Windows 8 Problems with Dual Boot Systems
If you are using a dual boot system, Windows 8 and Linux or another version of Windows, you may end up running into issues.
One of the latest features that Microsoft has integrated into Windows 8 is the new Fast Startup feature that is activated by default. Windows 8 caches files on the hard drive during shutdown to speed up the start up time during the next boot. When you shut down, your system makes use of the Fast Start up feature by caching data, while a reboot does not make use of the feature.
Windows 8 appears to cache information about the file system and the FAT and NTFS drives connected to the PC when it prepares the system for Fast Startup. That’s not a problem if you are only using a single operating system on your computer, The problem here is that Windows does not recognize changes made to a partition of a connected drive. You can easily test that by shutting down Windows 8 and booting into a Linux or another Windows system on the same computer. When you write files to a partition recognized by Windows 8, and boot into the operating system afterwards, you will notice that the files are not there.
Why are files not there? Because of the caching that Windows 8 does. You may now think that it is enough to reboot the system to make the files visible but that does not appear to work either. While you can make them visible by disconnecting the hard drive and reconnecting it after rebooting the system – which only works if the files are not saved on the primary partition – they are often not readable or writable.
A repair of the file system may work in some cases, but it may also mean that some files will get lost in the process or at least corrupted so that you can’t use them anymore.
We can shutdown Windows completely with the command shutdown.exe /s /t 0 which bypasses the caching. The easiest way to use the option is to create a new shortcut on your desktop by right-clicking on it and selecting New > Shortcut from the options. Enter the command as the target and save it. A click on the shortcut from now on will shut down the computer completely so that you do not run into dual-booting issues.
The second option that you have is to disable Fast Startup. You do that in the following way:
- Press the Windows key to open the start screen
- Enter Power and click on the Power Options result shown here.
- Click on Choose what the power buttons do on the left
- Scroll down until you see Shutdown settings
- Locate the Turn on fast startup (recommended) setting
- Uncheck the box
- Click Save changes
You need to click on Change settings that are currently unavailable at the top before you can make the change.
Important: Some Linux distributions like Fedora 17 are able to detect the new state of a NTFS partition and will only allow read access to the partitions in this case. Others do not have the protection yet.