Disk error checking in Windows XP is an important feature where the volumes will be checked for various problems. Some of the issues that a disk error check detects can be fixed by the utility itself. ‘Chkdsk’ the command line tool tries to fix any problem as and when it finds them and the utility is capable of fixing bad sectors, lost clusters, cross linked files, and directory errors.

What is chkdsk or chkdsk.exe?

Chkdsk is a highly important utility that is currently being heavily underused by many Windows XP users because of ignorance or unawareness. Chkdsk is mainly used in relation to maintaining the system volumes in a healthy manner. ‘chkdsk’ is a command used to executing the utility in a command line interface. Its also a tool that can fix many problems it detects while scanning the volumes.

Why use it?

Disk error checking helps safeguard the files within the system by looking into the errors within system volumes and repairing them. Although chkdsk is capable of repairing some of the problems it detects, other volume related problems can at least be detected using the utility. Overall maintenance of the disks and files within are made easy with this tool.

How to use it?

The most popular method is to use the command line interface and enter the command ‘chkdsk’. However the same process can be initiated by right clicking on the volume that needs to be checked in ‘My Computer’ and selecting ‘properties’, ‘tools’, then clicking on ‘check now’ under ‘Error-checking’. Options for checking the disks can be selected in the ‘Check disk options’ dialog box. Checking the disk can also be scheduled to occur next time the computer is restarted. Whatever the method used, it is advisable to run the disk checking utility periodically.

Limitations of the utility

Chkdsk needs exclusive access to the volumes it checks. For example if any file is open from the volume that is about to be scanned by chkdsk, the utility would not start, instead a message would be prompted asking the user to schedule the scan for the next time when the system will be restarted. Chkdsk may also take a considerably long time if the system resources are limited or the number of files and folders within the volume is comparatively high. Disk error check reports, if run on read only mode, might not be accurate and up to the point.

Overall the disk check utility in Windows XP is a valuable tool that is unfortunately used only by a handful of users who are aware of the utility and its advantages. System volumes and files within being vulnerable to many usage problems, utilities like chkdsk are a must to maintain a healthy system.