Microsoft’s hard disk scanning and repair utility, CHKDSK (“check disk”), was introduced more than 30 years ago but still has a useful place today. Users running even the latest Microsoft operating systems can still use the command to check their hard drives for errors and repair them if necessary. Here’s how to run CHKDSK in Windows 10.
Even in Windows 10, the CHKDSK command is run through the Command Prompt, but we need to use administrator privileges to access it properly. To start Command Prompt as Administrator, press the Windows Key + X shortcut to open the user menu, then release those two keys and press the A key. Alternatively, with the user rights menu open, you can use your mouse or trackpad to select the Command Prompt (Admin) option.
You will be presented with a UAC window asking for permission to launch the Command Prompt as Administrator. Click Yes to continue and you will see a new Command Prompt window. You can verify that you have successfully issued the Command Prompt administrator privileges by making sure that “Administrator: Command Prompt” is present in the title bar of the window.
From the Command Prompt, type the command ” chkdsk ” followed by a space followed by the letter of the drive you want to check or repair. In our case, it’s the internal drive “C.”
Simply running the CHKDSK command in Windows 10 will only show the status of the disc and won’t fix any errors present on the drive. In order for CHKDSK to fix the drive, we need to give it parameters. After your drive letter, type the following parameters separated by a space: ” / f / r / x “.
The parameter “/ f” tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds; “/ R” indicates it to locate bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information; “/ X” forces the drive to dismount before starting the process.
To summarize, the full command that needs to be typed into Command Prompt is:
Chkdsk [Drive:] [parameters]
In our example it is:
Chkdsk C: / f / r / x
Note that CHKDSK is required to be able to lock the drive, which means it cannot be used to check the system’s boot drive if the computer is in use. If your target drive is an external external disk or won’t boot, the CHKDSK process will start as soon as we enter the above command. However, if the target drive is a boot disk, the system will ask you if you want to run the command before the next boot. Type “yes” (or “y”), reboot the computer, and the command will run before the operating system loads, allowing it to have full disk access.
A CHKDSK command can take a long time, especially when executed on larger drives. However, when it is completed, it will present a summary of the results including total disk space, byte allocation, and, most importantly, any errors that were found and corrected.
The CHKDSK command is available in all versions of Windows, so those on Windows 7, 8, or XP can also follow the steps above to start scanning their hard drive. In the case of older versions of Windows, users can access the Command Prompt by going to Start> Run and typing “cmd”. When the Command Prompt result is displayed, right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator” to grant the program the privileges needed to execute CHKDSK successfully.
One final note: we covered how to run CHKDSK in previous versions of Windows, and some users who have followed the recommended steps have been alarmed to find that their hard drive space is significantly reduced. after running the command. This result is due to a hard drive failure, as one of the key functions that CHKDSK performs is to identify and prevent bad sectors on the drive. A few bad sectors on an old drive will usually go unnoticed by the user, but if the drive fails or has a serious problem, you may have a large number of bad sectors, when mapped, and blocked by CHKDSK, apparently “stealing” a significant portion of your hard drive space.
Hard Drive FireDramatization: practically non-hard drive cannot spontaneously combust.
Image: Sandra.Matic / Shutterstock
This is the desired behavior, and that means those areas and any data potentially stored on them have failed, even if you or your operating system hasn’t recognized it yet. CHKDSK will attempt to recover data from bad sectors using the / r parameter, but some of the data might be corrupted and not recoverable. So make sure to always keep a good backup of all your important data, and don’t blame CHKDSK (ie, kill messenger) for confirming that your computer’s hard drive is about throwing the approximation.