Operating System

Basic Windows Hard Drive Troubleshooting

Have you been running your computer and has it been getting slower and slower to run? Do you you get any corrupted files, or unable to read files errors? If so, then Windows has something that will help you troubleshoot and fix problems on your computer. That something is a program called “CHKDSK” (check disk).

What is CHKDSK?

CHKDSK is a built in function of Windows that can scan and repair problems that are found on the hard drive, whether that be fixing corrupted files in Windows or checking if your hard drive is going bad. It is a very good program, and can help with early prediction of hard drive failure, which is crucial to fixing and backing up important files.

It is not a program that can be accessed and ran normally, however. There is no double click icon, which is why people generally do not know they have this program on their computer. It is accessed through the command prompt, the most basic bare bones version of the Windows operating system.

How to access CHKDSK?

How do I access the command prompt?

You can find the command prompt in Windows by clicking on you your start icon to bring up the start menu (Windows 8 is the start page) and then in the search bar type “cmd” without the quotations.

Before you click on cmd to access the command prompt, you must run it as an administrator. This can be done by right clicking on cmd to bring up the options menu, and clicking run as administrator. The reason for this is because CHKDSK accesses the entire drive and will be making changes to your program files and other files. And so, it needs a little more clearance than regular users.

Once you click on run as administrator, a black window with square block-like text will appear. This is your command prompt. Now that you are in the command prompt there are a few variations of CHKDSK that can be run.

The first variation that can be run is the basic CHKDSK. This can be run by just typing CHKDSK in the command prompt. It will check for disk errors and will record them, but it will not fix them

The second variation that can be used is CHKDSK /f. By typing this, you computer will find disk errors and repair them. This is good for operating systems that have become corrupt. It will attempt to repair files and registries that have been jumbled.

Finally the last variation that can be used is CHKDSK /r. This variation not only checks and fixes disk errors but it also finds bad sector on your computer. A bad sector is a section of your hard-drive that has been damaged and the data in that section has been lost. If your computer finds any of these, then that is a sign that your hard-drive is failing, and that you should back up your data as soon as possible.

When you run any of these functions, Windows will not be able to do it right away. This is because it will be running the operating system, and it is unable to scan and fix something that is being used at the same time. And so, it will ask you to schedule it. This means that CHKDSK will run before the next start up of your operating system.

How long will it take for the program to run?

Because it scan your entire hard drive, the time that it will take to run CHKDSK to complete varies. There are a lot of factors that can affect completion time like the size of your hard drive, the amount of used space, the amount of sub folders, etc. Generally the more corrupt the operating system the longer it will take to complete. At the least, CHKDSK will take 20 minutes. However there is a good chance that that time will increase. Nonetheless expect it to take a long time and leave a good chunk of time for it to run.

How to check the results of the CHKDSK?
Because it is run during start up, as soon as it is scan is done, your computer will boot into windows. you might not get a chance to see the results. However it is possible to check results after start up. Click here for directions.

With this you are now able to do some basic hard drive troubleshooting and repair on Windows Operating Systems!