Using Chkdsk: How to Fix Hard Drive Errors

The hard drive is by far the slowest part of your computer. That’s because, unlike other components, it has moving parts. On top of that, hard drives are extremely prone to errors in general and bad sectors in particular. This article explains how to fix hard drive and repair bad sectors.

If you notice that your hard drive becomes too loud or if you start getting hard drive errors, you need to check your disk for bad sectors and attempt to repair them. But what exactly are bad sectors?

Your hard drive consists of sectors – little 512-byte clusters of data. As time goes by, some clusters of data become damaged and cannot be read anymore. They are called bad sectors. Bad sectors are caused by a number of things, from wear and tear to shock, physical damage and even unsuccessful defragmentation. The more bad sectors there are, the less reliable your hard drive becomes.

Luckily, there is a way to fix some bad sectors with the help of a Check Disk (Chkdsk) Windows utility. This tool scans your hard drive’s surface for bad sectors and attempts to fix disk errors. As a rule, you should run Chkdsk once in every three months to ensure your hard disk stays healthy for as long as possible. Here is how you can launch the Check Disk tool:

  1. Go to Start and open (My) Computer
  2. Right-click on the drive you want to check and go to Properties
  3. Go to the Tools tab and click on Check Now
  4. In the pop-up window that appears, select both options - Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  5. Click Start to launch Chkdsk

Your computer will attempt to run the tool, but it won’t be able to without a reboot because Check Disk needs exclusive access to the drive. That’s why you will be prompted to reboot your computer. When you reboot, Chkdsk will launch before Windows and start repairing logical errors and marking unrecoverable bad sectors, so that new data won’t be saved to them. This can take a while, usually about an hour. So make sure you don’t need to use your computer when you decide to run Check Disk.

If you start seeing too many bad sectors when Chkdsk attempts to fix hard drive, you should back up all your data and get a new hard disk. A large number of bad sectors indicates that the hard drive will fail in the near future.

Running Chkdsk on a regular basis will help you fix hard disk error messages and prolong the life of your hard drive.