Check and Repair Computer Hard Drive Using chkdsk

It is possible that your hard drive fails, that it has an error, a problem with a corrupt file or caused by an application. Windows offers the user a tool so that, without having to have a lot of technical knowledge, you can check if this failure really exists and repair it. This tool is called chkdsk and it is a command that we can use in any version of Windows and that will allow us, in a few steps, to correct those malfunctions that affect a fundamental piece of our equipment such as the hard disk.

If you are a user of Windows 10, Microsoft‘s most recent operating system, you may already know that your computer is responsible for performing these tasks by itself, but you can also perform them manually. Automatic maintenance is responsible for reviewing errors and correcting these small defects without you having to do anything, but if you are used to doing it or if you have a less current Windows operating system, we are going to teach you how to perform these checks using chkdsk.

Check and Repair Computer Hard Drive

Although chkdsk seems a complicated command to learn and something very technical, it is actually short for Checkdisk, disk checking, something much simpler than it may seem at first glance. And we can use this tool in two ways, so you can choose the one that is simpler or less complicated according to your knowledge.

Check a hard drive for errors from Computer

This first route to the bug checking tool or chkdsk is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is open Windows Explorer and, in the side menu, click on This computer. There you can view all your discs to choose the one we want to examine. When you have decided which disk you are going to analyze, click on it with the right button and choose the Properties option. When the Properties window opens , look for the Tools tab and there you will find two options: Error checking and Optimize and defragment drive.


We are interested in the first one, Error checking. In order to click on Check we will need administrator privileges. Once we click on Check, it will give us the option to Examine Unit and the computer will register that hard drive in search of errors or failures. When it’s done, if it hasn’t found anything wrong, the scan will return a message that no errors were found.

In the event that a problem has been found during the analysis, the tool will ask us to restart the computer so that the problems found can be solved when Windows starts up again. Again, this step in Windows 10 would be unnecessary because the operating system itself is responsible, in its maintenance work, for doing these checks and repairs on its own. But if you still want to start an analysis manually, this route that we have seen would be the way to get to it and start it.

Use the chkdsk command in Command Prompt

If you prefer to use commands, because you are used to it or because it is more complete and with more options than a simple system check, chkdsk can also be run from the console as administrator. You should open, as always, cmd or Command Prompt, or Powershell if you have it available in your operating system. You must do it, as we have been counting, with administrator privileges. And when you access you will be able to write the chkdsk command followed by a series of guidelines that we will explain to you.

Although we leave you a list with all the commands that you can use for this tool, with its explanation and its formulation when writing it in the console, the most classic and simple command that we must execute to perform a scan and repair to all our disk, it is: chkdsk C: / F / R

In this case C: refers to the hard disk in question that we are going to analyze , so if your disk uses another letter you will have to change it. / F means that we ask you to correct errors on the disk in addition to scanning. And with / R we are going to request that the analysis find the bad sectors on the disk and, if possible, recover their information.

It is possible that the console will return a message saying that the chkdsk command cannot be executed because the disk in question that we want to analyze is in use. And it will ask us if we want to carry out this analysis the next time the computer is restarted. We will say yes and we will proceed, at that time or later, to restart the computer so that the checks that we have requested are carried out.

Commands that we can use with chkdsk

We must write the following:

CHKDSK [volume [[path] file name]]] [/ F] [/ V] [/ R] [/ X] [/ I] [/ C] [/ L [: size]] [/ B] [/ scan] [/ spotfix]


Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon), mount point, or volume name.


For FAT / FAT32 only – Specifies the files to check for fragmentation.


Fix disk errors.

/ V

For FAT / FAT32 it shows the full path and name of each file on the disk. For NTFS it shows cleanup messages if any.

/ R

Finds bad sectors and recovers readable information (implies use of / F if / scan is not specified).

/ L: size

NTFS only – Resizes the log file to the specified number of kilobytes. If no size is specified, it shows the current size.

/ X

Forces the volume to be unmounted in advance if necessary. No handle open to volume will be valid (implies the use of / F).

/ I

For NTFS only: Performs a less thorough check of index entries.

/ C

NTFS only: Skip checking loops within the folder structure.

/ B

NTFS only – Reassess bad clusters on the volume (involves the use of / R).

/ scan

NTFS only. Run an online exam on the volume.

/ forceofflinefix

NTFS only: (must be used with / scan) skips all online repairs; all found defects are queued for offline repair (ie “chkdsk / spotfix”).

/ perf

NTFS only: (to be used with / scan) Use more system resources to complete a scan as quickly as possible. This could adversely affect the performance of other tasks running on the system.

/ spotfix

NTFS only – Runs a point fix on the volume.

/ sdclean

NTFS only: collects the unused items in the security descriptor’s unnecessary data (implies the use of / F).

/ offlinescanandfix

Run an offline scan and repair on the volume.

/ freeorphanedchains

FAT / FAT32 / exFAT only: frees any orphan cluster strings instead of retrieving their content.

/ markclean

FAT / FAT32 / exFAT only – Marks the volume as clean if no corruption is detected, even if / F is not specified.

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