Windows XP - Running CHKDSK

If you cannot boot into Windows (normal or safe mode), it may indicate that the file system on your hard drive, or the hard drive itself, is damaged. Microsoft provides a disk utility, CHKDSK, that can help determine the state of your hard drive.

Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista

NOTE: Windows 95/98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista are no longer supported by the Help Desk. We can only provide best effort support. If we are unable to resolve your Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista issue, you may be able to find help in Microsoft's Knowledge Base.

These products are no longer actively supported by Microsoft. No further development will take place on these products and security updates are no longer issued. It is highly recommended that you upgrade to Windows 10 or 8.

Note: Running scan disk can take several hours. It is recommended you run this scan overnight, or at a time when you won't need to access your computer.

Running CHKDSK from the Windows CD

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD into your computer's CD-ROM drive and restart your computer. If your computer is not booting into Windows, you will still need to have your computer powered on to open the CD-ROM drive and insert the CD before restarting.
  2. Many newer computers are set to boot CDs by default or have an option to temporarily change the boot order. Look for one of these messages as your computer starts:
    • F12 (or another key) = Boot Menu
    • ESC (or another key) to select boot device
    • Press any key to boot from CD
  3. If you needed to press a key for a boot menu or to select a boot device, you should now have a menu of the devices your computer can try to boot from. Choose your CD-Rom drive and press Enter.
  4. When you see the "Press any key" message, your computer is ready to boot from the Windows XP CD. Just press Enter. Your system will load files and bring you to the Windows XP Setup screen.

    windows xp cd boot menu

  5. At the Windows Setup screen, press R to enter the Recovery Console.
    • NOTE: If you are unable to access the recovery console, your CD may be damaged, or the problem could be more severe and require professional system recovery.
  6. You will enter the Recovery Console and be asked to choose which Windows installation you would like to log into. Most users will only have one choice.

    choose a hard drive

  7. You will be prompted to enter the administrator password. This is the password set for the user Administrator. You may have set this password when you first were configuring your computer. If you are uncertain what password to enter here, try leaving the line blank and just pressing ENTER.
  8. You will be presented with a C: prompt. Type the following:

    chkdsk /r

    and press ENTER.

    typing chkdsk /r

  9. CHKDSK will now run. The scan may run for several hours.
  10. When the scan is complete, a report will display.
  11. To leave the Recovery Console and reboot your computer, type exit and press Enter. Remember to eject your Windows XP CD before your system tries to boot off of it.

Running CHKDSK from the Windows Desktop

  1. Click on the Start Menu then Run.
  2. Type in cmd and click OK
  3. You will be presented with a C: prompt. Type the following:

    chkdsk volume:/r

    where volume is the disk you would like to check. Most users will probably need to scan the C: drive, however, the volume you scan depends on your computer's configuration and the problems you are experiencing. Press ENTER to initiate the scan.

    CHKDSK results

  4. CHKDSK will now run. The scan may run for several hours.
  5. When the scan is complete, a report will display.

Keywords:windows xp checkdisk chkdsk boot cd startup setup recovery running scan unmountable damaged volume windows xp won't boot windows xp will not boot check disk hard drive harddrive hd   Doc ID:5097
Owner:Jeff W.Group:DoIT Help Desk
Created:2006-11-07 19:00 CDTUpdated:2016-11-07 12:25 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk
Feedback:  14   9