CHKDSK is a Windows utility that can check the integrity of your hard disk and can fix various file system errors.

CHKDSK (or chkdsk.exe) is short for “check disk”.

It’s recommended to use this utility when your computer shows various boot errors. The check disk utility can be run if you need a fix for the following errors:

The check disk utility can repair problems such as:

  • bad sectors
  • lost clusters
  • cross-linked files
  • directory errors

Screenshots

The check disk tool can be run via Command Prompt or, if you can boot into Windows from My Computer > Properties > Tools depending on the Windows version you installed on your PC.

The command line tool can be ran on a Windows XP computer from within the Windows XP Recovery Console:

chkdsk in Windows XP Recovery Console

The utility from within Windows XP, from My Computer and not Command Prompt:

chkdsk in Windows XP at My Computer

This is how you start a scan with the disk utility if you can boot into Windows Vista:

chkdsk in Windows Vista at My Computer

How to run CHKDSK in Windows

This utility is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 or 8.1.

If you can boot into Windows, you can run the check disk utility on each hard drive or partition you have available in My Computer.

If you can’t boot the operating system, you can run the tool from Command Prompt either by booting your computer into the Recovery Mode or by using the original installation disc to run Command Prompt.

CHKDSK in Windows XP

If you can boot into Windows XP, you can run the utility either from the Command Prompt or from My Computer.

From Command Prompt

If you can’t boot into Windows XP to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows XP – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

To run the utility from the Command Prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Boot your computer
  2. Go to Start
  3. Click Run
  4. Type cmd in the boxWindows XP - cmd command at Run
  5. Press Enter
  6. You can now type chkdsk to open the utility in a read-only modeWindows XP Command Prompt
  7. Press Enter
  8. To repair errors, follow these instructions:
    • To repair errors without scanning for any bad sectors, type chkdsk volume: /f and press Enter, where volume is the letter of the drive you’d like to run a scan for, e.g. C: or D:Example of a command you need to type if your volume is C:
      chkdsk C: /f
    • To repair errors and scan for bad sectors, type chkdsk volume: /r and press Enter, where volume is the letter of the drive you’d like to repair, e.g. C: or D:Example of command you need to type if the volume you want to scan is D:
      chkdsk D: /r

From My Computer

If you can’t boot into Windows XP to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows XP – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

To run CHKDSK from within Windows XP, but without Command Prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Boot your computer
  2. Go to on My Computer (double-click on the icon)
  3. Right-click on the hard disk you’d like to run the utility on
  4. Click Properties
  5. Click Tools
  6. At the Error-checking tab, select Check NowWindows XP Error Checking in My Computer
  7. To run the utility in the read-only mode, simply click Start
  8. To repair errors, follow these instructions:
    • To repair errors without scanning for bad sectors, select the Automatically fix file system errors box and click Start
    • To repair errors and scan for bad sectors, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors box and click Start
  9. Once finished, the utility will notify you if the scan reported errors (Errors were found and fixed.) or not (No errors were found.)

From the installation disc

If you don’t have the installation disc to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows XP – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

If you can’t boot into Windows XP to run the utility use your original Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to open Recovery Console.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the installation CD in the disk tray
  2. Restart your computer to boot from the CD
  3. At the “Press any key” message, press any key to make sure you boot from the CD
  4. At the Windows Options menu, press R to open Recovery Console
  5. Enter the Administrator password
  6. When Command Prompt appears on your screen, type the command you need:
    chkdsk C: /r

    where C: is the letter of the drive where Windows is installed and the /r parameter will try to repair errors and scan for bad sectors.

CHKDSK in Windows Vista

To run this utility on Windows Vista computer, you can choose any of the following methods:

    • From Command Prompt, if you can boot into Windows Vista
    • From My Computer
    • From the Recovery Console of your original installation

disk

From Command Prompt

If you can’t boot into Windows Vista to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows Vista – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

If you can boot into your operating system, run Command Prompt:

  1. Open Windows Vista
  2. Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt or in the search box type Command Prompt and double-click the Command Prompt item available in the search results list.Windows Vista - Run Command Prompt as Administrator
  3. When Command Prompt launches, type the command:
    chkdsk C: /r
  4. If Windows Vista is installed on another drive that’s not labeled as C:, replace C: with the letter of your hard disk:
    chkdsk D: /r
  5. Press Enter

If Command Prompt shows errors, try to run the command again until it shows no errors.

From My Computer

If you can’t boot into Windows Vista to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows Vista – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

You can also run the utility by going to Computer (My Computer):

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Go to Computer
  3. Right-click on the drive you want check
  4. Click Properties
  5. At the Tools tab, under the Error-checking section, click Check NowWindows Vista - Error checking in My Computer
  6. If prompted, enter the Administrator password
  7. You can now run the disk check tool:
    • To automatically repair errors, select Automatically fix file system errorschkdsk - Check disk options
    • To perform a thorough check, select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
    • You can also check both Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  8. Click Start

Don’t use the computer until the disk check is done. It may take several minutes depending on the hard disk size.

From the installation disc

If you don’t have the installation disc to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows Vista – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

If you can’t boot into Windows Vista, use the original installation disc to open Command Prompt (the Recovery Console) and run the commands you need:

  1. Insert the install disc and restart your computer
  2. Press any key when the message appear to boot from the disk
  3. Click Repair your computerInstall Windows Vista screen
  4. Select Command Prompt
  5. Enter the Administrator password, if prompted
  6. When Command Prompt appears, type the command:
    chkdsk c: /r

    where C: is your hard disk drive’s letter (can be different from C: used here).

  7. Press Enter

CHKDSK in Windows 7

The steps to run this utility in Windows 7 are similar to those of Windows Vista.

From Command Prompt

If you can’t boot into Windows 7 to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 7 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

If you can boot into Windows 7, run the utility from Command Prompt directly:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type cmd at the Search program and files search box
  3. Right-click on cmd.exe
  4. Click Run as AdministratorWindows 7 - Run Command Prompt as Administrator
  5. Type in your Administrator password
  6. When cmd.exe opens, type the command:
    chkdsk
  7. Press Enter
  8. You can run the tool with more parameters, like this:
    chkdsk c: /r

    This will check the drive for errors and will automatically try to fix any found errors.

  9. If you receive the “Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process.” message, type Y to restart the computer and let the utility to run a scan at the next boot of your PC
  10. After you typed Y, close the Command Prompt
  11. Restart the computer by going to Start > Shutdown > Restart
  12. At the next boot, the check disk utility will automatically run a scan

From My Computer

If you can’t boot into Windows 7 to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 7 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

The check disk utility can also be ran from My Computer to check for errors on your hard disk.

To do so, follow these instructions:

  1. Right-click on the Start icon
  2. Click Open Windows Explorer
  3. On the left side of the window, click Computer
  4. At the Hard Disk Drives section, right-click on the volume you want to check for errors
  5. Click Properties
  6. Go to the Tools Tab
  7. At the Error-checking section click Check nowWindows 7 - Error checking in My Computer
  8. You can now run the check disk utility: select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors to let the utility attempt to repair any hard drive errors found
  9. Click Start

If the volume you want to check is in use, e.g. C:/ where Windows Vista is installed, you may receive the following error message:

Windows can't check the disk while it's in use

Do you want to check for hard disk errors the next time you start your computer?

Schedule disk check | Cancel

If so, follow these steps:

  1. Click Schedule disk check
  2. Exit any open programs
  3. Restart your computer
  4. Your computer will now restart and automatically boot and the utility will perform a scan automatically

If you receive the “Do you want to dismount this volume first?” message, follow the steps below. This message appears if the volume you want to checked is locked, even if it’s not in use (e.g. the C:/ drive):

Windows can't check the disk while it's in use

Do you want to dismount this volume first? Note: All opened handles to this volume will become invalid.

Force a dismount | Cancel

If so, follow these steps:

  1. Click Force a dismount
  2. A scan will automatically start now

From the installation disc

If you don’t have the installation disc to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 7 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

Follow these steps:

  1. Insert the original Windows disc
  2. Restart your PC and boot from the disc
  3. Click Repair your computer
  4. Choose the operating system from the list
  5. Click Next
  6. Choose Command Prompt
  7. When it opens, type the command:
    chkdsk /f /r
  8. Press Enter

CHKDSK in Windows 8 or 8.1

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can run this utility by choosing any of the following methods:

From Command Prompt

If you can’t boot into Windows 8/8.1 to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 8/8.1 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

To run it from Command Prompt, here are the instructions:

  1. Log into Windows 8/8.1
  2. Press the Windows and C key to open the Charm bar
  3. Select Search
  4. Type-in cmd
  5. Right-click on Command Prompt from the search results listWindows 8 - cmd in search list
  6. Click Run as administratorWindows 8 - Run as Administrator option
  7. Log in as an Administrator
  8. When Command Prompt launches, type the command:
    chkdsk C: /f /r /x

    The parameters for this command are:

    /f option will attempt to fix any found errors

    /r option will locate for bad sectors and recovery any readable information

    /x option will force the volume you’re about to check to be dismounted before the utility begins a scan

    If the C: drive is in use, type Y to run a scan at your PC’s next restart. If so, exit Command Prompt and restart the computer.

From My Computer

If you can’t boot into Windows 8/8.1 to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 8/8.1 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

To run the check disk utility from Computer (My Computer), follow these steps:

  1. Boot into Windows 8/8.1
  2. Double-click on Computer (My Computer) to open it
  3. Select the drive you want to run a check on, e.g. C:\
  4. Right-click on the drive
  5. Click Properties
  6. Go to the Tools tab
  7. Select Check, at the Error checking section
  8. If you receive the following message, click Scan drive to begin the scan:
    You don't need to scan this drive
    
    We haven't found any errors on this drive. You can still scan the drive for errors if you want.
    
    Scan Drive
  9. You can keep using the drive during the scan. If errors are found, you can decide if you want to fix them. Depending on the results of this scan, the utility will report the results:
    • If no errors were found, you’ll see this message:
      Your drive was successfully scanned
      Windows successfully scanned the drive. No errors were found.
    • If errors were found, you’ll see this message instead:
      Restart your computer to repair file system. You can restart right away or schedule the error fixing on next restart.

From the installation disc

If you don’t have the installation disc to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 8/8.1 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

If you can’t boot into Windows 8/8.1 to run Command Prompt, you can use the original Windows 8/8.1 installation disc to run Command Prompt from there.

To do so, follow these instructions:

    1. Insert the installation disc
    2. Restart your computer
    3. Press any key to boot from the disc, at the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…” message
    4. Choose your keyboard layout
    5. Select your language, time and a keyboard method
    6. Click Next
    7. Click Repair your computer

  • At the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot
  • At the Troubleshoot screen, click Advanced options
  • At the Advanced options screen, click Command Prompt
  • When Command Prompt launches, type the command:
    chkdsk C: /f /x /r
  • Press Enter

CHKDSK in Windows 10

Windows 10 users can run this utility by choosing any of the following methods:

From Command Prompt

If you can’t boot into Windows 10 to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 10 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

To run it from Command Prompt, here are the instructions:

  1. Log into Windows 10
  2. Press the Windows key to open the Start Menu
  3. Select Search
  4. Type-in cmd
  5. Right-click on Command Prompt from the search results listcmd
  6. Click Run as administrator
  7. Log in as an Administrator
  8. When Command Prompt launches, type the command:
    chkdsk C: /f /r /x

    The parameters for this command are:

    /f option will attempt to fix any found errors

    /r option will locate for bad sectors and recovery any readable information

    /x option will force the volume you’re about to check to be dismounted before the utility begins a scan

    If the C: drive is in use, type Y to run a scan at your PC’s next restart. If so, exit Command Prompt and restart the computer.

From My Computer

If you can’t boot into Windows 10 to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 10 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

To run the check disk utility from Computer (My Computer), follow these steps:

  1. Boot into Windows 10
  2. Double-click on Computer (My Computer) to open it
  3. Select the drive you want to run a check on, e.g. C:\
  4. Right-click on the drive
  5. Click Properties
  6. Go to the Tools tab
  7. Select Check, at the Error checking section
  8. If you receive the following message, click Scan drive to begin the scan:
    You don't need to scan this drive
    
    We haven't found any errors on this drive. You can still scan the drive for errors if you want.
    
    Scan Drive
  9. You can keep using the drive during the scan. If errors are found, you can decide if you want to fix them. Depending on the results of this scan, the utility will report the results:
    • If no errors were found, you’ll see this message:
      Your drive was successfully scanned
      Windows successfully scanned the drive. No errors were found.
    • If errors were found, you’ll see this message instead:
      Restart your computer to repair file system. You can restart right away or schedule the error fixing on next restart.

From the installation disc

If you don’t have the installation disc to run chkdsk, download Easy Recovery Essentials – our recovery disk for Windows 10 – and run Automated Repair or Command Prompt directly. You can burn EasyRE on CDs, DVDs or USBs.

If you can’t boot into Windows 10 to run Command Prompt, you can use the original Windows 10 installation disc to run Command Prompt from there.

To do so, follow these instructions:

    1. Insert the installation disc
    2. Restart your computer
    3. Press any key to boot from the disc, at the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…” message
    4. Choose your keyboard layout
    5. Select your language, time and a keyboard method
    6. Click Next
    7. Click Repair your computer

win10_setup

  • At the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot

win10_restore

Commands and parameters

The check disk utility has several parameters that you can use:

/c – applicable to a NTFS volume only

/f – this option fixes errors on a volume

/i – applicable to a NTFS volume only. This option performs a check of index entries

/r – this option also implies the /f and /p option. This option locates the bad sectors of your hard drive and recovers any readable information

Depending if you run the utility from Command Prompt or Recovery Console, the following parameters are different:

/p – this fixes any errors on a volume. In your standard Command Prompt /p is only read-only

The mandatory requirement of this utility is the volume you’re about to check must not be locked. If a volume you’re about to scan is locked, you’ll receive this message:

Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked
the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

If so, type Y and press Enter to perform a scan at the next boot of your system.

Download chkdsk

chkdsk can’t be downloaded as it’s a command available with Windows. You can use the original installation disc to run the utility tool.

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials and open Command Prompt to run specific chkdsk commands:

You can burn Easy Recovery Essentials to CDs, DVDs or USBs and run Command Prompt.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  2. Burn the ISO Image. Follow our instructions on how to burn a bootable ISO image. If you’d like to have a recovery USB instead, follow our instructions on how to make a recovery USB.
  3. Boot into the recovery media
  4. Select Launch Command Line

Troubleshooting

Cannot continue in read-only mode

If you receive the “Errors found. CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode.” error message after running a check disk command, make sure you run the command with the /r parameter:

chkdsk /f

If the disk check utility must be ran on another volume, update the command with the letter of the drive you want to run a scan for:

chkdsk D: /f

Cannot run because the volume is in the use by another process

If you receive this error message when running the tool:

Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in the use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts.

You need to type Y to make sure the utility runs at the next boot. If so, type Y, restart the computer and let the tool to perform the scan.

Cannot lock current drive

If the check disk utility shows the “Cannot lock current drive.” error message, make sure the command you’re performing has the /r option:

chkdsk /r

If this doesn’t work, try disabling System Restore for the entire session you’re trying to run a scan and other protection software, such as: antivirus, firewall, spyware etc.

Another alternative command is:

chkdsk C: /f /r /x

stop chkdsk on every boot

If the utility runs a scan at every boot without stopping, you can try a few solutions.

Before you follow the instructions below, make sure you let the scan to be 100% completed and then restart your computer.

If the check disk runs again, even if the previous scan was 100% complete, continue with the steps below.

Fix #1: Check if there is a scheduled scan. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type chkntfs c:, where c: is the letter of the drive you ran a check
  3. Press Enter
  4. If the message is the following, then a check scan is scheduled on the c: drive:
    The type of file system is NTFS.
    Chkdsk has been scheduled manually to run on next reboot on volume C:.
  5. If there isn’t any scheduled scan, the message will be:
    The type of the file system is NTFS.
    C: is not dirty.
  6. To cancel a scheduled scan, type:
    chkntfs /x c:

Fix #2: Another option to fix this issue is to open the Registry Editor:

  1. Boot into Windows
  2. Open the Registry Editor
  3. Go to this key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager
  4. At the BootExecute key, check the value.If the value is autocheck autochk * /., you need to change it to autocheck autochk *

chkdsk won’t finish

If the utility won’t finish a scan, make sure you run the command with the /r parameter, like this:

chkdsk /r

chkdsk won’t run at startup

If the check disk won’t run a scan at startup after being scheduled to do so, follow any of the following fixes.

Fix #1: Check the BootExecute key in the Registry Editor:

  1. Open Registry Editor
  2. Find this key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager key
  3. Check the value for the BootExecute key.If the value is autocheck autochk * /., you need to change it to autocheck autochk *

Fix #2: Run sfc

You can also run the sfc /scannow command and then run chkdsk /r again:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type the command:
    sfc /scannow
  3. Press Enter
  4. After the sfc process is complete, run the check disk utility.

More Information

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows 10 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2003 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2008 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2012 (all editions)

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