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How Microsoft puts your data at risk

56% of data loss due to system & hardware problems - Ontrack
Data loss is painful and all too common. Why? Because your file system stinks. Microsoft's NTFS (used in XP & Vista) with its de facto monopoly is the worst offender. But Apple and Linux aren't any better.

Everyone knows what the problems are AND high-end systems fixed many of them years ago. Yet only one desktop vendor is moving forward, and they aren't based in Redmond. Here's the scoop.

Y2k got fixed. File systems didn't.
That may sound harsh. But with all the lip-service paid to innovation - especially in Redmond - you'd think that sometimes we'd see some, especially in core technology. After all, more than half of all data loss is caused by system and hardware problems that the file system could recover from - but doesn't.

Instead we're using 20 year old technology that, like the 2 digit year - which led to the Y2K drama - was designed for a world of scarce storage, small disks and limited CPU power. Unlike Y2K though, we are living with, and paying for, these compromises every day with lost data, corrupted files, lame RAID solutions and hinky backup products that seem to fail almost as often as they work.

File systems? I should care because . . .
You rely on your file system every time you save or retrieve a document. It is the file system that keeps track of all the information on your computer. If the file system barfs, your data is the victim. And you get to pick up the pieces.

As documented in my last two posts (see How data gets lost and 50 ways to lose your data) PC and commodity server storage stacks are prone to data corruption and loss, many of them silent. Only your file system is positioned to see and fix these problems. It doesn't, of course, but it could.

And you enterprise data center folks, smirking over the junk consumers get, don't be too smug. Some of your costly high-end storage servers have NTFS or Linux FS's under the hood as well. And no, RAID doesn't fix these problems. According to Kroll Ontrack, only a quarter of data loss instances are due to human error - and many of those errors happen in the panic after a loss is discovered.

Hey, I thought machines were supposed to be good at keeping track of stuff? Only if they are built to.

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