Checking a disk
Files on your hard disk live in folders; folders can live in other folders; the whole mess lives in your disk, which might actually be a partition on a larger hard disk. On top of that, there may be security information about who is allowed to access what and in what ways they’re allowed to access it.
As you can imagine, things get pretty confusing. All that you probably care about is that you get what you expect when you access a file.
The fact is that there’s a lot of information on the hard disk that helps keep track of all of the data that’s being stored there. CHKDSK’s primary job is to make sure that all of that administrative information about the files, folders, and other stuff that’s stored on the disk is correct.
Normally, all of that information is correct. The system is designed to keep it correct from startup to shutdown.
Unfortunately, a variety of errors can cause it to be incorrect; things like not shutting down your computer properly, removing USB devices without using Safely Remove, malware, or just flat out hardware errors can cause errors in the administrative information on the hard disk.
CHKDSK’s job is to try and repair those errors.
Most common usage
The most common ways to use CHKDSK are:
- CHKDSK /F – to check and fix the current drive (a reboot might be required)
- CHKDSK D: /F – to check and fix a specific drive
- CHKDSK D: /R – to check and fix and look for bad sectors on a specific drive
You can also run CHKDSK /? to get a list of additional options.