• March 4, 2021 •

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With CHKDSK In Windows 10

If you’re using a Windows OS, then you may have faced hard drive errors. These errors could be caused due to power outages, hardware failure, system crashes, or even human errors, and this can lead to data loss.

Do you know how to check and fix hard drive errors in Windows 10?

CHKDSK (or Check Disk) is a tool which runs a utility scan to monitor your hard drive health. This tool helps you to ensure whether your drives are running efficiently or not.

Before we move ahead, you have to keep in mind that CHKDSK is a command that you use to run the Check Disk utility.

In this article, you’ll learn what CHKDSK does and how you can use it to find and fix errors of your hard drive in Windows 10.

What CHKDSK Does

This section is a bit technical, although you should know some basics so that you won’t get confused after running a CHKDSK command in Windows 10.

CHKDSK performs two functions depending on how you run it:

1. Logical File System Errors

CHKDSK scans your entire hard drive to analyze the integrity of the file system and file system metadata on a disk volume.

Logical file system errors include corrupt entries in a volume’s MFT (Master File Table), incorrect security descriptors associated with files, misaligned time stamps, file size data and security flags.

When CHKDSK finds a logical error, it tries to fix them. But, firstly, it saves the data so that no data will be lost.

2. Bad Sectors

CHKDSK also scans every sector on a volume to check whether there are bad sectors or not.

The bad sectors can further break down in to two types:

  • Soft bad sectors: The sectors that occur when the data is written incorrectly to the magnetic medium. CHKDSK resolves it by rewriting the incorrect data.
  • Hard bad sectors: These bad sectors occur when there’s physical damage to the disk. CHKDSK resolves it by marking ‘out of bounds’ so that they won’t be used in future.

In the case of hard bad sectors, CHKDSK cannot repair them, so you should have a backup to avoid any data loss.

We suggest running the CHKDSK every few months to keep your drives safe and free from errors. If you’re experiencing any issues within Windows, then you should run CHKDSK command at least once.

Run CHKDSK in Windows 10 using Command Prompt

You’ll find various ways of running CHKDSK in Windows 10, however, the most common method to run the utility is from a command prompt (also known as Windows PowerShell).

As we have discussed, CHKDSK scans hard drives, which means it interacts with the operating system directly, so you have to run the command with administrative privileges.

Now, we will see how to run CHKDSK using Command Prompt.

Step 1: Press Windows key and X at the same time, a user menu will be opened. You have to select ‘Windows PowerShell (Admin)’ from the menu, or simply press the ‘A’ key (for admin).

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

And, it will launch PowerShell in the administrator mode.

Note: If you do not run Windows PowerShell in the admin mode, then the CHKDSK command will not scan your drive.

Step 2: To invoke CHKDSK, you need to type ‘chkdsk’, followed by a space, then the letter of the drive you want to repair.

You have to keep in mind, if you type ‘chkdsk’ without mentioning the drive and press enter, then the CHKDSK will run in the read-only mode.

In our case, we will scan the internal drive ‘C:’, so the command will be ‘chkdsk C:’.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

It will take a few minutes to scan and display all the information (and errors). But, the above command will not fix any errors.

Step 3: To run CHKDSK where it can fix errors rather than displaying it, you need to add parameters.

In Windows PowerShell, the parameters can be added to any program name. You have to type ‘/’ character before each parameter.

If you want to scan and repair your drive, you have to type:

chkdsk C: /f /r /x
  • The ‘/f’ parameter allows CHKDSK to fix the errors if it discovers any during the scan.
  • The ‘/r’ parameter lets CHKDSK to locate bad sectors and recovers readable information.
  • The ‘/x’ parameter open handles to the drive that are invalidated.

 Step 4: After performing all operations, type ‘exit’ to exit the Windows PowerShell. 

CHKDSK Parameters

If you run CHKDSK on command prompt without parameters, then it will only display the status of the volume rather than fixing any errors.

Below table consists of some of the CHKDSK parameters with their actionable tasks:

ParametersDetails of the Parameters
<Volume>It allows you to specify the drive letter (followed by a colon), or volume name.
[<Path>]<FileName>It can only be used with FAT (File Allocation Table) and FAT32. It specifies the location and name of a file (or set of files) that you want CHKDSK to check for fragmentation. If you want to specify multiple files, then you need to use ? and *.
/fIt allows CHKDSK to fix errors on the disk. To run this command, the disk must be locked. 
/vAs the disk starts to get checked, it displays the name of each file in every directory.
/rIt locates bad sectors and recovers readable information. The disk must be locked. It also includes the analysis of physical disk errors.
/xIt includes the functionality of /f and open handles to the drive are invalidated.
/iIt can be used with NTFS only. It reduces the amount of time required to run CHKDSK as it performs a less vigorous check of index entries.
/cIt can be used with NTFS only. It also reduces the amount of time required to run CHKDSK as it does not check cycles within the folder structure.
/bIt can be used with NTFS only. It includes the functionality of /r, clears the list of bad clusters on the volume and rescans all allocated and free clusters for errors.
/l[:<size>]It can be used with NTFS only. It changes the log file size to the size you type. If you don’t enter the size parameter, then /l displays the current size.
/scanIt can be used with NTFS only. It runs an online scan on the volume.
/offlinescanandfixIt runs an offline scan and fixes the volume.
/?It displays the help file and other instructions for using CHKDSK at the command prompt.

On the command prompt, it will look something like this:

chkdsk [Drive:] [parameters]

After selecting the drive and typing the parameters:

chkdsk C: /f /r /x

Run CHKDSK from Partition Property

Running CHKDSK in Windows 10 from partition property is one of the simplest ways to implement.

To run a CHKDSK, you can follow the detailed steps are as below:

Step 1: Right-click the Start Menu and select ‘Disk Management’.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

Step 2: Once the Disk Management window is opened, right-click the drive that you want to scan and choose ‘Properties’.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

Step 3: The drive properties window will open. Here, you have to switch to the ‘Tools’ tab and then click ‘Check’.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

Step 4: If there are any errors on the drive, you will be asked to check, otherwise a dialog box will be opened as shown in the following image.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

Note: You can still scan the drive for errors by clicking on ‘Scan drive’.

Run CHKDSK from USB Drive

You can run the above two methods when your computer boots up successfully. But, how will you check disk if Windows won’t start?

In that case, you need to run CHKDSK on boot via USB drive and scan the hard drive for errors.

To run CHKDSK utility from USB drive, you have to follow the steps below:

Step 1: Insert USB flash drive in your computer.

Step 2: Change the BIOS boot sequence to boot from the USB drive.

Step 3: Now, select your language to install and click next. On the bottom-right corner, click on ‘Repair your computer’.

Step 4: From the available options, select ‘Troubleshoot’.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

Step 5: On the ‘Advanced Options’, choose ‘Command Prompt’.

How To Scan & Fix Hard Drives With Chkdsk In Windows 10

Step 6: Once the Command Prompt is opened, you have to follow the steps mentioned in the first method.

How to Run CHKDSK in Other Versions of Windows

You can CHKDSK commands in all versions of Windows, including Windows 7, 8, and XP. It will scan and repair hard drives as in Windows 10, although the initiation process may differ.

Here, we are talking about running CHKDSK using the Command prompt.

In other versions of Windows, navigate to Start > Run and then type ‘cmd’. Once the Command Prompt is seen, right-click to it and select “Run as Administrator”.

Either you run CHKDSK in Windows 10 or any other version, you need to run Command Prompt as an Administrator to grant all the necessary permissions to the system.

After that, you need to follow the ‘chkdsk’ command as discussed in “Run CHKDSK in Windows 10 using Command Prompt” section.

Note: If you have an older hard drive, then it may be possible that its space will reduce significantly after running a CHKDSK command.

CHKDSK TroubleShooting

You can experience common issues while running a CHKDSK command on your desktop.

To run it properly, you need to look out for the solutions. Below are some of the issues with their solutions.

CHKDSK is Stuck

Sometimes, you’ll experience that the CHKDSK command is running continuously. At that time, you need to perform one of the below methods:

  • Restart your PC.
  • Press Esc to stop CHKDSK from running.
  • To clear out the junk files, run the Disk Cleanup Utility.
  • Run the System File Checker – open CMD, type sfc/scannow and press Enter.
  • Open CMD as admin, type Dism/ Online/ Cleanup-Image/ RestoreHealth and hit Enter.

Unable to Continue in Read-Only Mode

This message could be received if you run the CHKDSK command and it finds an error in the disk.

To fix the errors, you need to run a command with /r parameter:

chkdsk /r

If you want to run Disk Check Utility run on another volume, then you have to update the drive followed by the command with /f parameter:

chkdsk H: /f

Conclusion

No matter what issues you are facing on your hard drive, CHKDSK will scan and fix those errors to optimize your computer’s performance.

If you have any other queries regarding the check disk utility in Windows 10, feel free to ask us in the comment section below.

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