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CHKDSK

When Windows users (such as myself) see a blue screen, the adrenalin starts pumping and they ask themselves when they last backed up their data. About ten days ago, a blue CHKDSK screen showed up when I started my computer. The utility was scanning drive D: but found no bad sectors. No reason to panic, I thought.

However, at each subsequent system start, cold or warm, the same disk checking process ran on drive D:, always with the same negative result. That really made me worried. What if this wasn’t just a glitch but the first sign of impending desaster? I went through my start-up files but couldn’t find a trigger for the disk check. I tried to defrag the partition, but, ironically, couldn’t without first running CHKDSK – which had me stuck in a loop. Seagate’s disk diagnostics wouldn’t run since my harddrives are attached to a RAID controller.

In the end I was ready to even consider swapping out the harddrives for new ones, but I though I should make one last effort to find out if other people had dealt with this problem before. As it turned out, they had.

Here’s the (quite simple) recipe for a blue CHKDSK screen that pops up at each system start:

  1. Make sure that there are no Virtual Memory settings on the drive you are about to check. If there are, disable them and restart your computer.
  2. Click on the Start menu and open the Run dialog box.
  3. Type cmd and push RETURN.
  4. At the DOS prompt, type fsutil dirty query d: (where d: is the letter of the drive in question) and push RETURN.
  5. If the return message indicates that the tested drive is dirty, go to step 6.
  6. At the DOS prompt, type chkdsk d: /f /x and push RETURN.
  7. After the process is finished, repeat step 4.
  8. If the message indicates that the tested drive is no longer dirty, restart your computer.
  9. If you disabled any Virtual Memory settings in step 1, don’t forget to enable them again now.

If everything went according to plan, the restart should no longer trigger the chkdsk process.

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