Quick check for hard disk errors

If you suspect that one of your drives is not performing well or is not showing up in certain utilities such as, Disk Defragmenter then your first step would be a check disk operation. A Check disk operation includes automatic fixes for both file system and physical errors. To start this operation right-click a disk drive from the windows explorer or the Start menu Computer item. From the properties window, click the Tools tab and under Error-checking click Check Now.

Make sure that the Automatically fix file system errors option is checked, otherwise the operation will find hard disk problems without fixing them! The check disk operation for the system drive (often the c:) will be scheduled for the next restart. You are prompted to either schedule the operation or cancel it.

The Scan for an attempt recovery of bad sectors option would perform a thorough check of the selected disk and attempts to find and repair physical errors. This operation can take quite long, depending on the disk size, number of files and folders, and number of problems found. At the end of the operation a report is displayed.

Checking hard drives for errors can also be done from the command prompt with ChkDsk.exe. For example, to check a large volume as quickly as possible, from an elevated command prompt type:

ChkDsk.exe D: /f  /c /i

The command-line ChkDsk syntax is as follows:

CHKDSK [volume[[path]filename]]] [/F] [/V] [/R] [/X] [/I] [/C] [/L[:size]] [/B]

 volume   – Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon), mount point, or volume name.
 filename- FAT/FAT32 only: Specifies the files to check for fragmentation.

  /F - Fixes errors on the disk
  /V - On FAT/FAT32: Displays the full path and name of every file on the disk. On NTFS: Displays cleanup messages if any
  /R - Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information (implies /F)
  /L:size - NTFS only:  Changes the log file size to the specified number of kilobytes.  If size is not specified, displays current size
  /X - Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary. All opened handles to the volume would then be invalid(implies /F)
  /I - NTFS only: Performs a less vigorous check of index entries
  /C - NTFS only: Skips checking of cycles within the folder structure
  /B - NTFS only: Re-evaluates bad clusters on the volume (implies /R)

The /I or /C switch reduces the amount of time required to run Chkdsk by skipping certain checks of the volume.