Fourth hard reboot, power button required, of Windows Vista twice with data loss

I’ve been running Windows Vista for several months now and I’ve now run into at least four instances where I’ve had to hard reset, meaning press and hold the power button, to power off then power on the machine. In two of those instances, I’ve experienced data loss where text source code files I had been working where completely replaced with all nulls (hex 00)! Opening the files in notepad looked like the view you see in a hex editor with columns of zeros. In each case, the files seemed to be roughly the same size they were prior to the corruption. Now, before jumping to the virus conclusion this machine isn’t used for email nor web browsing and UAC is on and running in all it’s gory er, glory and it’s current with Windows Update.

While the machine has RAID 0 neither the OS nor the files which were corrupted were located on that drive. Suffice us to say I never experienced data loss as a result of powering off a Windows XP machine under similar circumstances however, I now dread the consequences with each reset of Vista and hope that it won’t become a pattern.

16 thoughts on “Fourth hard reboot, power button required, of Windows Vista twice with data loss

  1. Sounds like a driver problem. I’ve had no hard locks with Vista using it full time since RC1.

  2. Tim said: "Sounds like a driver problem."
    I’d be less worried about any potential driver problem, and more concerned that Vista isn’t coping at all well with being hard reset. This is a common enough thing to have to do, that data loss of the nature that Steve reports should never be expected.

  3. Mick,
    I like your thinking. LOL!
    Given Vista didn’t ship with RAID drivers for this machine (even though it’s brand new) and I had to use the Windows XP CD to install you could be right.

  4. David,
    I’ll admit I was completely stunned when it happened having not had a problem like that ever before in Windows (any version). The null file problem has now occurred two separate and distinct times and taken out text source code files in exactly the same manner each time.

  5. Wow, that seriously doesn’t sound nice.
    I’m glad I cherrypicked my hardware from vendors who usually deliver drivers on time. But I guess you kind of have to build your own computer for that.

  6. I’ve experienced exactly the same. Twice. No Raid involved, just a standard Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop.
    Never seen it on any previous OS. A bug in Vista?

    …read about the Julian’s fight with Vista. He was defeated after 5 rounds. Let’s see how much you’ll resist… 🙂
    OTOH, IMHO, after 1st and 2nd try with other’s zombies perhaps is better to put them in a corner (not necessary in the towel’s one – even if I admit that is tempting…) and focus on something in that you are efficient for ex. take care about _your_ zombies? ( 😉 )
    As an aside, why don’t you make public your zombies? IMHO, the RAD means nowadays Rapid Application DEPLOYMENT and here these creatures can play an important role…
    m. th.

  8. I’ve seen Vista freeze twice. Even the mouse cursour wouldn’t move. Hadn’t seen that for years 🙂 Both incidents happened when using Internet Explorer. Haven’t seen it for about two months, so I guess it has been fixed.

  9. That is probably related to how Vista fakes the shutdown by simply suspending instead… I made a quick test on my father-in-law’s brand new laptop that came preloaded with Vista: it would take him 10 seconds to "shutdown" (that is, suspend!) Vista. Exactly the same amount that my fine tuned XP does a *full* shutdown! And boot up time was not that bad on my PC either: as long as one deactivates most of the never used services, my XP 2 year old laptop can do a full boot up in only 10 seconds more than Vista takes to be fully operational on that other laptop!
    I have a visceral hate for Vista! Or any OS that takes up more HD space than my <b>whole</b> OS+Office+Tools+Dev environment is bound to be <b>excessively</b> bloated! The only place for Vista on my PC is on a VM kept on an external HDD and for any kind of Vista specific tests only: I’m glad to use Microsoft’s last known good windows, namely XP and if they had a 2003 Workstation, that would be what I would use instead! I use 2003 server on some VMs too as it can be fine-tuned to be faster/use less disk space than XP and don’t use that as my main OS only because of some programs such as PerfectDisk that have a huge price tag for server based versions. Don’t feel like spending quite a few hundred dollars to upgrade that and other software that is licensed for use on a workstation only…
    Do yourself a favor, Steve, and do the upgrade that Mick suggested: You’ll be happy to get your computer back! 🙂

  10. Fernando,
    This was no shutdown, I’d been using the machine and it became largely unresponsive. I use Synergy to share my mouse and keyboard and that kept working but all other windows had stopped responding and Ctrl-Alt-Del didn’t work. Clicking anywhere on the desktop/explorer had no response.

  11. Steve,
    I had the exact same problem years ago with WinNT4. If a system crash occurred while I have an open .pas file in the Delphi IDE after reboot the file will have the same size but will be filled with hex 0s. I haven’t experienced this on XP. So this is probably some bug in NTFS that crept back in Vista ;).
    Maybe the best is to just run Vista in a VM under Ubuntu ;).

  12. Well I have to hard shutdown my laptop and that is running XP. It just keeps wanting to save my settings and eventually if I leave it long enough (6 hours) it blue screens.
    I really need to do a fresh XP install

  13. I’ve had this same problem with NT4 and Win2K – if it bluescreened with Delphi open one or two of the open files would be filled with 0x0s. For years I thought it was only me…

  14. Wow, so that makes four of us who have seen this zero’ing problem. That’s got me seriously scratching my head. If nothing it makes me thing I’m likely to see it again which is not good.

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