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Using the CHKDSK Utility in Microsoft Windows

Summary: Learn how to run the CHKDSK utility provided in Windows 11 and Windows 10 to correct file errors or bad sectors on a hard disk.

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Using the Check Disk Option (CHKDSK) to Detect and Correct Disk Errors

Check Disk scans your hard disk for errors and corrects those errors. The Check Disk option runs the CHKDSK program, which is supplied with all versions of Windows.

CHKDSK can either scan your hard disk and provide a report, or scan your disk and correct both file errors and bad sectors. A file error is an error in the Windows filing system. A bad sector is an area on your hard disk that is unable to store information. Correcting file errors takes more time than reporting, and correcting both file errors and bad sectors takes even longer.

CHKDSK can take anywhere from minutes to hours to complete, depending on the following factors:

  • The number of files
  • The size of the hard disk
  • The number of errors on the hard drive
  • The options chosen
Note: CHKDSK takes over the hard disk and does not allow other programs to run until complete. Be sure to run CHKDSK when several hours of downtime are acceptable.
Warning: Do not interrupt CHKDSK while it is running unless certain that the program has stopped responding or shows an error message. Interrupting CHKDSK by restarting the system can result in the creation of additional errors. 

This topic covers the most frequently used aspects of CHKDSK. For more comprehensive information, see the Microsoft article CHKDSK This hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies. which discusses CHKDSK options and parameters in detail.

The following section explains how to run the Check Disk option in Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Run CHKDSK in Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Using the Graphical User Interface (UI)

  1. Click the file folder in the Taskbar to open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the drive to perform a check disk, then select Properties.
  3. Click the Tools tab in the Properties window.
  4. Click Check under error checking. To perform a complete check of the hard drive for errors, check off both options in the open check disk window.
  5. Click the Start button to start the process. If checking a hard drive with open files, an error message appears stating Windows can’t check the disk while it’s in use. Click Schedule disk check. The computer will reboot and check the disk before Windows boots up.

Using the Command-Line Interface

  1. CHKDSK can also run using the command line (DOS) prompt.
  2. Click Start and then click Run.
  3. Open the command prompt and type cmd in the search box.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Right-click cmd.exe in the search results and then select Run as Administrator.
  6. Type CHKDSK /f and press Enter.

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Last Published Date

09 Jul 2024



Article Type

How To