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How to run a "Check Disk" in Windows

Since Microsoft introduced Windows 10, they made doing a proper Check Disk more difficult.  If you do the standard thing that you did in older versions of Windows (see my instructions for that farther below), then Windows 10 will run a Check Disk on files that it can only access while Windows is running.  The problem is, even if you quit every program that is running first, Windows itself is using a lot of files when it is running, so this limited Check Disk that Windows 10 will run is inadequate.

I have in mind a "proper" Check Disk which will require a reboot.

Click on the Cortana search button on your task bar, just right of the Start button (see first screenshot below), type cmd in the search box, but don't press Enter.  Above that, right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator


User Account Control will ask if you are sure you want to run it.  Click Yes.

Then you will see a window similar to my second screenshot below.  In that you type:
     chkdsk c: /f
Then press the Enter key on your keyboard.


It will then ask you the same question as you see in my second screenshot.  Type "y", then press the Enter key.  Just like in my screenshot, it should say, "This volume will be checked the next time the system restarts."

Then close that command prompt window by clicking the "X" in the top right of the window.

Now tell Windows to restart.


It will do the disk check before Windows fully starts.  Let it.

For regular maintenance, I recommend that this type of Check Disk be run once a week.

Thorough "Check Disk"

The above will do only the first part of a Check Disk, which is to check the file system for errors.  Check Disk also has a second part that will check every little part (data cluster), of the hard drive to make sure it is working properly.  This second part can take hours, but is useful to find out if the hard drive is going bad.

I recommend that this type of Check Disk be run once a year, or more often if you know that your hard drive is going bad.

To do this second type of Check Disk, replace the command above that is:
     chkdsk c: /f
     chkdsk c: /r

Last updated: 2017-Feb-15



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