Test and fix errors on your drives with Error Checking (chkdsk) in Windows 10
The Error Checking or chkdsk tool verifies the partitions and disk drives in your Windows computer for problems such as disk errors or bad sectors. You can also use this tool to repair errors and have your drives working normally again. In Windows 10, chkdsk is available through a graphic interface called Error Checking. The command-line tool has kept its original name as in the previous Windows versions: chkdsk. Here is how to use Error Checking in Windows 10 to fix problems with your SSD or HDD drives:
NOTE: To use the tool covered in this article, you need to be logged in as an administrator.
How to start Error Checking in Windows 10
First, open File Explorer in Windows 10. Go to This PC and then to "Devices and drives." Right-click or press and hold the drive that you want to check for errors and, in the right-click menu, choose Properties. Alternatively, you can click on the drive and then press the ALT+Enter keys on your keyboard.
The Properties window is opened for the drive that you selected. Go to the Tools tab and look for the "Error checking" section. There, click or tap the Check button.
The Error Checking window is opened for the selected drive.
How to check a disk for errors in Windows 10, with Error Checking
Windows 10 automatically runs maintenance tasks at regular intervals. Therefore, when the Error Checking window is opened, it is likely to say "You don't need to scan this drive." Even so, you can force a manual check, by clicking or tapping Scan drive.
A progress bar is shown, sharing the process of the error checking process for the drive that you selected.
When it is over, and all is well with your drive, you are informed that it was successfully scanned and no errors were found. If you click the Show Details link that is shown together with this notification, the Event Viewer is opened to the detailed log of the error checking process.
If you scroll through the Event Viewer log, you can see how the scan progressed and the detailed results of the whole process.
This is useful information if you want to learn what the Error Checking tool did in Windows. The first thing you notice is that the Error Checking interface runs the chkdsk tool in the background. The output stored for the Error Checking event is the output of the chkdsk tool.
The tool runs the checks in three stages:
- Stage 1: Examining basic file system structure
- Stage 2: Examining file name linkage
- Stage 3: Examining security descriptors
When you are done, close the Event Viewer window and press the Close button in the Error Checking window.
How to repair errors on your drive with Error Checking, in Windows 10
The error checking process may say that it has found errors on your drive that need repair, like in the screenshot below.
When that happens, click Close and a new Error Checking window is displayed with a button that says "Repair drive." Click or tap on this button.
Now you are shown one or two options: "Repair now" and "Repair on next restart." Choose the one that you prefer.
If you press "Repair now," a progress bar is shown of the repair process. When the drive is repaired, you are informed. If you click or tap "Show Details" the Event Viewer loads, where you can see the complete logs of the repairs that were made. If you do not want to see the logs, press Close and you are done.
If you press "Repair on next restart," the repair process is automatically started the next time you restart your Windows 10 computer or device. Before Windows 10 loads, you are told that "To skip disk checking, press any key within" a few seconds (maximum 10).
We recommend that you do not do that and allow the repair process to be performed for the drive with errors. Then, the chkdsk tool automatically scans and repairs the drive.
When the repair is over, Windows 10 is loaded, and you can sign in. A complete log of the repairs that were made can be found in the Event Viewer tool mentioned earlier in this article.
How to run chkdsk from the Command Prompt or PowerShell
If you want to skip the Error Checking graphical interface, you can run chkdsk from the Command Prompt or PowerShell. Read this tutorial to learn to launch the Command Prompt in Windows, and this one for launching PowerShell in Windows.
In this example, we have run chkdsk with the /f parameter which immediately fixes the errors that it finds without asking if you want to do the repairs.
This guide teaches you how to do this: Command Prompt - 6 disk management commands you should know (see section 5 "How to check a disk for errors from the Command Prompt").
Error Checking in Windows 10 can check any partition, including the system partition, even if it is in use. This tool can save the day when problems appear with your data and your hard disk(s). For example, if a power outage takes place, your computer stops, and this can cause file corruption. A quick scan and repair with Error Checking is of great help. If you want to learn more about other useful tools in Windows, do not hesitate to read the articles recommended below.