I think it’s pretty safe to say, that at some point during our computing lives, there has been, or will be problems with a Windows installation which are simply not repairable by going into the registry or performing certain file operations. Sometimes the problem is related to an error on the hard disk drive which can easily occur by a sudden loss of power to the machine or is simply caused by a piece of software writing to the drive in an incorrect way. The worst case is a problem with the hard drive itself and it is creating the errors.
Windows has always come equipped with a way to scan the hard disk for errors and quite often an easy way for anybody to do so, is right clicking on the selected drive in explorer, going to the tools tab and clicking ‘Check Now’. Another way of scanning is through using the Check Disk command line utility as it offers a greater array of options and information to look at, but puts a number of people off when they see a command prompt window pop up.
What would be a happy medium then is having the flexibility of Check Disk and a few more options all built into a nice, easy to read interface. Happily, there are a few utilities around to do this. One of the easiest and the one I use most often is CheckDiskGUI.
The program is completely portable and a standalone executable. On first run, an ini file is created in the same folder to save any settings. The list of your current drives is displayed along with usual information like their label, size and file system. The tick box option is very useful if you want to scan more than one drive or partition in one session.
The ‘Dirty Bits’ column is an interesting addition because sometimes a portable hard drive or USB stick will get flagged by Windows as ‘Dirty’ if it’s unplugged while there are still files open or data is still being written. If that is the case, the drive is definitely due for a scan and the ‘Fix’ option.
The options are all pretty easy to understand and are simply an extension to the Chkdsk command line utility. The ‘Read Only’ button is equivalent to a ‘Chkdsk drive:’, the ‘Fix’ command is the same as ‘Chkdsk drive: /f’ and ‘Fix and Recover’ is equal to ‘Chkdsk drive: /f /r’.
The results will then appear in the lower window for all drives you have chosen to scan. For a bit more detail in the results, go to the ‘Options’ menu and select ‘Verbose Logging’.
Do remember that if you have chosen a drive to be fixed that is locked, like the C drive, the system will need to be rebooted before it can be repaired. If you change your mind and don’t want to perform a check on the next boot, click ‘Remove checkdisk at boot’ in the ‘Options’ menu. All the results from the log window can also be printed out or saved to a text file by using the ‘Save’ option in the ‘File’ menu.
Compatible with XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 and Windows 7