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How to Scan & Fix Hard Drives with CHKDSK in Windows 10

How to Scan & Fix Hard Drives with CHKDSK in Windows 10

Microsoft Hard Disk Scanning Utility

Microsoft’s hard disk scanning and repair utility, CHKDSK (“check disk”), was introduced over 30 years ago but still has a useful place today. Users running even the latest Microsoft operating system can still use the command to examine 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 via the Command Prompt, but we’ll need to use administrative privileges to properly access it. To launch a Command Prompt as an Administrator, press the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X to bring up the power users menu, then let go of those two keys and tap the A key. Alternatively, with the power users menu open you can use your mouse or trackpad to select the Command Prompt (Admin) option.

From the Command Prompt, type the command “chkdsk” followed by a space, then the letter of the drive you wish to examine or repair. In our case, it’s internal drive “C.”

Simply running the CHKDSK command in Windows 10 will only display the disk’s status, and won’t fix any errors present on the volume. To tell CHKDSK to fix the drive, we need to give it parameters. After your drive letter, type the following parameters separated by a space each: “/f /r /x”.

The “/f” parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds; “/r” tells it to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information; “/x” forces the drive to dismount before the process starts. Additional parameters are available for more specialized tasks, and are detailed at Microsoft’s TechNet site.

To summarize, the full command that should be typed into the Command Prompt is:
A CHKDSK command can take a long time, especially when performed on larger drives. Once it’s done, however, it will present a summary of 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 perform the steps above to initiate a scan of their hard drive. In the case of older versions of Windows, users can get to the Command Prompt by going to Start > Run and typing “cmd”. Once the Command Prompt result is displayed, right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator” to grant the program the necessary privileges to execute CHKDSK successfully.

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