How To Run “chkdsk” In Windows 10 Before Boot

A desktop or a laptop is dependent on many small hardware parts for optimum performance. Just like the RAM, CPU and your display device, your hard disk also has an inevitable role in the complete operation of your system. Failure of even one of these devices will result in the partial or complete operation of the system. You can apply various solutions for such problems such as registry fixes, tweaking the parameters of Windows, group policy editor, etc. But, what if you are unable to boot the Windows operating system at all? When it comes to hard disk (SSD or HDD) problems, your system will not be able to boot. Hence, you cannot resolve problems related to the hard disk from Windows. 

Read: How to Fix No Boot Device Available Error in Windows 10

One of the most common failures of hard disks is the occurrence of “bad sectors”.  These bad sectors are basically a small portion of your storage device getting corrupted due to improper data transfer. If the sector is physically damaged, there is no way to fix that and you have to resort to getting a newer hard disk. But, if this bad sector is based on software corruption, it can be repaired by a simple “chkdsk” command. 

What is “chkdsk”?

“Chkdsk” is a command-line which triggers the “Check Disk” tool available on your motherboard’s firmware. When a user executes this command, the check disk runs and scans the hard drive for potential error which includes the bad sectors. At the end of the scan, the tool will display the results in the command prompt window. If the problem is not the physical damage, this tool will automatically repair the problem without booting up the system. Hence, in this article, we will tell you how to execute “chkdsk” command without booting up your system. 

The complete “chkdsk” command looks like this:

chkdsk {initial of HDD Partition} /f /r /x

chkdsk F: /f /r /x

In this command, you can see three basic parameters. These parameters and their functionality are explained below:

  1. /f: This parameter is used to initialize an automatic repair algorithm of the check disc tool. This will try to fix the problems in the drive automatically after the scan is completed.
  2. /r: This parameter is included to find bad sectors in the hard disk. As mentioned above, the generation of bad sectors can be the culprit behind the failure of your hard drive. So make sure this parameter is present in the check disc command line. 
  3. /x: This parameter unmounts the drive partition before running the scan. If an application is running in the background which is located in the focused partition, it might cause a sudden crash of the application which will result in loss of data. So, this parameter unmounts the drive beforehand to prevent such a problem.

This is a lengthy scan which takes a lot of time to finish. It is mainly dependant on the size of the hard drive and number of files saved on the drive. So, we will recommend you to be patient while the scan is running. This scan can take up to an hour or a couple of hours depending on the size of the storage limit. 

How To Run “chkdsk” Windows 10 Before Boot?

If you are not scanning an external drive (such as an external hard disk), you have to run the “chkdsk” command as the primary drive will be unmounted during the process. There are two scenarios where you might have to run check disc command before booting up the system.

  1. When you want to run the scan on a system partition drive. (C: drive in most cases).
  2. When you cannot boot the system at all due to damaged hard drive. 

Case 1: When you want to run the scan on a system partition drive

In this case, it is assumed that you can boot the system before running the scan. This case is easier as you won’t have to follow a few extra steps which are needed in the second case. Follow the steps given below to run the “chkdsk” scan at boot in the first case:

  1. Click on the Windows logo to open the start menu.
  2. Type “CMD” in the search bar and press “Enter”.
  3. You will see “Command Prompt” in the result section.

    Command Prompt

  4. Right-click on the “Command Prompt” option for elevated options.
  5. Select the “Run as administrator” option from the drop-down menu.
  6. Select “Yes” in the UAC (User Account Control) prompt. 
  7. Now, the command prompt will launch with administrative privileges. 
  8. Now, copy the following command in your clipboard.
    chkdsk {initial of HDD Partition} /f /r /x
    Replace the brackets with the drive letter.
    For example,
    chkdsk C: /f /r /x
  9. Now, head over to the command prompt and right-click to paste the command. Replace the brackets with the drive letter.

    write the command
  10. Once the command is pasted in the command prompt, press “Enter” to execute the command. 
  11. Now, the command prompt will display this message:
    Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in used by another process”
    And ask if you wish to schedule the scan at the time of the next reboot. Type “Y” in the command prompt and press “Enter”.

    Type “Y” in the command prompt and press “Enter”

  12. Check disk tool will now scan the drive partition for error when you reboot your system.

Case 2:  When you cannot boot the system at all due to a damaged hard drive. 

In this case, you will not be able to boot the Windows operating system. Therefore, you have to use the advanced startup window. To do this, follow the steps given below:

  1. Start your PC by pressing the power button on your cabinet.
  2. Now, once you see the motherboard logo, start pressing the “F11” key repeatedly.
  3. This will launch the “Advanced Startup Window”.
  4. Here, select the “Troubleshoot” option. 
  5. Now, select “Advanced Options” from the troubleshooting options.
  6. Finally, select “Command Prompt” from the advanced options window.
  7. This will lead you to the next page where you need to select your administrator account of your system. 
  8. This will launch the command prompt. Here, you can put the “chkdsk” command as mentioned above:
    chkdsk {initial of HDD Partition} /f /r /x
  9. This will execute the chkdsk scan before booting the system. 

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