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Windows 8 : Managing disks and storage (part 4) - Using Microsoft Drive Optimizer to organize data - Check Disk (chkdsk)

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10/10/2014 9:11:43 PM

Check Disk (chkdsk)

The disk optimizer and Disk Cleanup utilities provide methods to handle poorly performing disks within a computer; chkdsk (pronounced “check disk”) performs disk repair to help correct problems with the drives themselves.

Chkdsk is a command-line utility designed to correct errors found in hard disks; Windows IT professionals have used it since MS-DOS. The utility previously required many of the operations it performed to be executed when the computer started. This ensured that the files chkdsk scanned would not be in use by other programs and that they could be modified or acted on by the utility.

This made a very lengthy startup process because chkdsk would run and work to repair the disk, depending on the selected options, and then Windows would start. In many cases, running chkdsk was helpful, but when weighed against the cost of startup time, it became a last resort.

Windows 8 has improved the performance of the chkdsk utility greatly. It can now perform most of its repair actions while the computer is online, avoiding the additional startup time. Table 1 outlines the optional command-line switches used with chkdsk.

Table 1. Chkdsk optional command-line switches

Command Line Switch

Description

Volume

Type the drive letter and a colon, mount point, or volume name to check.

Filename

Specify the files that should be checked for fragmentation (FAT or FAT32 file systems only).

/F

This switch fixes errors found on the disk.

/V

This switch displays the full path name of every file found (FAT or FAT32 only).

/R

This switch displays cleanup messages; if necessary, locates bad sectors; and recovers readable information. /F is implied when /scan is not specified on NTFS drives.

/L:size

This switch modifies the size of the log file for the operation to the specified number of kilobytes. If no size is specified, the current size is displayed (NTFS only).

/X

This switch forces a volume being scanned to dismount before being scanned if necessary. This closes all open handles to the volume.

/I

This switch checks index entries for a volume less intensely (NTFS only).

/C

This switch skips checking cycles within the folder structure (NTFS only).

/B

This switch re-evaluates clusters on the specified volume; it implies /R (NTFS only).

/scan

This switch scans the volume online (NTFS only).

/forceofflinefix

This switch disables online repair. Any items found will wait until the computer is restarted to be repaired. This requires /scan (NTFS only).

/perf

This switch uses more resources to complete a scan as quickly as possible. It requires /scan (NTFS only).

/spotfix

This switch runs spot fixes on the specified volume (NTFS only).

/sdcleanup

This switch performs garbage collection for unneeded security descriptor data; /F is implied (NTFS only).

/offlinescanandfix

This switch runs both the scan and fix operations offline.

Open a command prompt as an administrator. Run the command with no options by typing chkdsk on the command line; it will scan the drives in your computer and display the results. Using the utility without the /F switch executes it in read-only mode so no changes will be made to your system.

Note

BENEFITS OF THE SPOTFIX FEATURE

Using the Spotfix feature can help correct issues on nonsystem volumes without the need to restart. This is monitored by the Action Center in Windows 8 to help ensure less downtime for a computer for maintenance.

Chkdsk runs in several phases when it executes a scan. The phases happen in the following order:

  1. File system structure

  2. File system indexes

  3. Security descriptor

  4. USN journals

First, the general file system is checked to ensure the absence of critical issues there. When that completes, the indexes for the files are checked and corrected (depending on the options). Last, the chkdsk utility examines security descriptors, to ensure that permissions and access objects for files are not out of order, and USN journals, where any changes to the volume are stored.

The scan findings are displayed in the command prompt window and provide a lot of information about what chkdsk found when it ran. Figure 7 shows results from a chkdsk scan.

Chkdsk scan data

Figure 7. Chkdsk scan data

When all the checks have been completed, the results of the process are displayed for review. Information reported includes:

  • Verification of files on the disk

  • Verification of file indexes

  • Verification of security descriptors

  • Information about total disk space available

  • Total space used by files, indexes, logs, and bad sectors

Windows 8 automates many of the chkdsk operations to provide a proactive maintenance environment for your computer. The utility can be used from the command line to ensure optimal file performance, but in many cases Windows alerts you if a problem needs your attention.

 
Others
 
- Windows 8 : Managing disks and storage (part 3) - Using Microsoft Drive Optimizer to organize data
- Windows 8 : Managing disks and storage (part 2) - Disk Defragmenter and Disk Cleanup
- Windows 8 : Managing disks and storage (part 1) - Using disk management
- Windows 8 : Sharing printers - Configuring shared printers, Configuring printing permissions
- Windows 8 : Sharing files and folders (part 6) - Understanding NTFS permissions - Identifying permissions, Taking ownership of a resource
- Windows 8 : Sharing files and folders (part 5) - Understanding NTFS permissions - Creating advanced security settings
- Windows 8 : Sharing files and folders (part 4) - Understanding NTFS permissions - Modifying file or folder permissions
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