Can you really prevent computer-weirdness with Windows Vista chkdsk?

Well, often times when your pc starts to behave strangely, it can be a very good idea to perform some basic diagnostics by putting this built-in tool to work.

Just recently, I was able to fix a Windows Vista pc that “blue-screened” on a daily basis, just by performing chkdsk. (The term “blue screen” or “blue screen of death – BSD” is computer-geek language to refer to the blue error screen that shows up on your computer monitor when your computer experiences a “crash” and totally gives up normal operation)

So, the computer that I was trying to fix happened to be one that is left running day and night, 24/7. Everything was fine, up until a certain morning when the pc was in a blue screen error state. A hard-reset was the only way to get life back into the pc. From then on though, every morning brought the same scenario: blue screen.

I decided to let Windows Vista chkdsk run on the machine to perform some basic disk diagnostics and repair actions. Sure enough, chkdsk found some disk errors and was even able to automatically repair disk errors it found.

The underlying problem was that “Windows Defender” (a Microsoft security tool to help protect your computer against spyware and other threats) was scheduled to perform a complete system scan at 2am every night. This complete system scan involves a lot of hard disk activity and must have hit the problematic areas on the hard disk night after night.

Getting started with Windows Vista chkdsk

Right-click the Windows start button and select “Explore”

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

In Windows Explorer, navigate to your hard disk, right-click the hard disk and select “Properties”

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

In the hard disk properties dialog, click the “Tools” tab and then click on the button that says “Check Now”

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

Windows Vista can sometimes be a little paranoid about running applications and will most likely issue the following security warning upon running Windows Vista chkdsk:

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

Hit the continue button. The following chkdsk dialog will show up:

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

Check both options and click “Start”. Chkdsk will then complain that it can’t do its job because the disk is in use and chkdsk wants exclusive access to your hard disk.

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

Click the “Schedule disk check” button. This will cause chkdsk to run the next time your start your computer, before Windows is actually loaded.

You now need to shut down your computer. Don’t just reboot, do a complete shut down and then power-up your pc.

The scheduled chkdsk will come up with this screen:

Windows Vista chkdsk Screenshot

This can take quiet some time and some people tend to get impatient and interrupt chkdsk at this stage, but that is definitely not recommended!

Please, feel free to also check out the Windows tips and tricks homepage or this Windows XP chkdsk article.

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