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How to Check a Hard Drive for Errors?

How to Check a Hard Drive for Errors?

So, you are facing a problem with your hard disk or drive. There is a wide range of problems that may occur. Read on to understand how to check it for errors.
Shah Newaz Alam
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Checking hard drive for errors is not a major issue. There are some features, which are provided by the operating system itself to do so. But then, what could be the reasons that compel you to make such a check? Let us first delve into these reasons to know when is the right time to go for it.
When to Check for Errors?
Data is the most important resource in any organization, or for that matter, for any individual. When a hard drive fails, it takes a lot of your important data along with it. Try to understand the initial signs that may point the chances of a disk failure. Once you recognize them, you will find out that it's not that difficult to maintain its health.
However, it is not necessary that it will show you some problems before it fails. One day your hard disk is performing well and the very next day, your processor is not even able to read it. However, normally, the hard drive starts with a handful of bad sectors, which keeps on multiplying over a period of time.
If you are astute in marking these problems and going for the troubleshooting part, then you can just get a hand on it and save the important data in your drive. Let us take a look at some of the important points, which straight away indicate that a check for the same is required.
  • If your hard disk makes strange noises;
  • If your disk defragmentation program indicates that you should check it for bad sectors;
  • If you are not able to access a particular portion of your hard drive (a particular file), or if one of your drives takes time in opening.
Anyone who has ever used DOS (Disk Operating System) of course must be acquainted with the chkdsk command. This command is still useful for most of the Windows operating systems. However, there are a lot more utilities that can be tried out.
Using Chkdsk
This command can be used for sorting out a lot of hard drive problems. Some of them include lost cluster problems, cross linked files, directory errors, and bad sectors. So, how can you use this command? You need to login into your computer as an administrator.
Keep in mind that this method is primarily useful for those who use the Windows operating system. Go to the DOS prompt, i.e., the command line. To do so, simply type chkdsk on the command line. The amount of time chkdsk takes to run will depend on the size of the drive and the number of files and folders in it.
So, what results does it show? If it displays a 0, then it means that no errors were found. A 1 indicates that they were found and resolved at the same time. 2 indicates that the disk cleanup was performed. If /f was not specified, then the disk cleanup may not have been performed. If 3 is displayed, then it means that they could not be checked or fixed.
Using Windows Explorer
In this method, you will just be using graphical user interface, but the process is still the same. The steps are as under:

★ Double click on My Computer, and right click on the drive you want to check for errors.

★ On the menu that is displayed on right clicking it, click on Properties.

★ Go to Tools, and under Error Checking, click Check Now.
★ Now, you have three options to advance:
  1. Run chkdsk in read only mode. This can be done by clicking on Start
  2. Check the Automatically fix file system errors check box, and click start to start with fixing the bad sector problems.
  3. Check Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box to locate bad sectors, repair them, and recover readable information.
There are many free utilities to check your drives. Some of these provide features like running on their own disk and not interfering with the working of your operating system. Error checking or scan disk is a free software that comes along with Microsoft Windows. There are even some specific error checking utilities that come for a particular hard disk.