How to Fix Hard Drive Errors Using chkdsk

fix hard drive errors using chkdsk

Had a hard drive error recently? Noticing strange behavior that might be associated with a hard drive? Seeing low performance even after defragmentation? If for any of these questions, your answer is yes, then you might need to start worrying about your hard drive.

All of the above problems can be caused by disk errors, and you need to fix them as soon as possible. After all, it’s your hard drive we are talking about, we store lots of our precious memories and moments in form of images and videos. Some people like me store their music collection and important project documents on the hard drive.

These days we can store our important stuff on the cloud as a backup so we can keep it safe from problems like – hard drive errors. Nevertheless, what is the harm in keeping your hard drive in good condition? Hard drive problems can be typically caused by viruses, power disruption, hardware failure, and poor system maintenance.

What is Chkdsk Utility?

The chkdsk utility also known as check disk utility examines disk and can correct many types of hard drive errors. This tool can find and correct errors such as bad sectors, lost cluster, directory errors. Chkdsk can’t repair corrupted data within files, but it can correct one of the most common problem- bad sector.

A bad sector has two types- soft bad sector and hard bad sector. Soft bad sector occurs when a drive has a logical error and data is unreadable or cannot be written. Hard bad sector occurs due to physical damage. The chkdsk utility can solve the soft bad sector problem as it is a logical issue.

When chkdsk tool examines your hard drive, it solves the drive errors, marks the bad sectors which cannot be fixed so it won’t be used as a storage in future and moves data to good sectors. Now, there are two ways you can access check disk utility – one by graphical interface and second by using an old school command line method.

Check disk utility works same on all versions of Windows, we will be using Windows 10 in this tutorial. But, if have old versions of Windows like Windows 8 or 7, it still works same.

How to fix Hard Drive Errors Using chkdsk in Windows?

  • Open Windows File Explorer, Right-click on the drive you want to check and select Properties.

chkdsk Windows 10

  • Now, go to Tools tab and click on Check.

chkdsk Windows 10

  • If you have Windows 8 or 10, it might tell you that it hasn’t found any errors on the drive. But you can still manually scan your drive by clicking Scan drive. If any errors were found, Windows will show that to you.

fix hard drive errors using chkdsk

  • If no errors were found after completion of the scan, click Close.

chkdsk utility Windows 10

Now, we will learn about the 2nd way to use chkdsk that is in command prompt.

How to Use chkdsk in Command Prompt to fix Hard Drive Errors?

This is a bit old school method, but it gives you a lot more control in disk checking process. If your Windows is not booting properly then you are stuck with this method, also it is the only way to force automatic fixing of hard drive errors if you are running Windows 10 or 8. The first thing we need to do is to open the command prompt in administrator mode.

  • Press Win key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).

command prompt admin mode

  • Now, type:

and hit enter. However, it only checks your drive for errors, it doesn’t do anything to fix them.

chkdsk command prompt

  • If you want to repair hard drive errors using chkdsk command, you have to add switches. You can use /f switch to fix errors on your disk. Type:
chkdsk /f

and hit enter. Now, if your drive is currently used by another program then chkdsk utility cannot run, it will simply ask you schedule it at next restart.

fix hard drive errors using chkdsk in command prompt

  • You can use /r switch to check for bad sectors and recover readable information from them. You can also scan a particular drive, to do so type:
chkdsk /r D:

and hit enter.

Recover readable data using chkdsk

  • You can also use multiple switches in one command by giving space in between every switch. For example type:
chkdsk /f /r D:

and hit enter.

chkdsk command prompt

There are lots of other switches you can use with chkdsk, here is the list of them:

"The complete syntax for Check Disk is as follows:
 CHKDSK [volume[[path]filename]] [/F] [/V] [/R] [/X] [/I] [/C] [/L[:size]]

The options and switches for Check Disk are used as follows:
 volume Sets the volume to work with
 path/filename Specifies files to check for fragmentation (FAT16 and FAT32 only)
 /F Fixes errors on the disk
 /V Displays the full path and name of every file on the disk (FAT16 and FAT32); displays cleanup messages if any (NTFS)
 /R Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information (implies /F)
 /X Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary (implies /F)
 /I Performs a minimum check of index entries (NTFS only)
 /C Skips checking of cycles within the folder structure (NTFS only)
 /L:size Sets the log file size (NTFS only)
 /B Re-evaluates bad clusters on the volume (NTFS only; implies /R)"

We hope you found this article helpful and it helped you in fixing your hard drive problems. If you have any questions or doubts, you can comment them down below. We would be happy to help.


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