Check Disk - chkdsk

ByLine
How to Run Check Disk at Startup in Vista or Windows 7
Synopsis
This will show you how to use and run Check Disk or chkdsk at startup from within Vista, the command prompt, and the registry to check for corruption and possibly repair errors and bad sectors on the hard drive.
How to Run Check Disk at Startup in Vista or Windows 7

information   Information
This will show you how to use and run Check Disk or chkdsk at startup from within Vista, the command prompt, and the registry to check for corruption and possibly repair errors and bad sectors on the hard drive.
Note   Note
If you had changed your default boot screen, then you will need to temporarily uncheck the No GUI boot to be able to see what is happening when chkdsk is running at boot up. See: How to Enable the Hidden Aurora Boot Screen in Vista or How to Change the Default Boot Screen in Vista SP1
warning   Warning
This will take about 20 minutes or so to finish, depending on how big your hard drive is. Do not stop chkdsk once it has started, let it finish. It could cause errors on your hard drive. When you restart to chkdsk, you will only have 10 seconds to press a key to cancel chkdsk. Check for a sticky keyboard key stuck down. It will cancel the chkdsk at startup.
Tip   Tip
CHECK DISK WILL NOT RUN AT STARTUP PROBLEM:


If chkdsk will not run at startup after trying the methods below, then see: How to Fix Chkdsk will Not Run at Startup in Vista





METHOD ONE
Run Check Disk from within the Drive's Properties Page

NOTE: This method may not always run chkdsk when the computer restarts on some computers. I'm not sure why, but if this is your case, then you can do Method Two, Method Three, Method Four, or Method Five below.
1. Open the Start Menu.​
2. Click on the Computer button.​
3. Right click on your hard drive and click on Properties.​
4. Click on the Tools tab.​
5. Click on Check Now under the Error checking section. (See circled in red below)​
Properties.jpg

6. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
7. Make sure both options are checked. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: The Automatically fix file system errors box will be checked by default.​
8. Click on the Start button.​
Check Now.jpg

9. You will get a pop-up window saying, "Windows can't check this disk while it's use". (See screenshot below)​
10. Click on the Schedule disk check button for chkdsk to run the next time you restart your computer.​
Schedule.jpg





METHOD TWO
Using chkdsk in a Command Prompt

1. To Run chkdsk in Safe Mode
A) Restart the computer and boot into Safe Mode.​
B) Go to step 3.​

2. To Run chkdsk in a Command Prompt at Boot
A) Place the Vista installation DVD into the DVD drive and restart the computer.​
B) Boot from the DVD into the System Recovery Options screen.​
C) Select Command prompt.
D) Go to step 4 below.​

3. To Run chkdsk in a Elevated Command Prompt

4. In the command prompt, type chkdsk or chkdsk C: followed by one or a combination of switches listed in steps 4A to 4D below and press Enter. See the screenshot below for all switch combinations.​
NOTE: If you want check disk to scan a drive other than the C: drive, then substitute the drive letter C: after chkdsk to the drive letter that you want.​
EX: chkdsk E:
chkdsk_Help.jpg

Type One of these Commands to Run Chkdsk:
NOTE: The most common command is chkdsk /f or chkdsk C: /f
A) /f = The /f switch is the most common of the chkdsk switches. It tells chkdsk to try and fix any errors it finds. EX Type: chkdsk /f or chkdsk C: /f
NOTE: Answer Y when chkdsk asks you if you want to check the drive next time Vista boots (restarts).
chkdsk_f.jpg

B) /r = The /r switch tells chkdsk to attempt to recover any bad sectors of the hard drive if any are found. A bad sector is a spot on the hard drive that cannot hold saved data anymore. (See screenshot below)​
EX Type: chkdsk /r or chkdsk C: /r
NOTE: Answer Y when chkdsk asks you if you want to check the drive next time Windows Vista boots.
chkdsk_r.jpg

C) /i = The /i switch tells chkdsk to perform a less detailed but faster disk check. (See screenshot below)​
EX Type: chkdsk /i or chkdsk C: /i
NOTE: This will run immediately.
chkdsk_I.jpg

D) /c = The /c switch tells chkdsk to skip the checking of cycles within a folder structure which reduces the scan time.​
EX Type: chkdsk /c or chkdsk C: /c
NOTE: This will run immediately.
chkdsk_c.jpg

5. Close the command prompt.​
6. Restart the computer to run chkdsk at startup.​




METHOD THREE
Using chkntfs and fsutil in a Command Prompt

NOTE: This will reset all drives to be checked at startup and mark a drive as dirty so chkdsk will run at startup for it. Chkdsk will mark the drive clean again after it runs. If chkdsk does not run at startup, then do step 5 only to mark the drive clean again.
2. To Reset and Check All Drives and Run CHKDSK if a Drive is Dirty
A) In the command prompt, type chkntfs /d and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: Restores the computer to the default behavior; all drives are checked at boot time and chkdsk is run on those that are marked dirty.​
B) Go to step 4.​
chkntfs_CMD.jpg

3. To Check a Specific Drive and Run CHKDSK if the Drive is Dirty
A) In the command prompt, type chkntfs /c C: and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: This will schedule the C: drive to be checked at boot time. If the drive is marked dirty, then chkdsk will run. If you want to schedule another drive letter to be checked, then substitute C: with the drive letter you want checked instead.​
chkntfs_C.jpg

4. To Mark a Drive Dirty
A) In the command prompt, type fsutil dirty set c: and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: This marks the c: drive as dirty so chkdsk will run at startup. If you want to run chkdsk on another drive letter, then substitute c: for the drive letter you want instead.​
B) You will now get a Volume - c: is now marked dirty message.​
Mark_Dirty.jpg

5. Close the elevated command prompt.​
6. Restart the computer.​
NOTE: Chkdsk will now run at startup. If chkdsk does not run at startup, then run chkntfs /d in step 5A again and see: How to Fix Chkdsk will Not Run at Startup in Vista




METHOD FOUR
Run Check Disk Using a REG File Download

1. Click on the download button below to download the Run_chkdsk.reg file.​
NOTE: If the hard drive you want to run chkdsk on has a different driver letter than C: , then do the Manual Way below to substitute C: with your drive letter instead.​
download

2. Click on Save, and save the .reg file to the Desktop.​
3. Right click the .reg (On Desktop) file and click Merge.
4. Click on the Run button in the Security Warning pop-up.​
5. Click on Continue (UAC), Yes, and then OK when prompted.​
6. When done, you can delete the .reg file (On Desktop).​



METHOD FIVE
Run Check Disk from the Registry Editor

1. Open the Start Menu.​
2. In the white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.
3. Click on the Continue button in the UAC prompt.​
4. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below step 5)​
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager
5. In the right pane, right click on BootExecute and click on Modify.
BootExecute_Reg.jpg

6. Highlight the code below, then right click on it and click on Copy.
NOTE: If the hard drive you want to run chkdsk on has a different driver letter than C: , then substitute C: with your drive letter instead.​
Code:
[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[INDENT][INDENT]autocheck autochk /p \??\C:[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[INDENT][INDENT]autocheck autochk *[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[INDENT][INDENT]

7. Clear the box, then right click on a empty area in the box and click on Paste to copy the code above into it. (See screenshot below)​
8. Click on OK.
Modify.jpg

9. The registry will now look like this. (See screenshot below)​
BootExecute_Reg2.jpg

10. Close regedit.​
11. Restart the computer to run chkdsk at startup.​
That's it,
Shawn


Related Tutorials


 
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Shawn Brink

Comments

Ok, So... what if you try all these methods and scandisk simply won't run at startup? No matter what I try it simply goes straight into booting Windows. Running Vista home premium x64
 
Hello Ashishnk, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Allowing chkdsk to run should clear the dirty flag. If not, the using the chkntfs /d command in step 2 of METHOD THREE resets the drive.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
A quick question relating to running a CHKDSK on an external hard drive. My laptop doesn't boot up if I have it plugged in so I don't manage to do a check on start-up but if I use method one, it takes an awful long time and I am rather reluctant to leave the drive plugged in and running for long periods of time.

Is there a possibility to do a check on it on start-up or should I just be patient and not worry about leaving the drive on for a long time (LaCie, 1T with over 700G used)?

Thanks very much in advance!
 
Hello Aagje, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Since it is an external drive and not your system C: drive, Vista allows you to run chkdsk on it since it is not in use. It will not make much more difference if you ran chkdsk at startup for the drive though. As long as you have the external drive and laptop where it can get proper airflow, then you have nothing to worry about it running for long periods of time.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Thank you very much! I am always paranoid over my external hard drive and rather ask before doing something stupid. XD
 
Brink, While adjusting a power plann the laptop crashed and then viewer reportedd "The program ACWLIcon.exe version 5.2.0.0 stopped interacting with Windows and was closed. To see if more information about the problem is available, check the problem history in the Problem Reports and Solutions control panel. Process ID: 8e8 Start Time: 01ca1359efe679f2 Termination Time: 15".As such this is not so much a problem, but since then evey time the laptop boots it performs a thorough check of the hard disk. Researching of the web i undertood the 'dirty bit' has been set ON which triggers the check at every boot. (indeed using command fsutil dirty query C it says the bit is on. But while doing the check a clod boot it hangs on at "chkdsk deleting an index entry from index $0 of file 25 " and - even left a night - does not process further which does not release the dirty bit.. So you know would know how to solve the issue. Best regards
 
Symptoms I was seeing for EHD Maxtor (One Touch):
- the chkdsk would run at start-up but would not complete. I would see an error message such as: "unable to write volume bitmap due to insufficient storage space on drive". However, I'd check the EHD and more than 300GB was left.
- finally, I tried to copy a file to the EHD, unsuccessfully, and received the error message: "The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable 0x0800770571".
- I tried Method 1 for running the chkdsk and it did not work.
- I tried Method 2, command I wrote was: "chkdsk F:f/r/". (No spaces, which I was afraid I did wrong). I chose /r as I wanted the chkdsk to check recover bad sectors as I figured that this was what was going on.

What happened:
- The chkdsk started immediately. I did not need to restart the computer.
- The chkdsk took over 8 hours to complete. I ended up going to bed so I don't know when it actually finished.
- It went through 5 stages, not 3 which is what I usually see when the chkdsk comes up by itself at start-up.

Conclusion: After the completion of the chkdsk, I was able to write files to the EHD, so I am concluding success. However, I do have some questions:
1- Is it normal for the chkdsk to take this long? EHD is Maxtor OneTouch, 422 GB used on 750 GB total.
2- Why did chkdsk F:/f/r run immediately? Method 1 gave me the usual error message: "windows can't check the disk while it's in use".
3- Is it normal that when the chkdsk runs by itself on start-up (probably because Windows notes something), it only goes through the 3 stage chkdsk (much faster, takes only about 5 minutes for the EHD).

Thanks for your help and again, just asking questions even though my ultimate problem is solved.

--Elisabeth.
 
Hello Elisabeth,

The command should have spaces in it with the / in front of the switch instead: chkdsk F: /f /r

Q1) It can take chkdsk a bit to finish depending how large and/or corrupted the drive is. Plus with it being an external drive, it will take a bit longer as well. Usually nonsystem disks, without a operating system installed on, take less time to finish though.

Q2) If the disk you want to run chkdsk on is not in use by a program, not your system hard drive that Vista is installed on, and a separate disk and not just another partition on the Vista disk; then it is not required to restart the computer to run chkdsk on it at startup.

Q3) If Vista detects corruption on a SMART featured disk, it can mark the drive as being dirty to have chkdsk run automatically at startup.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
I used Method 1 - it ran, I restarted my computer, now what? It didn't come back and tell me what it found, if anything.
 
Hi anytime I run check disk it always stops at 23% (248450 of 271600 files processed) I have tried this on DRIVE'S PROPERTIES PAGE and in ELEVATED COMMAND PROMPT please what can I do to run a successful chkdsk
 
Welcome

This may be helpful:
Be sure to follow the instructions of the above tutorial carefully. If you still have problems
To be safe, back up all your important stuff to be sure they are not lost due to a potentially failing hard drive. Then take this hard drive test

Test Hard Drive
Harddrive scan usings SeaTools - SeaToolsfor Windows | Seagate - Both long and short tests
This test is more accurate than the chkdsk.
Lets be sure that your problem is not the result of a failing hard drive.

Post back with your results.
 
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