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How to Check Your Hard Drive for Errors

Windows 10 in the “health check”: With a simple command, users can have the hard drive examined for errors. (Source: Getty Images) Windows offers an analysis program to check the hard drive for possible errors. However, it...

How to Check Your Hard Drive for Errors

How to Check Your Hard Drive for ErrorsWindows 10 in the “health check”: With a simple command, users can have the hard drive examined for errors. (Source: Getty Images)

Windows offers an analysis program to check the hard drive for possible errors. However, it is well hidden and the user has to dig a little deeper into the command box.

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Older versions of Windows had a program called Scandisk that checked the hard drive for errors. In the current Microsoft Windows 10 operating system, the “chckdsk” command is used instead, with which various file systems and external hard drives can be examined. We explain how to start the scan.
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Important: close all running programs beforehand and allow some time in which you may not be able to continue working. This is because the drive cannot be accessed during the analysis.

Option 1: Start the hard disk scan with the mouse

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Right click on the hard drive to be checked.
  3. Open the “Properties” in the context menu.
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  5. Now select the “Tools” tab and click on Check. You need administrator rights to run it.
  6. Click on “Scan drive” to start the process.

Depending on the size of the drive, the process may take a few minutes. It can be stopped with the “Cancel” button.

Option 2: Start the hard disk scan with the command prompt

“Chckdsk” can also be started from the command prompt. This has the advantage that the user can also order the repair of any errors found.

    1. Enter “cmd” in the search bar to bring up the command prompt.
    2. Hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys while clicking the application. This will start it with administrator rights. This must first be confirmed with “Yes”.
    3. To check drive “C:”, enter this command: “chkdsk C:”. If another drive is to be examined, change the drive letter accordingly.

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The two additional parameters “chkdsk C: / f / r” also initiate a repair at the same time. Bad sectors are recognized and readable data is restored.

Before starting the scan, make sure that the drive is not being used by any process, otherwise an error message will appear. The reason: The disk to be checked is locked during the analysis and repair until the process is complete.
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If the data carrier is still in use, Windows may offer to perform an automatic check on the next restart. If necessary, this is confirmed with “Y” for “Yes” and the enter key.
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Caution! A hard drive check on reboot should not be interrupted. 

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  • Hard drive myths: should you turn off your computer during a thunderstorm?

Otherwise, a hard disk scan that was started at a command prompt can be prematurely terminated during operation using the key combination “Ctrl + C”. However, it is advisable to carry out a complete check of the hard disk at regular intervals.
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