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One of our readers asked us to create a tutorial about the Check Disk tool in Windows Vista. Even though nothing has changed about this tool since Windows XP, we decided to create such a tutorial and make sure all our readers understand what this tool does and how to use it.
Basically, Check Disk is a tool that verifies your disks for file system integrity, locates bad sectors and recovers readable information. This can be very helpful when you have some form of hardware failure which affects the integrity of your files. Unless you have some serious hardware problems, Check Disk can help you recover corrupted information from your hard disk, floppy disk or memory stick.
How to find Check Disk
Unfortunately there is no direct shortcut for Check Disk. First, you need to either double click on the Computer shortcut or to start Windows Explorer. Then select the partition you want to check, right click on it and select Properties.
In the Properties menu go to the Tools tab. There you will have access to three sections: error-checking, defragmentation and backup. Go to Error-checking and click on the Check Now button. If UAC (User Account Control) is enabled, you will have to confirm that you want to start the Check Disk tool.
How to use Check Disk
The Check Disk window is very simple. Check both options, click on the Start button and the error-checking process will start.
If the disk you want to check is used by an application or by the operating system, you will receive a warning saying that the disk cannot be checked while it's in use. In this case, click on Schedule disk check.
When you will restart your PC, the selected disk will be checked for errors and repaired, if needed. After the restart you will see a black screen like the one in the screenshot below. Do not press any keys and wait for the Check Disk tool to finish it's job.
Using Check Disk from the Command Prompt
You can also use the Check Disk tool directly from the Command Prompt. Search for the word 'command' in the Start Menu search box, right click on the Command Prompt shortcut and select the option that says Run as administrator.
To find the complete list of command line parameters, type 'chkdsk /?' and then press Enter.
For most cases it is enough to use 'chkdsk C: /F' or 'chkdsk C: /R'.
'C:' is the driver letter of the disk that will be checked for errors. Instead of 'C:', you can type any drive letter. By using '/F' you will make sure that the Check Disk tool will fix the errors found on the disk. When using '/R', Check Disk will locate bad sectors and recover readable information. Using this parameter implies the use of '/F' so there is no need to use them both.
Defragment your hard drive from the Command Prompt