I have a server that is reporting some error messages related to NTFS corruption.

It reports that there is possible corruption within d:\$mft

However I have not come across any corruption, or unreadable files etc.

My question is, how is the $mft corruption detected, and what is its potential impact?

My guess is the following:

  • The $MFT is essentially a relational database that contains files and permissions etc
  • If we see $MFT corruption as corruption at the level of each of these records, then it is perfectly plausible that $MFT corruption would only affect the reading and editing of the file that has an associated $MFT record that is corrupted. (Obviously simplified to aid understanding)
  • I will only come across the unreadable file when I happen to try and open/edit the file whos "pointer" in the $MFT is corrupt. (Therefore answering my question about how MFT corruption is detected).
  • If this file was unimportant to me, I could happily ignore this $MFT corruption? For example if it wasn't a critical database file etc

The reason I ask the question, is that I have read CHKDSK can often fail to repair these errors and I want to know if I can safely "ignore" the error, and have time to take other action, or safely ignore etc?

As with all corruption I need to rule out an underlying disk problem, as opposed to "logical level" corruption.


If this is any type of production system where important data resides....I'd take a full backup pronto!

then I'd do the chkdsk /f to fix the errors. You may lose some information in the process but then again, it might repair your broken logical disk structure.

Be advised, that you might be looking at the start of a physical disk problem. And you may lose everything and have to go from scratch. Your backups will be helpful at that point to get you back to where you were.

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