Windows repairs ntfs drive successfully — can and should I check for corruption?

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QUESTION :

Occasionally, Windows decides that my very large NTFS drive is “dirty” and needs to be repaired. It does so successfully, but the experience always makes me uncomfortable—are all of my files really still intact? Were any of them modified or deleted?

The files on this drive are backed up once every few days, so I’m not concerned about actually losing (much) data. However, I don’t keep old backups indefinitely, so I’d hate for the originals to get silently corrupted without my knowledge.

Short of comparing/checksumming every file on the disk against my backup copy (which would take days to complete), is there any way to check for file corruption? Is it possible to see what files or directories were modified in the Windows repair, so I could just inspect those?

Note: I do not believe the drive is failing. These repairs usually occur after sudden shutdowns, or when software on my Mac and Windows partitions doesn’t want to play nicely together.

ANSWER :

If you are doing incremental backups, you should be able see if existing files
are the same on the disk and in the backup.

If a non-updated file suddenly came up as different in size or date or even
as missing, then the disk was damaged and these files need to be restored
from backup.

For files that have the same attributes, you may assume that they were not
damaged, with a very high probability of being correct.

No guarantees ever exist, so it might be a good idea to, very infrequently,
put one backup aside for longer-term storage.
This would happen naturally whenever you buy a new backup disk.

On the other hand, be very careful if your backup ever comes up with
a disk error. I would advise to have more than one backup media,
in rotation.

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