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How to perform disk error checking in Windows XP

SUMMARY

Chkdsk (Chkdsk.exe) is a command-line tool that checks volumes for problems. The tool then tries to repair any that it finds. For example, Chkdsk can repair problems related to bad sectors, lost clusters, cross-linked files, and directory errors. To use Chkdsk, you must log on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.

You can also run Chkdsk from My Computer or from Windows Explorer.
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MORE INFORMATION

Guided Help to check the hard disk for errors


Guided Help is available to use Chkdsk to check the hard disk for errors. Guided Help can guide you through the steps or Guided Help can automatically perform the steps for you.

The actions that this Guided Help performs cannot be undone after Guided Help is finished. For more information about Guided Help, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 915092 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/915092/ ) Description of Guided Help for Microsoft Knowledge Base articles

Requirements to install and to use this Guided Help

  • You must be logged on to Windows by using a computer administrator account to install and to use this Guided Help.
  • You must be running Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Center Edition, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to install and to use this Guided Help.
You must first download Guided Help. To start, click the following link. Download Guided Help
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315265/ )

Manual steps to run Chkdsk

Notes

  • Chkdsk requires exclusive access to a volume when it runs. Therefore, if one or more of the files are open on the disk that you want to check, Chkdsk displays a prompt asking if you want schedule the disk check for the next time that you restart your computer.
  • Chkdsk might take a long time to run, depending on the number of files and folders, the size of the volume, disk performance, and available system resources, such as processor and memory.
  • Chkdsk might not accurately report information in read-only mode.

Manual steps to run Chkdsk at the command prompt

  1. Click Start, and then Run.
  2. In Open, type cmd, and then press ENTER.
  3. Use one of the following procedures:
    • To run Chkdsk in read-only mode, at the command prompt, type chkdsk, and then press ENTER.
    • To repair errors without scanning the volume for bad sectors, at the command prompt, type chkdsk volume:/f, and then press ENTER.

      Note If one or more of the files on the hard disk are open, you will receive the following message: Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N) Type Y, and then press ENTER to schedule the disk check, and then restart your computer to start the disk check.
    • To repair errors, locate bad sectors, and recover readable information, at the command prompt, type chkdsk volume:/r, and then press ENTER.

      Note If one or more of the files on the hard disk are open, you will receive the following message: Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N) Type Y, and then press ENTER to schedule the disk check, and then restart your computer to start the disk check.

Manual steps to run Chkdsk from My Computer or Windows Explorer

  1. Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the hard disk that you want to check.
  2. Click Properties, and then click Tools.
  3. Under Error-checking, click Check Now. A dialog box that shows the Check disk options is displayed,
  4. Use one of the following procedures:
    • To run Chkdsk in read-only mode, click Start.
    • To repair errors without scanning the volume for bad sectors, select the Automatically fix file system errors check box, and then click Start.
    • To repair errors, locate bad sectors, and recover readable information, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start.
    Note If one or more of the files on the hard disk are open, you will receive the following message: The disk check could not be performed because the disk check utility needs exclusive access to some Windows files on the disk. These files can be accessed by restarting Windows. Do you want to schedule the disk check to occur the next time you restart the computer? Click Yes to schedule the disk check, and then restart your computer to start the disk check.

The following table lists the exit codes that Chkdsk reports after it has finished:
Collapse this table Expand this table

Exit code Description
0 No errors were found.
1 Errors were found and fixed.
2 Disk cleanup, such as garbage collection, was performed, or cleanup was not performed because /f was not specified.
3 Could not check the disk, errors could not be fixed, or errors were not fixed because /f was not specified.


For more information about Chkdsk, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:

For more information about Chkdsk, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 314835 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314835/ ) An explanation of the new /C and /I switches that are available to use with Chkdsk.exe For help with common system maintenance tasks in Windows Vista, visit the following Microsoft Web page: Fix problems with common system maintenance tasks (http://support.microsoft.com/gp/system_maintenance_for_windows)
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APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition


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