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Fix File System Errors in Windows 7/8/10 with Check Disk Utility (CHKDSK)

Check Disk (chkdsk) is a tool used to check the integrity of the file system as well as to detect bad sectors on hard drives. It also helps to recover corrupted data whenever there is a system failure related to data integrity (such as a power failure).

Check Disk can check FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS drives and automatically fix errors. Following are the steps in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 to run chkdsk on your system.

Run chkdsk GUI on Windows

Open Windows Explorer and right click on the drive you want to check. At the bottom, click Properties.

Go to the Tools tab and you will see a Check button under Error Checking. In Windows 7, this is the Check Now button.

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Windows 7 users will receive a pop-up window with the ability to automatically fix errors and find bad sectors. If you want chkdsk to try to fix problems when they are found, it is a good idea to check both options.

For Win 7 users, if you check both boxes and click the Start button, you will see another dialog box asking if you want to schedule a scan on system restart. You will only see this message if you are trying to scan the system partition on which Windows is installed.

For Windows 10 users, none of these options are available. Instead, a pop-up dialog box will appear that may tell you that you do not need to scan the drive because Windows did not find any errors. However, if you want to scan, click Scan Disk.

The scanning process will begin and it will not take long. Please note that this GUI method is not as thorough as the command line version (which runs on Windows 7 when scheduling a scan). I’ll cover this in the next section below.

When the scan is complete, you will receive a message indicating if there were any errors on the disk. You can click Show Details to go to Event Viewer and download the Application Log.

If any errors are found, Windows will offer you several options, one of which is to try to repair the disk. The second way to run chkdsk on Windows 10, in my opinion the best way is to use the command prompt. For Windows 7 users, a scheduled restart scan will be the best scan.

Run chkdsk via Command Prompt

To run chkdsk from the command line, you need to open an administrator command prompt. Just click on Start, type cmd, then right click it and select Run as administrator.

At the command prompt, enter the following command:

chkdsk c: / f / r / x

If you scan a drive that Windows is currently running from, you will receive a message that Chkdsk cannot start because the volume is in use by another process. Enter Y to schedule a volume check at the next system restart.

Restart your computer and you will see a message telling you to press any key to skip disk check. Obviously do not press anything or the scan will be canceled.

This scan will take much longer than the scan from Windows and is much more likely to detect disk errors, if any. If there are no errors, it will just log off and boot Windows normally. If there are errors, you will see a summary of them indicating whether they have been fixed.

If you don’t see the summary, log in to Windows and open Event Viewer. Go to the application log and scroll down until you see an event with Wininit source code and event ID 1001.

You will find all the details about scanning here. If your disk has errors, you need to copy all important data as quickly as possible. Even if the errors are fixed, this does not mean that your disk is working properly. It can fail at any time and you shouldn’t risk your data. Back up as much data as possible as soon as possible. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!

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