drive errors slow the performance of your computer and may render some
data unreadable. Windows 7 includes utilities that can check your hard
drive for errors and fix some of them. Here's the scoop on hard drive
errors and how to repair them using Windows 7.
Repairing Hard Drive Errors with Windows 7
are two kinds of hard drive errors. A logical error is one in which
data is written incorrectly on the hard drive. The Master File Table
keeps track of where files physically reside on a hard drive, the
filename, and the size of the file. In some cases, files are stored in
chunks that may be scattered over the surface of the drive. The Master
File Table keeps track of all those chunks as well.
what can go wrong? A virus, power glitch or faulty software can trample
on the Master File Table, making it think that part of your photo,
document or music file is "over here" when in fact it is "over there."
This can result in programs saying that a file is corrupted when you
try to open it. An error in the Master File Table can also make it
appear that a file is gone, when in fact it's just orphaned on the disk.
physical error is actual damage to a sector of the hard drive's
magnetic media; data written to a physically damaged sector cannot be
read reliably, if at all. Windows 7 has ways of detecting and dealing
with both kinds of hard drive errors.
For Hard Drive Errors
check a hard drive for errors on Windows 7, click Start and open
Computer. Right-click the drive you want to check and click Properties
on the context menu. On the General tab, make note of the type of file
system you have. It should say FAT32 or NTFS.
the Tools tab. Under "Error-checking" click "Check Now." There are two
options you can check or uncheck to modify how the error-checking
process goes. Each involves a trade-off of time for thoroughness.
"Automatically fix file system errors" is checked, Windows 7 will
attempt to correct any logical errors that it finds. Unchecking this
box means Windows will simply report any errors it finds. It's best to
leave this option checked, as it adds only a little time to the
error-checking process and actually fixes things!
"Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" is checked,
error-checking can take a lot longer. Several hours may be required to
thoroughly test every sector of a large hard drive. Windows does not
actually "recover" bad sectors; it marks them as "unusable" so that no
data will be written to them. Unusable sectors are typically a
negligible fraction of a hard drive's total capacity.
"Start" in the error-checking dialogue box to begin the scan you've
specified. You will have to restart your computer before the scan will
run. The scan actually takes place before Windows loads during startup.
A utility called CHKDSK.EXE does the error-checking work.
Power Users: CHKDSK Command Line Options
CHKDSK in command-line mode gives you more
options than the error-checking dialogue described above. Enter cmd.exe
in the Start menu's Find box, but don't press Enter yet. When the
little icon with the C:\ prompt appears,
right-click it and select Run as Administrator.
This will open a command-line window. Now you can enter chkdsk
C: (substitute another drive letter if you want to scan a
different drive) and any of these command-line options:
Fixes errors on the disk
- /V On FAT32: Displays the full path and name of every
file on the disk. On NTFS: Displays cleanup messages if any.
- /R Locates bad sectors and recovers readable
information (implies /F).
- /X Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary.
- /I NTFS only: Performs a less vigorous check of index
entries. (Saves time.)
- /C NTFS only: Skips checking of cycles within the
folder structure. (Saves time.)
- /B NTFS only: Re-evaluates bad clusters on the volume
for example, CHKDSK C: /F /R would perform a full
scan on drive C: (including bad sectors) and attempt to fix them.
are very few alternatives to CHKDSK, but if you have a problem that
CHKDSK can't fix, try one of these:
6 <http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm> is one option, but it was last updated in 2004 to work with
Windows XP and the NTFS file system. Many people swear by the benefits
of SpinRite, but there are two potential downsides. The SpinRite
website has a statement that the software may not work as well with
modern SATA drives, and it costs US$89.
<http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk> is a free program that can help recover lost partitions, restore access
to files, and repair boot records on disk that have become
non-bootable. I have found TESTDISK to be a life saver on several
occasions when I thought a hard drive was completely lost, and other
recovery tools were unable to fix the problem.
Copyright © 2005 - 2011 - Bob Rankin