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If data was corrupted, could it still open and copy okay?

Posted on 2010-11-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi All,

Here is the situation.  We have three identical computers (same specs, bought together) that our volunteers use in our food banks.  They are all brand new, same hardware, and Windows 7 on all of them.  They all are yielding Event ID 55 NTFS errors in the event viewer on a somewhat regular basis.  

We exchanged one under warranty just to be safe (we were given another exact replacement) and after a few days of use it started giving the ntfs error also.  

All three machines run identical hardware and software.  The only real thing imported to them was the data that all machines use.  It's the same data set on all three, about 5 GB of data that includes various contact information, resource material for our clients, and pictures of each family we serve.  

We are failing to understand how three machines (one which was replaced under warranty) can have the exact same error.  It pretty much rules out a hardware problem.  That leaves either actual data corruption or the fact the error is a false positive.

We spoke to Microsoft and they said they have encountered an issue of false positives on Windows 7 machines before and the development team is working on a fix.  However, there are of course legitimate event 55's also.  

The question is, the 5 Gb or so of data that we moved onto all three of these new machines . . . could the data (the common link on them) be corrupted and causing the issue?  We wouldn't think so as the data resided on the old computers without a problem and we are able to access the data, use it, etc.  It also copied to the machines okay and backs up okay.  We also don't encounter any issues when working with the data (Docs open okay, PSTs open okay, access database opens okay, etc).

It's not really plausible to run the machines without the data to test as we are a volunteer food bank and have very limited resources and need our machines during the day.  The machines run fine, no errors during use or any GUI errors.  These errors are only observed in the event viewer.  We have tried updating drivers, etc.


Thanks!



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Question by:Jsmply
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by:Psy053
ID: 34185891
Have you tried the MS KB 982927 patch you've previously posted about?
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by:akahan
ID: 34185896
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34185897
According to Microsoft, the tech support rep says that hotfix was an early fix but does not completely cure the problem and it will be addressed with a future update and/or service pack.  That being so, the rep said not to install it.  That being so, we are trying to exhaust all options to narrow it down.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34185900
akahan: Yes, none of it seems to apply here.  Also note this error does not occur when performing Windows Backups.  It gets logged at random times.
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by:Psy053
ID: 34185924
Just out of curiosity, do you have, and have you tried disabling, real-time AV scanning?

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by:akahan
ID: 34185925
Is it really random, or does it occur when you're doing a lot of writing to or reading from disk (similar to what would be going on during a backup)?
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34185935
Thanks for the replies. Yes we have Norton on all our machines. They donate licenses to us so its a no brainer there to use them. It does not seem to effect it.

As to if its truly random, it seems like it occurs with no pattern. The machine is used for basic tasks, the only real heavy disk writting or reading would probably be when backing up (or restoring) data and both those operations go smooth and don't trigger anything.
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by:garycase
ID: 34185956
"... If data was corrupted, could it still open and copy okay? "   ==>  To directly answer your question ... Yes.    If the data is corrupted, but the physical storage medium is not, you would simply be copying corrupted data;  and it may very well open just fine as long as the specific operation you're doing doesn't depend on the corrupted information.

HOWEVER ... I doubt that's the case here.    I read a good bit about this error; and it's fairly clear it's a false positive in Windows 7.    It seems to be associated with the use of VSS, but not in all cases.     It's unlikely that it's "real" corruption -- as evidenced by the fact that your systems are working fine and present no issues.

Since this is just an event viewer issue, I'd simply ignore it -- and assume Microsoft will indeed fix this with a future Windows update.

Note that a couple of the threads I found on this problem indicate it is, in some cases, associated with Symantec's Endpoint protection -- if you're using this (or any of the Norton security suites), you may want to try a different product.    But I doubt this is an issue you need to worry about.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34185983
Hi Gary - Always a pleasure to see your name in a thread. Thanks for the info.  Going to your scenario, yes it would physically copy . . . But if it copied and opened okay (because the physical medium is okay) would it be able to generate the event 55?  It seems like the event 55 corresponds to ntfs corruption, is that the same as if the data were corrupted?  Hopefully that makes sense.

Anyway, yes it seems like its a widespread issue, but we can't narrow a pattern. Although it might be VSS related, any ideas as to why one system is effected and another isn't?  These three machines here are affected but we have others in the office (same softwate and windows 7) that do NOT give the event 55. Very curious.  We just want to ensure this is truly a false positive. The machines contain important data and business depends on them. They are backed up every day (data files only, NOT system files or images) and just want to ensure the data is safe.  

Lastly, do you have a link to the symantec endpoint threads you read?  We have searched google and technet exhaustively but have not found any about symantec/norton.



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by:garycase
ID: 34186101
I've been reading quite a few threads and don't recall exactly which one first mentioned the Symantec association, but here's one of them:  http://www.eventid.net/display.asp?eventid=55&eventno=1210&source=Ntfs&phase=1.      I also found some references to Avira  ...  but after a lot of reading I've concluded neither of these apparent associations are really the issue.

I DID find this interesting quote: "... What ultimately solved the event id 55 Ntfs errors was restoring power options high performance plan settings to default on all affected machines."     This was from the following thread:  http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/c9bbd077-9b27-4a3c-815a-f5a87f2a914e   in the post at 3:57pm on 7 Jan.

... it certainly seems worth trying changing your power settings to see if this helps.



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by:Jsmply
ID: 34189500
Thanks Gary. Read through the Symantec posts, it looks like they resolved the issue . . . But its still noteworthy as yet another thing that can generate false positives on Windows 7. Double checked today (we can only get on these machines when users have us work on them, they are all mobile used in the field) on one of the machines and the error seems to occur about every day, usually 4-5 times in a row (within seconds) then doesn't occur again for 24 hours or so. Couldn't really find a related cause. Seems to be random. Can try the power plan on this one.
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by:akahan
ID: 34189598
The "once every 24 hours" suggests strongly a correlation with some particular daily activity.  Understand that you can't find a related cause, but does it occur at about the same time every day?  I wonder if it might be related to some piece of software attempting a daily update, e.g., antivirus software looking for new definitions, Adobe running a daily check for new version/update, Java running a check for new versions, etc.  

Is it possible to provide a complete list of what's running on the machines?  (A Hijackthis log is a good comprehensive way to do this.)
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34189640
Akahan, no the times do not match up. It might be early morning one day and late PM the next. We could try to get a hijackthis log the next time one of our users brings in a machine with the symptom. Unless a typed list would suffice, we use pretty standard stuff on all machines.
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by:Iain MacMillan
ID: 34189905
have you had the systems in the internet and updated with all existing Windows 7 (and IE8) patches from the Updates website?  Your Symantec AV should also be updated daily (and have any patches applied), if you don't have a permanent internet link, you can download the update file from home and add to a USB stick to copy and run on all the systems.

have you also tried disabling VSS, if you are using the systems in a very basic way, and using the same 5GB of data, you may not be generating a lot of file changes to warrant having it running -- disable the service called Volume Shadow Service by opening the Services function under Admin Tools in Control Panel.  Wouldn't hurt to run an Admin command prompt and type CHKDSK c: /r and see if it checks the disk ok on the next reboot.

what are you using to backup the data on each system?  Is your Office suite also up to date with Service Packs and patches?
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34189966
The os, office suite, and av are fully up to date. We run an online backup on all mobile machines (carbonite) which depends on vss. Some of the more savy users also backup to removable media via batch scripts. This same setup is on our machines with the symptoms AND the ones without the symptoms.

 
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34190081
Also some info that may or may not be noteworthy, but chkdsk does NOT seem to run upon restarting as a result of these events. We really never had experience with this event until Windows 7, but our research shows that in all flavors of Windows, wouldn't a true occurence of this event/corruption cause a chkdsk to run upon rebooting?  

Also, we were told by the computer manufacturer that an event 55 is file system corruption, but not neccesarily the file itself (which is what this question is about). To clarify, would a corrupt word doc or PST generate this error?
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by:akahan
ID: 34190130
I think ultimately a Hijackthis log will be more helpful than a mere list of the software installed, because the Hijackthis log will disclose whether, for example, your installation of Acrobat (to take a hypothetical example) is configured to automatically check for updates every day, or whether it waits for the user to manually update it.  (If the former, it'll have Acrobat's automatic update process running in the background).

It might also be interesting to compare a hijackthis log from a machine that is exhibiting the bad behavior versus one that is not.  Presumably, the two logs should be virtually identical, and any differences will (hopefully!) stick out like big red thumbs.

Finally:  It wasn't completely clear, but I think you may have suggested that the machines that are having the problem are used in the field.  Are the ones having the problem, perhaps, connected to a network wirelessly when the problem occurs, while the ones that are not having the problems are always connected via an ethernet cable?  

If you have someone whose machine is having problems swap machines with someone whose machine is NOT having problems, do the problems stay with the person, or with the machine?  If they stay with the person, this would imply that they are doing something (like connecting to a slow network outside of your office) that is causing the problem.  It would be an interesting experiment, though I could understand that it might not be feasible.

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by:Jsmply
ID: 34190433
Thanks. Almost all machines connect  wirelessly. Only found one that uses exclusively ethernet cable connection and it only occured there a few times and seems to have stopped.

We can see if they are willing to switch, I doubt it though. They don't come in often enough at the same times.

Please see my previous post for some (possibly) relevant chkdsk info.
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by:Iain MacMillan
ID: 34190614
for CHKDSK to work from boot, when the command is issued from an Administrator Command Prompt, it should enter a flag in the registry, so on restart its kicked off.  You can also access this from the properties of your C drive from explorer, under the Tools tab, and click Error Checking and see what it tells you then.

You may also want to run the latest CCleaner's registry tool over one of the systems, and see how many potential faults it finds (you can save changes as a .REG file to roll-back if required).

http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/
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by:akahan
ID: 34190656
The fact that chkdsk doesn't initiate by itself on rebooting, and that all your data seems to be intact suggests pretty strongly that this is a false positive... but my sense is that this is what you already suspect, and you are looking for a way to be certain.

If your data files aren't being corrupted, then that leaves only your system files.  But if you run SFC (see this link:  http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1538-sfc-scannow-command-system-file-checker.html  ) and it finds nothing it wants to fix/change, then your system files aren't being corrupted, either.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34190737
Thanks.  IaniNIX, should an event 55 trigger an auto run of chkdsk on the next reboot?
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by:Iain MacMillan
ID: 34194790
CHKDSK should always be allowed to run/trigger, even if the system is it top health.  The fact that it is not is a minor concern.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34197769
If we manually schedule it, it does run without a problem.  The question was, the event 55 is not flagging it to run at reboot.  Should an event 55 be flagging a chkdsk at reboot?

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by:Iain MacMillan
ID: 34198079
i don't think so, usually if the SMART chip of the drive detects a certain percentage of read/write faults within the drive.

as Akahan said, it may just be a glitch with the OS, as long as your data is working, and your backups are sound, you may have to live with it.  the only thing i would check if you have the time, would be the quality of the SATA cables linking your drives to the mainboard.  I have seen similar errors with cables that are either inferior/cheap or been cable tied too much and squeezed.  Easy to test with some high quality SATA-II or III rated cables.  checking for a BIOS update may also update the SATA controller on the mainboard (just a theory that its not communicating well with Win 7).
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34198116
Thanks.  Supposed to hear back from MS today.
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by:akahan
ID: 34198372
I don't think it has anything to do with SMART (which is not a chip anyway.)

My understanding is that the only things that triggers a chkdsk at boot time are (1) the user telling the system to run a chkdsk at boot time, by, for example, using a chkdsk /f command on the system disk (which typically cannot be performed while the disk is in use by the operating system, and is therefore deferred to the next boot; an entry is made in the registry to record this), or  the volume's dirty bit being set, which happens if a logical inconsistency in the file system has been reported.  At boot time, autochk checks for both of these conditions, and runs chkdsk if it sees either one.

In other words, "events" do not trigger chkdsk at boot; rather, an observation that there appears to be actual disk corruption, typically in the form of mismatches between the metadata and the actual data, is what does it.

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by:garycase
ID: 34200572
Chkdsk is absolutely NOT associated with S.M.A.R.T.    ==> the drive's S.M.A.R.T. system will automatically relocate defective sectors & the OS won't even know it happened UNLESS there were no available spares and the resulting I/O operation failed.

As for whether the event 55 will trigger a Chkdsk => not if the resulting I/O was successful.    Since you're only seeing these in event viewer and there's no reported I/O error, it's not likely that it will trigger Chkdsk.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34200929
Thanks all.  So Microsoft is basically saying the event ID's are probably false.  They said that a valid event 55 typically comes from a hardware problem, an issue with the OS that effects the file system, or some type of malware.  They do NOT think (multiple reps confirmed) it could be caused by the user data (docs, access databases, PST's, etc) which was the original question here.  That being so, if the hardware has been changed (and we've seen it on more than one machine) that should rule out hardware . . . and the OS really shouldn't be it if it's on more than one machine (with different install media) and lastly it can't be data related (according to them) . .. . that doesn't leave much.  

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by:garycase
ID: 34202885
Agree ... this is a very perplexing (and I'm sure frustrating) issue.    From all the various threads I've looked at along the way, it's clearly not an isolated incident, yet there's no single "trigger" that reliably causes the issue (making it very hard to isolate -- probably why Microsoft hasn't yet got it resolved).

Have you had any luck with changing all the power settings to maximum with both sleep & hibernation disabled?   (and maybe even no hard drive spindown)
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34202925
Thanks for the reply Gary.  Just started making those various changes, will hopefully know soon if that helps.  We have tried that before though I believe without success (at least on some).  We are hoping to get one of the machines here for a few days and away from a user so we can test it extensively and try to simulate a problem.

Microsoft ended up saying they are leaving the support ticket unresolved, don't install any hotfixes for now and wait until SP1.  The level 2 tech (which took quite a while to get on the phone because they apparently have to call you, you can't be transferred to a level 2 tech) actually went as far as to say as long as you have no problems in Windows and no obvious errors (which he defined as "crashes, bluescreens, and so on") then he said to not worry about what's in the event viewer at all.  I was kind of surprised to get that from them.  

They also said they have no reliable way to differentiate between a real event 55 and a false positive if we don't get crashes or failures via chdsk or manufacturer diagnostics.  So the question we really want answered then is God forbid some of these event 55's are real . . . if are backups are running and giving no errors upon verification . . . is our data safe up until that point?  Obviously we can test a handful of files here and there but it isn't plausible to test 10+GB of data everyday until Microsoft sorts out the event 55 issue.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34202932
Oh and by the way, they seem to think so.  But some of their other answers didn't really instill confidence.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34210511
Okay for those of you still following . . . today we were able to generate this error on a BRAND new machine.  Similiar model (same chipset,processor,etc . . .  but just a different size laptop from the ones in question).  This machine was given similiar programs (anti-virus, MS Office, Adobe, etc) but a totally different dataset.  Just something totally random . . . we used about 20 GB of random media (pictures, videos, etc) that has nothing to do with the other datasets as a test.  While doing a large backup of the 20 GB to an external drive, we got 1400 occurances of this event!!!

We believe it's related to a Windows 7 bug indeed.  Please see this thread on technet if your interested.  http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itprogeneral/thread/df935a52-a0a9-4f67-ac82-bc39e0585148  

It does correspond with data transfers (backups, etc) so we think that might be it (see previous thread).  Now that we have a machine we can truly test for a few days where the user doesn't need it back right away, we can try to eliminate variables.  This might be strictly for testing purposes because regardless it might be best to just leave it alone on production systems (unless the fix is something easy like changing power settings) because this should prove it's a false positive.  The actual operating system seems to work fine and backups are completing without error, etc.  

Thoughts?  Gary?
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by:garycase
ID: 34210652
Sounds like I need to learn about "atomic opclocks" to really understand this issue :-)

An interesting comment in the thread you referenced:  "... Disabling the file indexing on the directory helps in our real world cases ..."

Although that didn't SOLVE the issue, it's interesting to note that this reduces the use of the "atomic opclocks" in Windows 7 ... thus reducing the number of occurrences.

I'm definitely interested in what finally resolves this !!  
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34210720
According to MS, we should just wait until service pack 1. We may still try to fix it in our local tests for educational purposes. What do you think Gary?  Would you put hotfixes on a production machine or just wait it out if they say its okay?
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by:garycase
ID: 34211032
Tough choice ... but since the Microsoft rep suggested you NOT install the hot fixes, I'd just follow that advice.   HOPEFULLY Service Pack 1 will indeed resolve this issue -- be sure and post a follow-up note about that (even if the question's closed).

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by:Jsmply
ID: 34211120
Thanks Gary.  What's interesting (and follows what we found on those technet threads) is that it seems to be more prevalent on newer model machines.  So far any of our Windows 7 machines that are a year or so old do NOT duplicate the error.  However, we have seen it on quite a few newer machines now.  

The final level 2 tech from Microsoft indeed said that it's a false positive (given what we described) and not to use the hotfix.  He said it should be addressed in a future windows update or via service pack 1.  This seems to coincide with what it says on the hotfix info . . . "if you are not severely effected by this problem, wait for a future update."  

Do you consider these random messages in the event viewer severely effected?  Maybe we are just being perfectionists, but we aim to have ours as clean as possible.  
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34211124
Oh, and best wishes for the holiday!  :)  Happy Thanksgiving and God's blessings to you and yours.  We are thankful for all the experts at EE!
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34308090
Gary (if your still following), quick question here to clarify.  You said:

"As for whether the event 55 will trigger a Chkdsk => not if the resulting I/O was successful.    Since you're only seeing these in event viewer and there's no reported I/O error, it's not likely that it will trigger Chkdsk."

If the I/O was successful, why would the event be logged?  Can you further explain the scenario there?  Thanks.  
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by:garycase
ID: 34308109
I simply don't know.    Apparently it generates a log entry ... but is nevertheless able to successfully finish the I/O  -- otherwise you'd get an I/O error response instead of a "silent" log entry.      In some ways analogous to trying to log in to a site but mistyping your password -- the wrong password attempt is logged;  but if your next attempt is okay you'll be logged in just fine.     Perhaps the event 55 is generating a false positive, but the I/O is okay on the retry.      But that's speculative -- as I said at the start of this comment, I simply don't know the details of this process.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34332598
Thanks Gary. We are still kind of frustrated here. Microsoft is not very helpful, we went all the way to a senior tech and they basically said there is no fix. Anyway, here is the idea, let's look at this from a different direction. What we KNOW: OEM Windows image verified good in and of itself, All drivers are OEM and up to date, all software installed is Windows 7 compliant and tested on other systems without issues. So that just leaves user data, and we can't seem to find anyone online saying this error is caused by corrupt user data. In fact, the first thing everyone with this error says is "backup your data right away" troubleshoot, and worst case reformat. If the data could be causing the error, the backup and then restore post-format would reintroduce the problem. So that being so, can user data cause this?  Microsoft basically said its impossible to tell which file(s) is actually generating the event 55. If not, what's left that's under our control?
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34373427
Hi Gary and whoever else is following.  We have an update.  After some searching, we were referred to the following MS article: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/support/ee/transform.aspx?ProdName=Windows+Operating+System&ProdVer=5.2.3790.1830&EvtID=55&EvtSrc=ntfs&LCID=1033.

It doesn't mention a particular OS, but it seems relevant, what do you all think?  Anyway, we did what it said.  Booted up, waiting for the event to occur, and immediatly ran chkntfs c: and fsutil dirty query c: and both of them came back and said that C: IS NOT DIRTY.  According to that MS article, it says you need no further action?

Either way, we did what it said later on in the MS article (if it was dirty and/or we are getting lots of occurrences of this error) we ran another full chkdsk and had it check for bad sectors as well.  It completed all five steps and found nothing bad, a few indexes as usual with chkdsk and it ended up saying it found no problems with the file system.

Further, we did some more digging in the CBS log, it seems like about 25% of the time  (not always) that this event 55 occurs, there is a corresponding entry in the CBS log referencing registry hives within a shadow copy snapshot.  This goes with what we have found so far (and what Gary said) that it seems to be related to VSS.  Further, Microsoft's senior tech said he thought System Restore was the culprit, but he recommended we just leave it on anyway as the system restore points might still be useful (or even if one is corrupt, the next one might not be).

So basically, that's where we are at.  Interestingly, the error always occurred  in a set (IE: 3 times in a row) when it happended.  However, after Windows automatically dropped off the oldest set of shadow copies today on one of the machines, it then only threw the error once (first time it's done that).  Assuming that's not a coincidence, we cleared all but the latest restore point.   Will keep an eye on that machine and see if it reoccurs.

So . . . . either some restore points/snapshots are actually corrupted or the bug in Windows just thinks they are.  Regardless, even if they were corrupt somehow, it would still be in a bug in the sense it shouldn't throw an error 55 should it?  The Microsoft senior tech seemed to agree with us, but ultimately all he could say was it would be passed on to the development team, and no update.  He did seem confident the error would not impact us though.  Of course, that would be a little more reassuring if he could pinpoint why it was happening.  

Either way I guess we have done the due diligence?  Just hate to have any of our users working on a machine with anything in the event lot.  Thoughts Gary?  
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 34375091
Definitely a WEIRD problem.    I tend to agree that it's simply a false positive and not a real problem -- but, like you, I HATE those kind of unresolved issues !!     A L..O..N..G time ago I discovered an instruction that was incorrectly emulated in Microsoft's ZSID debugger (THAT should date me !!).    Wrote a letter to Microsoft detailing the issue in excruciating detail -- and while they DID reply, the reply was basically that it was such an esoteric error they weren't going to modify ZSID to correct it !!

In any event, there's not much you can do -- I agree you've definitely done the due diligence, and it's reasonably clear this isn't a "real" error -- it's an error in Windows, but doesn't reflect a real error in the file system ... so you simply need to live with it.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34486975
Sorry about that, we didn't mean to "abandon" the question.  We just didn't have an update, supposedly Dell high end support got intrigued and they will look into it further.  Regardless, it still seems like a shadow copy issue.  Gary you deserve most of the points, your the only person left in the thread.  I guess they will go to you for now.  Will post an update if there ever is one.  Systems still seem to be going fine though.
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by:Jsmply
ID: 34486976
Thx, please see last comment.
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