Even in Windows 10, the CHKDSK command is run via the Command Prompt, but we’ll need to use administrative privileges to properly access it. To launch a Command Prompt as an Administrator, press the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X to bring up the power users menu, then let go of those two keys and tap the A key. Alternatively, with the power users menu open you can use your mouse or trackpad to select the Command Prompt (Admin) option.
The “/f” parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds; “/r” tells it to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information; “/x” forces the drive to dismount before the process starts. Additional parameters are available for more specialized tasks, and are detailed at Microsoft’s TechNet site.
To summarize, the full command that should be typed into the Command Prompt is:
chkdsk [Drive:] [parameters]
In our example, it’s:
chkdsk C: /f /r /x
The CHKDSK command is available in all versions of Windows, so those on Windows 7, 8, or XP can also perform the steps above to initiate a scan of their hard drive. In the case of older versions of Windows, users can get to the Command Prompt by going to Start > Run and typing “cmd”. Once the Command Prompt result is displayed, right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator” to grant the program the necessary privileges to execute CHKDSK successfully.
A final note: we’ve covered how to run CHKDSK in previous versions of Windows, and some users who followed the suggested steps were alarmed to find that their hard drive space was significantly reduced after running the command. This result is due to a failing hard drive, as one of the crucial functions that CHKDSK performs is to identify and block bad sectors on the drive. A few bad sectors on an old drive will typically go unnoticed to the user, but if the drive is failing or has serious problems, you could have huge numbers of bad sectors that, when mapped and blocked by CHKDSK, appear to “steal” significant portions of your hard drive’s capacity.