copy some data to a second drive or CD and delete it from the first drive to create additional free space (I like to keep 10-20% of a disk free for performance reasons).
Let us know how this works out for you -
It's not that index. The $Bitmap file is used by the NTFS file system to organize the raw data on the drive. If it's messed up, then Windows doesn't know where all the pieces of your files are.
Run the diskcheck without the sector-by-sector scan first, which is faster. That will repair the file system, if possible, but won't usually take hours to do so.
Nope, different type of index. The one you are referring to is for file searches.
I ran chkdsk on both volumes last night. I have no idea what errors were found because it booted into Window after it finished and didnt show me a log.
Make sure you run chkdsk with the "/f" switch (i.e.: chkdsk /f) in order to fix errors it finds. You can find the results of the scan in the Event Viewer under administrative tools in the Control Panel.
I’ve seen this often when a USB external drive is disconnected but obviously there’s a direct cause there as cached disk writes can’t be completed.
If it’s an internal drive then there should be any ‘good’ reason for the error message, only bad.
might start here
general advice - google the exact message and you’ll find all the advice you want.
I am no computer guru but chance would have it that I too recently began getting errors that “delayed write” failed.
Let me tell you what causes it and I can point you in the direction of how to fix it.
“Delayed write” is a function of the USB port, I think. You get this error when something is plugged into a USB port that does not match the version of the USB port. IE...there’s now a version 2.0 for the USB port but my computer’s USB port is geared for an earlier version. The later versions go faster.
So I purchased a wireless receiver that plugs into a computer’s USB port, a fancey-dancy...faster than a speeding bullet wireless receiver which I immediately plugged into the USB port. That’s when I started getting the DELAYED WRITE messages.
Now this DELAYED WRITE message doesn’t come up all the time. Usually you’ll get this when your computer’s doing something else and somehow whatever’s going on with that USB port is DELAYED until the computer is freed up. However, this DELAYED WRITE feature only works on the later version of the USB software. Evidently, heh, the super speed stuff allows a “save” by somehow “delaying” the write until the computer is free. Allowing you, the user, to move along without a computer tied up doing stuff. I’m guessing here.
Anyhoo, I did a search on Microsoft’s XP site...”DELAYED WRITE” I typed because, duh, that’s an error message I’d never seen before.
It seems you can click on the drive, working from memory here, and stop it from doing a DELAYED WRITE. I think it’s under “policies” or some such.
Anyway, I did that and boom, no problems since. Yeah, at times I have to wait for the computer and I would add there’s adapters to upgrade your USB port.
Again, I am NO computer guru but I did just happen to have this problem and it was really awful. Excel and Word was fracturing the files trying to be saved on that DELAYED WRITE and it was almost a disaster. I lost some really important data until I figured it out.
If I’m not right about the above, at least I hope I’ve pointed you in the right direction.
so I cant call the computer maker, because thats me.
There is indeed lots of talent here on FR
I finally got everything working again after getting rid of it, it was a mistake. All I could get was a windows setting of 256 MB for virtual memory. After several workarounds I gave up. No amount of searching or tweaking would get it back. It did effect many programs.
I did see where you should move the page file to it’s own partition and drive so I decided to try that just to get better performance and not to solve the problem. Had an old 20 GB Win98 drive that I installed as a slave ( was a noisy SOB after sitting around unused for 4 years ). Went to check the settings on my C drive just to move them to the new E drive and for some reason I was able to set the C drive page file to whatever I wanted. Problem solved by doing something nobody else identified.
Download windows defender and run it. It is free. Get the latest patches.
bump for later
You have had a lot of advice. Since it is occuring in the same file it is probably a sector going bad on the disc. You can try the various malware scans but the first thing I would do is take an image of the hard drive and transfer it to a brand new drive.
Once you have done this, you can do all of the scans or cures you want with the safety of having a back up that not includes your data but also your operating system, drivers and programs.
Saving data is the most important but tracking down and installing all of your programs and drivers is a huge PIA.
If it is just malware, you can use the extra drive as back up in case of trouble.
My 2 cents.
I discovered just yesterday what I believe was a conflict with Defender and AVG (paid full security version). I uninstalled Defender. I kept receiving Msiinstaller warning message in my System event viewer. During the uninstall I was required to close Outlook. I presume both were monitoring my email and that was the conflict. So far so good—clean event viewer.
Best page to do research with MicroSoft Valued People (MVP) expertise.
Look out when using Western Digital tools. Most are for IDE only and wont work with SATA, even with their newer ones. Most likely wont cause a problem but WD doesn't identify them clearly. Will probably just waste someones time if they have a SATA drive and try to use the WD tools.
This seems to address some of what you are asking and gives some insight into what some of the solutions you have been given.
Moving the page file to another partition on the same drive doesn't help anything. It even may be slower since the heads have to traverse all the way to the new partition in order to read and write the page file. Leave it on your boot drive unless you get a separate physical drive, preferably one not hooked to the same cable as your current drive.
You need to backup to a external disk if you can, it may be too late.
It looks like the computer cannot organize or read some portion of the disk. I would try to copy your critical files and docs to a data CD now, and then try to back up your system to a external drive using a mirror program.
At least save your docs and good stuff in case it fails completely. I would then try to use the scan disk and set it to do a complete scan and surface scan with the repair option. Do not defrag! You will lose it all if you do.
What’s your hardware profile on those drives? Any RAID, external/internal USB, eSATA, etc. stuff going on?
Like others, I’ve seen this message as the sectors on a drive start to head south and the drive is reaching the end of its life.
ping for later
Here’s a great tool that quite a few people use for data recovery, forensic, etc. Here’s a cut and paste about the Opensource software(free) TestDisk from CGSecurity. Runs on Winblowz, Linux/Unix, DOS, MacOSx.
This software will help you sooner or later. Also, PhotoRec is included, read on site for more info
TestDisk is OpenSource software and is licensed under the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL).
TestDisk is a powerful free data recovery software! It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy.
* Fix partition table, recover deleted partition
* Recover FAT32 boot sector from its backup
* Rebuild FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 boot sector
* Fix FAT tables
* Rebuild NTFS boot sector
* Recover NTFS boot sector from its backup
* Fix MFT using MFT mirror
* Locate ext2/ext3 Backup SuperBlock
TestDisk has features for both novices and experts. For those who know little or nothing about data recovery techniques, TestDisk can be used to collect detailed information about a non-booting drive which can then be sent to a tech for further analysis. Those more familiar with such procedures should find TestDisk a handy tool in performing onsite recovery.
That is best but if we're talking IDE drives many motherboards only have two IDE channel connectors on board and the 2nd one usually has CD or DVD ROMs, no place for a hard drive. Many of the new motherboards only have one IDE connector. SATA is now becoming the standard and IDE looks like it's going the way of ISA slots and A drives.
Mac user here (but as usual I have experience on PCs).
My old Mac HD died and I foolishly let it get worse and worse before doing anything about, and lost some data. Dumb.
Now I have a new Mac system with Time Machine - and an external HD for backup. IMHO there is a case to be made for considering HDs to be consumables with limited lifetime. Just figure on buying a new HD every two or three years - and buy a bigger drive every time. That way you never have to even think about deleting files to make room.
Testdisk is fantastic for recovering drives, deleted partition, etc. But, AFAIK, is doesn’t recover data lost to bad sectors marked bad by windows.
Now, please quit posting about testdisk, you’re taking money out of my pocket. LOL