How to Run a chkdsk to Repair Your Damaged Hard Drive

Published on 09-17-2008  | 

Over time, your Windows XP/2000 PC will develop errors on the hard drive. These errors can be the result of hardware failure, improper shut downs, or power outages. Many times these hard disk problems can be repaired using the chkdsk command. This help article will explain how to use the chkdsk command and how to tell if your hard drive is about to fail despite your repair efforts.

Note: It would be a good idea to install a free utility like Drive Adviser to check your drive's physical health before continuing. This test and repair process is by necessity very intensive and will make your
hard drive work extremely hard as it scans every sector on your disk. If your
drive is making any unusual sounds (especially a distinct clicking noise) this
test may actually cause your drive to mechanically fail. If you have the ability
to back up your important data, do so before running this test.

Required Items:

To complete this procedure you will need the following:

  1. A Windows XP/2000 boot CD or a series of boot disks (Get boot disks here if you need them)
  2. A Computer with an IDE hard drive special disks are needed if you have a SATA drive)

Repair Procedure:

  1. Boot your computer from your Windows XP Cd or from your 6-disk XP/2000 Boot Disk Set. To do this, insert your CD or Floppy #1 and turn your computer on. When the menu comes up, select boot from CD or boot from floppy (do not select boot from hard drive).
  2. Your computer will begin to boot. Eventually, you will see a screen asking you what you would like to do. Press the ltter R on your keyboard to proceed to the Windows Recovery Console.
  3. As you progress to the Recovery Console you may be asked which partition you would like to boot into. Type the number associated with the partition containing your NTFS partition (usually 1 or 2) and then press enter to continue. You may be asked for your administrator password. If you have one, type it in and press enter. If you do not have a password to boot your computer into Windows, simply press enter.
  4. Now youshould be at a command prompt. from here, typr the following command without the quotes and press enter: "chkdsk /p"
  5. This is a short test that will tell you whether or not a longer test is needed. If after the test completes, the message "One or more errors detected on the volume" appears, then proceed to step 6. If no errors are reported, then your drive can not be repaired using chkdsk.
  6. Now you should be back at the command prompt. Type the following command without the quotes and press enter: "chkdsk /r"
  7. This test will take a while depending on the size of your drive. It will look for the errors on your drive and repair them. When it completes, you will be back at a command prompt.
  8. Now type "chkdsk /p" again and press enter. If no errors are reported, your drive has been successfully repaired and is safe to use again temporarily. If errors are still reported, then your drive is on its last leg. You may be able to boot it now though.
  9. Remove the floppy disk or CD from your system and restart the PC. Take a moment now to back up your important data.

Additional Syntax for Experienced Users

  • /F Automatically Fix file system errors on the disk.
  • /X Fix file system errors on the disk, (Win2003 and above)
    dismounts the volume first, closing all open file handles.
  • /R Scan for and attempt Recovery of bad sectors.
  • /V Display the full path and name of every file on the disk.
  • /L:size NTFS only: change the log file size to the specified number of kilobytes. If size is not specified, displays the current log size and the drive type
    (FAT or NTFS).
  • /C Skip directory corruption checks.
  • /I Skip corruption checks that compare directory entries to the
    file record segment (FRS) in the volume's master file table (MFT)

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