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

Posted by Jim Tanous on April 4, 2016
chkdsk windows 10

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.
windows 10 command prompt admin
You’ll be presented with a UAC window requesting permission to launch the Command Prompt as Administrator. Click Yes to proceed and you’ll see a new Command Prompt window. You can verify that you’ve successfully granted the Command Prompt administrative privileges by ensuring that “Administrator: Command Prompt” is present in the window’s title bar.
windows 10 command prompt admin uac
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.”
chkdsk windows 10
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:

chkdsk [Drive:] [parameters]

In our example, it’s:

chkdsk C: /f /r /x

chkdsk windows 10 reboot
Note that CHKDSK needs to be able to lock the drive, meaning that it cannot be used to examine the system’s boot drive if the computer is in use. If your target drive is an external or non-boot internal disk, the CHKDSK process will begin as soon as we enter the command above. If, however, the target drive is a boot disk, the system will ask you if you’d like to run the command before the next boot. Type “yes” (or “y”), restart the computer, and the command will run before the operating system loads, allowing it to gain full access to the disk.
chkdsk windows 10 reboot scan
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.
A final note: we’ve covered how to run CHKDSK in previous versions of Windows, and some users who followed the suggested steps were alarmed to find that their hard drive space was significantly reduced after running the command. This result is due to a failing hard drive, as one of the crucial functions that CHKDSK performs is to identify and block bad sectors on the drive. A few bad sectors on an old drive will typically go unnoticed to the user, but if the drive is failing or has serious problems, you could have huge numbers of bad sectors that, when mapped and blocked by CHKDSK, appear to “steal” significant portions of your hard drive’s capacity.

flaming hard drive

Dramatization: actual failing hard drive may not spontaneously combust.
Image: Sandra.Matic / Shutterstock


This is expected behavior, and it means that those sectors, and any data potentially stored on them, have failed, even if you or your operating system didn’t realize it yet. CHKDSK will attempt to recover data from bad sectors when using the /r parameter, but some data may be corrupted and unrecoverable. Therefore, make sure to always keep good backups of all of your important data, and don’t blame CHKDSK (i.e., kill the messenger) for confirming that your PC’s hard drive is about to kick the proverbial bucket.

30 thoughts on “How to Scan & Fix Hard Drives with CHKDSK in Windows 10”

Philica says:
What would the solution when hard drive test fail except replace the hard drive
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Darwin Hector says:
This approach was very educational for me, since I was unaware of Windows PowerShell(Admin). Note, I am very familiar with DOS commands. However, this fix did not work for me because the hard drive was running too slow and may have other issue. Chkdsk timed out and the System rebooted.
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Bob Marasa says:
3 hours and stuck on “scanning and repairing drive C : 12% complete. It’s a 1 terabyte drive. What should I do? I only wanted to fix drive so I could back it up. Acronis said I had a bad sector and should run chkdsk before it would be able to do dat backup. Help!
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Lawal Kayode says:
Tried running check disk and got this responds, how do I resolve the issue
C:\Users\JIMKAY>chkdsk g:
The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.
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FredS says:
Looks like the disk you are trying to check is a raw volume and windows assigned a different letter to the volume you really want to check. Try typing>Diskpart
After Diskpart comes up: Diskpart>List Disk
Diskpart>select disk 0 [or whatever number is the disk you want to select]
Diskpart>List volume
notice the drive letter assigned to the volume you want to check (volume is just a name for a partition that’s been assigned a drive letter. Prior to formatting the volume is raw)
Diskpart>exit
type: chkdsk [your drive letter:] /f /r (no brackets around drive letter)
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FredS says:
correction:
type: chkdsk [your volume letter:] /f /r (no brackets around volume letter)
Paola says:
I’m trying to sort out a problem on my Toshiba laptop: I have run chkdsk C: /f /r /x and it says ‘windows has scanned the file system and found no problem’ which is good, then it says ‘no further action required’, but the last message says ‘Failed to transfer logged messages to the event log with status 50.’ what do I do now?
Paola
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FredS says:
I think that’s minor and not an issue. Meaning that the event log won’t list what you just did with chkdsk. As long as chkdsk did its job, you should be good to go.
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Ryan says:
I have an external drive. Do I have to do the chkdsk fix on every computer I plug it into to remember to ignore the bad sectors?
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Boyd Hamulondo says:
Scanning and repairing drive c in Windows 10. How long can it take for a 930 Gb C :drive?
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igobythisname says:
is ‘Error checking’ via hard drive properties the same as running CHKDSK?
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FredS says:
I think it’s like running chkdsk /f and not /r
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Steve says:
Sometimes check disk doesn’t work in serious data loss problem and at that time a need of data recovery software like Stellar Phoenix Windows Windows data recovery – Home need arises. Such data recovery tools help user to get their lost or deleted files from the corrupted hard drives. Even when those hard drives never repaired anymore.
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HANS says:
I tried it on a D: recovery partition: no errors
Then I tried it with C: typing yes + enter then restarted. It may take long the clear art says . But for half an hour I’ve been looking at “Scanning and repairing drive C: : 11% complete” … the percentage should increase I’d think, but so far it doesn’t. So How long can ‘it takes long’be for a 500 GB HDD? and is there a way to terminate chkdsk?
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Pua Tamandua says:
I’ve tried running it and it gets most of the way through and closes. I thought it stayed open with a reading but no. Does this mean it’s failing?
I ran a memory test as well and it said it would display results when restarted but nothing displayed. GRR.
No results from anything.
The file system keeps hanging up and needing restarted and sometimes large programs fail to open or a browser has issues but mainly the files.
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Lidia Sagastume says:
How do you exit this cmd and check disk? How?
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Michael L. Sheppard says:
Hi Jim Tanous, the above method is 100% working thanks a lot.
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Jetze Toek says:
Or you can use chkdsk /? to view a list of available parameters..
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Muken el Murloc #Team_Palto says:
what is a disc
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Jetze Toek says:
Any thin, flat, circular plate or object is often called a disc.
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Xyn Pihnar says:
I hate Western Digital, I always hated them, and still do, even more now that 1 hdd cable broke 3 drives.. fuck them.. fuck this shit and fuck life.. goddamnit.. im so fucking pissed godamn off with this shit.
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Jason Franks says:
Thanks so much this was extremely helpful. Totally fixed my locked up laptop
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Mark Peacey says:
It doesn’t work on my end
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stace0401 says:
I entered the command exactly how the article said to, but it keeps saying it cannot lock the drive because my volume is being used by another another process. When it asks if I would like this checked upon reboot I select yes and restart my computer. I tried the command again, and got the same thing. I’ve done this several times now with no success. Is there another way to find out what process is using my volume that it isn’t allowing me to proceed with the chkdsk command?
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HANS says:
It worked when I did an ‘enter’ after yes and then restart
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Nachman Ben Harush says:
thank you very much!
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Vasile Lucian BUJOR ( Vasi ) says:
Problem: After restart, when it’s written “wait 8 seconds or wait for it to start”, it doesn’t starts, like someone it’s pressing any keys, but I am not touching anything. What is happening? Windows 10 AE here.
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Vasile Lucian BUJOR ( Vasi ) says:
More exactly: windows 10 skips disk checking like I would press the keys, but I don’t press any key. I don’t touch anything. Laptop X230 Lenovo, without any usb device connected on it.
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Osei Emmanuel says:
When I type it, it give me stage 1 examining basic file system structure……
File record segment 27885 is unreadable
More. And more and more
After that nothing come up again
My hard disk is remaining the same what will I do
Now my hard disk is not accessible and file directory is corrupted my hard disk is 1.5TB I’m cry to lost my data pleasewhwt will I do hmmm
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FredS says:
Try booting into the Windows Recovery Environment (RE) from a windows installation disk; go to repair my computer; advanced; and then startup repair. Might fix startup issues. If that doesn’t work try using system restore from the Windows Recovery Environment (RE). Also, research using Diskpart from the command prompt and making sure your system reserved partition as the active partition if startup repair doesn’t work. If your C: drive partition is marked as active, system will not boot and go into a loop. The system reserved partition that Windows 10 creates has all the bootup files on it that then boots windows from the c: system partition. Keep in mind that Diskpart might list the volume with a different letter than c: depending on how many partitions are on the drive. You can then also run chkdsk /f /r on the system reserved partition to make sure that partiton has no errors on it. If all else fails, remove your drive and hook it up via a usb to SATA cable or USB external docking station and copy all you data off the drive with another computer. Then buy a new drive and reinstall the OS and recopy your data back to your new drive in the system. WARNING: Be careful using Diskpart. Only use after backing your data off the drive first and after trying startup repair or system restore. Only use to mark the recovery partition as active unless you are comfortable using Diskpart. Good luck.
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Ramiro Rodriguez says:
Awesome! I have some hard drive issues and I figured that CHKDSK was the way to go. But I haven’t used that since the days of DOS. Great advice. I’m going to fix my disk now. I hope to read more of your stuff 🙂
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Eraviel says:
I did a chkdsk /f /r /x cuz my pc went BSOD with 0x00000154 bug check code, and I researched that this command is a solution, but it’s stuck at 17% for more than 5 hours already. My pc is not frozen cuz the dots in win 10 bootscreen is still moving.
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Biswa Ranjan says:
Exactly same thing happen to me also. Wht to do as should I stop the scanning/wait till many more hours.
Should I face any issue back to O’s running???
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Perfidious Albion bent & broke says:
Same here. Hours passed and the Boot screen still has the spinning dots.
Black Atheists says:
Does this work for HDD’s that were visible but are now invisible to Windows 10?
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Ian Prietz says:
I had to use the Recovery restart option to get to the Advanced Troubleshooting options, so I could use that command prompt.
My Windows 10 kept notifying me of drive repair and errors but would never do anything on restart, even if I scheduled it with the Command Prompt the way you described.
Thanks for the help with the command though. Big help. It’s still running the scan right now.
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Darin G Oar says:
im trying to run check disk but on restart it says press any key to skip…I dont press anything and it skips! any suggestions?
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Clems says:
Could be a stuck key on your keyboard? Try it with no keyboard plugged in.
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Destroy Progressives says:
I upgrade my boot drive (did a clone) and now whenever I boot windows 10, I get the “scanning and reparing drive e:” message, where E is just a storage drive that I use. It’s very annoying. I also get a random iomap64.sys BSOD but that’s probably unrelated.. prob should just do a clean install on my new hdd.
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Clems says:
Clean install best option. It sounds like windows is getting confused as to which is your system drive (either that or the clone software caused an issue).
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Destroy Progressives says:
Turned out the E drive was bad, won’t even register with a usb-to-sata. I might still do a clean install eventually but so far so good! 🙂
I cloned a 120gb SSD to a new 500gb Samsung EVO and then I reclaimed the rest of the data on the 500gb so my OS is now 100% on the new SSD.
Clems says:
SSD is the way to go! I’ve had my boot drive SSD for 3 years now and it’s still has100% life left. I’ve also got a 1TB Samsung Evo SSD data drive – best purchase I’ve ever made. Amazing drive 🙂
Destroy Progressives says:
Absolutely! The 120gb I cloned was almost 6 years old and worked perfectly since day 1! I just wanted an upgrade in space since 6 years ago, that 120 SSD was $300!
Stephen Partington says:
One of the most useful disk checking instructions I’ve found. Thanks very much for your clear presentation. It helped to solve a string of problems for me.
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Yeison Oliveros says:
my hd have some bad sectors, every-time i use it (in external box) and 2 times show the msg “Format the disk to can use it”… and lost very much info…
With this process i can recover my drive and don´t get again the alert msg?
Thanks a lot…
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Clems says:
No, this won’t work. Your drive has lost it’s format information which means your computer thinks it’s a new drive. It’s more than likely a corrupt partition. Unfortunately you will have lost all your data. You will need to get some recovery software and try to rescue the lost data.
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James Noll says:
try Disk Doctor

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