How to run Chkdsk

Find out how to run a disk check on Windows 10 and older versions of Windows

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Check disk, or Chkdsk, is a Windows tool users can deploy to fix hard drive errors on certain variants of operating systems, scanning through the hard drive to prevent major problems from developing that could lead to data corruption. This process can take a while to run, however.

Depending on how it’s run, there are a number of functions Chkdsk can perform. The system tool can scan the integrity of a file system and its metadata on a disk volume, and fix any errors found. These issues may range from bad security descriptors associated with files to corrupt entries in a volume’s master file table. The errors could even be incorrect time stamps and wrong file size information.

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Chkdsk can perform a number of functions, depending on how it's run. Firstly, it's able to scan the integrity of a file system and its metadata on a disk volume and fix any errors it finds. These might be corrupt entries in a volume's master file table, bad security descriptors linked to files, or even incorrect time stamps and file size information.

The tool can be used to search and detect every sector on a disk volume for corruption, with these ‘bad’ sectors arising in either ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ versions. Soft bad sectors come by way of error when the disk write process is interrupted, while hard bad sectors can arise due to physical damage to the disk. Chkdsk will try to fix these issues by repairing the soft bad sectors and ensuring the hard bad sectors aren’t used again

Chkdsk for Windows

The Chkdsk function is available on most Windows systems including Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Vista and Windows XP. Should you be able to boot into Windows on your machine, you can capably run the tool for each hard drive or partition available.

You can also run the tool from Command Prompt, if running Chkdsk from the operating system is not feasilb. You can either use Recovery Mode, or the original installation medium to boot and then run Command Prompt in order to run Chkdsk this way.

Command Prompt

To run the utility from the Command Prompt, go to the start menu once you've successfully booted your computer and click 'run'. Enter 'cmd' into the box. When the window appears you can type 'chkdsk' and start the process.

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From here, things get a little more technical, but to repair errors you need to type chkdsk with command after it: So, to repair errors without scanning for any bad sectors, type 'chkdsk volume: /f' and press enter, where volume is the letter of the drive you'd like to run a scan on, for example, 'C' or 'D'.

To repair errors and scan for bad sectors, type 'chkdsk volume: /r' and press enter. Same again, the volume is the letter of the drive you'd like to repair.

From My Computer

To run Chkdsk from within Windows XP, but without Command Prompt, you need to go to on 'My Computer', right-click on the hard disk you'd like to run the utility on and then click 'properties'. From there click 'Tools' and select 'Check Now' at the error-checking tab.

To repair errors without scanning for bad sectors, select the 'Automatically fix file system errors' box and to repair errors and scan for bad sectors, select the 'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' box. The utility will notify you if the scan finds any errors or not.

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