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Doing self-checks in wrap-around manner

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010846D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jan-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jan-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 9K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Many computer systems are set up to do periodic precautionary self testing, for example antivirus checks or memory checks. However, since these checks need resources, users tend to run out of patience and cancel the self testing process before it is finished; as a consequence, some elements (e.g. low address memory) are tested frequently while other elements (e.g. high address memory) are tested seldom or never. This disclosure describes how coverage of the self testing can be improved in this scenario.

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Doing self-checks in wrap-around manner

Scenario

Computer system does an optional self-check on high number of elements Examples:

- Power-On-System-Check, checking all available memory cells

- hard disk checks verifying all blocks on disks

- anti-virus-check on all files There is some deterministic order according to which elements are checked User has the option to stop this self-check at any time User frequently makes use of this option and stops this self-check after some time interval (e.g. because system shutdown at the end of the day, or to have the system no longer spend resources on this task)

Problem

    When said self-check is started several times (automatically at boot time or scheduled), but each time stopped before completion by the user, some elements are checked frequently (low addresses of memory, first disk blocks, first files on file system) whereas other elements are never checked (high addresses of memory, last disk blocks, last files on file system). This can be considered as waste of resources, because even if the self-check is started 10 times and each time stopped when half-way done (after checking half of the elements), any possible problems in the unchecked elements will go undetected.

Solution

    Do said self-checks with variable offset. Details: Denoting the first element in order with Lowand the last element with High : instead doing one self-check from Low through High pick an element between Low and High, and then do two checks:
a) from X...