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Check for errors by running ScanDisk

Through normal use of your computer, your hard disk can become cluttered and a bit messy. Folders become cross-linked, file names contain invalid or unknown characters or become damaged, and file names become disassociated with their files.

ScanDisk can fix these and other problems for you. When you run ScanDisk, it:

  • Automatically corrects damaged files and helps you regain unused disk space.
  • Checks your hard disk for physical errors. If the error occurs in a data storage area, it will relocate the data and mark off the damaged area so that no further data is stored there.
  • Checks files and folders for invalid file names, dates, or times.
  • Detects "lost file fragments." You may either have them automatically deleted or converted to files for viewing.

When it has checked your disk, ScanDisk can display a summary that indicates whether it found and repaired any errors.

When to run ScanDisk
Windows Me has been enhanced to run ScanDisk automatically in case the operating system is shut down improperly or your hard disk is faulty. You can run ScanDisk at any time, but it's a good idea to include it as part of your regularly scheduled maintenance—once a week for a Standard test, and once a month for Thorough. You can specify a time of day when your computer is not otherwise in use. For more information, read about the Maintenance Wizard.

Here's how to run ScanDisk:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click ScanDisk.
  3. Click the drive you want to scan, and then choose either the Standard or the Thorough test.
  4. Click Start.
  • The Standard test checks the files and folders on the selected drive for errors.
  • The Thorough test will give you further options. It performs the Standard test plus checks your hard disk for physical damage. You can even specify to scan areas of your disk containing only data files, or just the areas with system files, or both.
  • Both Standard and Thorough have a set of Advanced options that help you to deal with lost file fragments, invalid files, and cross-linked files. You can also choose to display a summary and to keep a log file of what ScanDisk finds.

Learn More


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