Chkdsk is one of those great little tools built into every version of Windows that helps to fix NTFS file system errors, file system metadata corruption, or hard disk errors. Before Windows Vista and Windows 7, chkdsk hadn’t changed much.
In Windows Vista and 7, some significant speed improvements were made to allow chkdsk to run faster, but chkdsk still depends on how many files are stored in a volume.
Due to that inherent design, it may take several hours for chkdsk to complete scanning a large volume with many files. Fortunately in Windows 8 and Windows 10, chkdsk has been completely revamped.
What’s even better is that there have been some other extra features added to Windows 8/10 to catch and fix file system errors so you never have to run chkdsk again.
In this article, I will tell you about the changes to chkdsk in Windows 8/10 and the additional file system health tools that have been added. With Windows 8/10, a lot of errors that will be fixed automatically while running Windows used to require running chkdsk after reboot.
Windows 10 – Chkdsk and File System Health
First of all, I immediately noticed the number of new options present in chkdsk on Windows 10 as opposed to Windows 7. Here is a screenshot of the list of parameters for chkdsk in Windows 7:
Here is a list of parameters for chkdsk in Windows 10:
As you can see after /B, there are about 8 new parameters added. I’ll go over those in more detail in just a little bit. First, let’s go into the details of how the new health model works in Windows 8/10.
For starters, you can remember how a drive is marked as healthy or not (dirty). That’s not the case anymore. Now there is a set of stages or states for file system health:
Let’s go through these. First is Strong. This means: the system is healthy and there are no problems. Then there’s something called Online self-healingwhich is not displayed as a period, but occurs between Strong and Need on-site verification.
Online self-healing is an NTFS feature introduced in Windows Vista that allows the file system to repair itself while still online (meaning Windows can still run). In Windows 8/10, the number of self-recoverable issues has been increased.
After self-healing, a corruption needs to be verified. This is due to some memory related error and not really disk related. To detect this, Windows 8/10 added a new service called On-site verification service.
This service is only enabled by the file system and it will verify if the corruption is indeed disk corruption. If so, then we move on to the next stage: Need to scan online.
Windows 8/10 has built-in maintenance tasks that run every day. Windows will check these verified errors and log them into the system to fix them later. Again, it’s all done while the system is online. The next stage is Fix points. This is where chkdsk in Windows 8/10 is completely different.
Spot Fix is a new parameter that checks the disk and fixes any problems in seconds. The time to run chkdsk using spotfix is based on the number of errors instead of the number of files as in older versions of Windows. This means everything is fixed in seconds. Here is a chart showing the usage time chkdsk / f compared to the new chkdsk / spotfix.
As you can see, you can wait 6 hours to run chkdsk the old way or 2 seconds to run the new way! Great! Now to be clear, a spotfix means you need to reboot the system to fix the problem.
In Windows 8/10, there are two ways to manually run chkdsk on your system. First you can go to Computer, click on the drive and then click on Nature.
Click Tools and then click Check.
Most errors can be fixed without a reboot, but if a spotfix is needed, you will be prompted to reboot. Again, remember, it will only take a few seconds to fix! Another way is the command prompt you saw earlier. The new options are:
– /to scan – running an online scan means it will fix anything it can fix without rebooting.
– / Forceofflinefix – must be used with /scan and is essentially the same as run /spotfix
– / perfect – You can perform an even faster online scan using this parameter. It will eat more resources and slow down other quests.
– /spot – chkdsk’s new magic point fix fixes errors in seconds instead of hours
– / offlinescanandfix – Will run offline scans and fix errors
– / freeformanedchains – This only applies to FAT/FAT32 and exFAT systems. This will release the orphaned cluster strings instead of recovering them.
– / markclean – Will mark clean volumes without detecting corruption.
When you run /spotfix or /offlinescanandfix on the currently used volume, you will be asked to schedule a scan the next time the system reboots.
You can check if the drive is scheduled for scanning by typing chkntfs c: or whatever volume you want to check.
Overall, the new chkdsk in Windows 8/10 has some major improvements and a new file system health status that makes detecting, verifying, and repairing file corruption quick and easy. Enjoy! Source and Image Credits: Building the Windows 8 Blog.
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