Recovering Data with NTFS

NTFS views each I/O operation that modifies a system file on the NTFS volume as a transaction, and manages each one as an integral unit. Once started, the transaction is either completed or, in the event of a disk failure, rolled back (such as when the NTFS volume is returned to the state it was in before the transaction was initiated).

To ensure that a transaction can be completed or rolled back, NTFS records the suboperations of a transaction in a log file before they are written to the disk. When a complete transaction is recorded in the log file, NTFS performs the suboperations of the transaction on the volume cache. After NTFS updates the cache, it commits the transaction by recording in the log file that the entire transaction is complete.

Once a transaction is committed, NTFS ensures that the entire transaction appears on the volume, even if the disk fails. During recovery operations, NTFS redoes each committed transaction found in the log file. Then NTFS locates the transactions in the log file that were not committed at the time of the system failure and undoes each transaction suboperation recorded in the log file. Incomplete modifications to the volume are prohibited.

NTFS uses the Log File service to log all redo and undo information for a transaction. NTFS uses the redo information to repeat the transaction. The undo information enables NTFS to undo transactions that are not complete or that have an error.



NTFS uses transaction logging and recovery to guarantee that the volume structure is not corrupted. For this reason, all system files remain accessible after a system failure. However, user data can be lost because of a system failure or a bad sector.