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  1. #1
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    Windows' primary disk-checking tool gets stuck


    By Fred Langa

    Windows' built-in disk-repair tool, chkdsk.exe, has come a long way over the years, but some disk problems are simply beyond its ability to remedy.

    When Windows' disk check is not up to the task, third-party repair tools may be your ticket back to a healthy hard drive.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/07/08/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by andyfboyd; 2011-01-18 at 15:04.

  2. #2
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    Dear Fred,

    On this article "Windows' primary disk-checking tool gets stuck"

    You wrote about an issue with chkdsk.exe that a reader was having:

    Tom Vetterani's PC has a disk error that Windows can't fix.

    * "This is my seemingly impassable issue at Windows start-up. I restart my computer and it notifies me it needs to run a file system check. It says the usual 'checking file system on C:' (file system is NTFS). Then it gives me a 10-second countdown to start the checking.

    "However, the check never starts. The countdown gets stuck on one second, but never begins the check (never being about one to two hours, which is how long I left it for). I forced shutdowns, rebooted, tried everything I can think of.

    "When I try to skip disk-checking by 'pressing any button' during the countdown, nothing happens and the countdown runs to one second and gets stuck again!"
    And you Wrote:

    But despite the improvements, chkdsk is still not the ultimate disk repair tool. If it's your bad luck to encounter one of those more-stubborn errors
    This issue isn't a problem with the disk that windows or chkdsk.exe cant fix, its a bug, and there's a hotfix available, see:

    The Chkdsk.exe program does not start correctly on a Windows 7-based computer

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/975778

    From the Microsoft KB article:

    On a computer that is running Windows 7, you use the Chkdsk.exe program to schedule a disk check during the next system startup. However, the disk check does not start correctly. Specifically, you may experience one of the following issues the next time that you start the computer:

    A countdown timer is displayed and you are prompted to press any key if you want to skip the disk check. However, after you press a key, the countdown timer continues. Eventually, the system may stop responding at the count of 1, or start without performing the disk check.

    Just thought i would pass that on...

  3. #3
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    For expanding the C drive I've always had great success with Dells ExtPart (http://support.dell.com/support/down...2&fileid=83929). It's great because it works while windows is booted, instead of having to use a boot disk, invaluable when you're expanding the drive of a server since it supports Windows Server 2003.

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    Your reference to Gibson's SpinRite (GRC.com) is very good, but as far as I know, it does not work with SATA attached drives. I have successfully used it to repair a SATA attached drive by using an EIDE to SATA adapter, but I don't know that it would always work this way, especially for some of the very large drives.

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    Unfortunately MS has cleaned up some of their pages. ChkDsk does not have all seven switches. It only shows drive and repair. I clicked on one of the items in the sidebar and brought up a headline.

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    Art is correct about SpinRite (grc.com). I don't believe it has been updated since 2006 and it has never recognized my SATA drive.

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    Imagine if you will that the problem that chkdsk is being asked to fix...is on the part of the disk where chkdsk happens to be! It is also possible that the permissions on chkdsk were changed (hosed) to make it unrunnable!

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    Disk management (checking and changing partitions or whole disks) is one area I do not entrust to free products. And I have seen serious disk errors introduced by using the Windows built-in disk management tools. I use Acronis Disk Director (currently in version 11). It can check a disk when Checkdisk cannot, make repairs beyond what Windows can do, recover munged partitions and sectors, and expand or shrink partitions. The interface is simple, clean and easy to use. Just remember to apply each change by clicking on the yellow "commit" button which appears in the interface top taskbar when a change has been selected. And BACK UP YOUR DATA before making any changes in the partition structure of your drive! I like Acronis True Image Home for this task. Again, I do not entrust system backups to free software. When a system backup just HAS to work, I don't mind paying for a product which gets the job done consistently.

    By the way, even if your system lacks an optical drive, an external CD/DVD drive is a cheap and effective add-on. And one which might pay for itself the first time you use it to run a System Rescue Disk. You would have to set your Boot Order in your BIOS to start from the external drive (usually USB) but that's the only tricky part.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    I had the same problem with chkdsk on a laptop. When I moved the hard drive to another identical laptop, the problem disappeared. When I put the hard drive back it re-appeared. I started removing hardware, and when I removed the ethernet adapter chkdsk finished immediately and everything was fine. I re-booted twice and everything was fine. Just for wiggles and grins, I put the ethernet adapter back in. Guess what chkdsk immediately tried to run again. Obviously the ethernet adapter was causing the problem. I replaced the ethernet adapter and the laptop has been working fine for the last two weeks.

  10. #10
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin Witt View Post
    I had the same problem with chkdsk on a laptop. When I moved the hard drive to another identical laptop, the problem disappeared. When I put the hard drive back it re-appeared. I started removing hardware, and when I removed the ethernet adapter chkdsk finished immediately and everything was fine. I re-booted twice and everything was fine. Just for wiggles and grins, I put the ethernet adapter back in. Guess what chkdsk immediately tried to run again. Obviously the ethernet adapter was causing the problem. I replaced the ethernet adapter and the laptop has been working fine for the last two weeks.
    Just another example of how hardware and drivers can conflict with Windows. Tracing such problems can be a lengthy and technical process. Glad your issue was so easy to track down!

    Being a laptop, I assume this was an Ethernet card which plugs into a slot of some sort? Those cards can be real trouble if they are not well matched to your system.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Heimsoth View Post
    Your reference to Gibson's SpinRite (GRC.com) is very good, but as far as I know, it does not work with SATA attached drives. I have successfully used it to repair a SATA attached drive by using an EIDE to SATA adapter, but I don't know that it would always work this way, especially for some of the very large drives.

    That's interesting. I was under the impression (from grc.com) that it did work with SATA drives. I recently upgraded to Spinrite 6.0 for use on my HP d5100t. I didn't get far because the CD-ROM drive is a ATAPI DVD A DH16A6L-C (SCSI). GRC directed me to allbootdisks.com to try a Win98SE CD but it only had IDE CD-ROM code, so no luck. If SpinRite 6 doesn't
    work with SATA drives, I'll stop searching for DOS compatible SCSI drivers that might work with a newer drive.

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