Windows - Disk Diagnostic Tools
This document explains how to use Check Disk and Disk Defragmenter in Windows.
Frequent system crashes and freezes, or noticeable decreases in system performance can often be
attributed to a poorly maintained hard-disk.
This will be especially relevant to FAT32-formatted drives, though NTFS-formatted drives can also benefit from these procedures. Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter are two hard-drive maintenance tools included on Windows operating systems to help provide optimal disk performance.
- Check Disk is a utility that checks your hard-drive (or floppy drive) for problems. It will
check for directory structure errors, file errors, etc.
- To start the Windows' version of Check Disk, open the disk from an Explorer Window (such as from the"Computer" icon on the desktop, or by typing Computer into your Win8 Metro screen) then right-click the drive and select
- You will now see a pie-chart of the drive's usage. Click on the Tools
tab. In the "Error-checking" section, click the Check Now button.
- There should be two options listed. One to automatically fix file system errors (which
requires a restart if you are scanning your primary operating system drive) and another to scan
for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Select the options you want and hit start to begin the
Additional Check Disk Notes
- If you are attempting to scan the primary operating system drive (the C drive for example) with
the "Automatically fix file system errors" option enabled, Windows will automatically
schedule a disk check on the next reboot before Windows loads.
- If you are experiencing slow system performance this may be due to your hard-drive files
being fragmented. This will occur over time as files are deleted, added, and rearranged. Disk
Defragmenter will rearrange the files and free space so that your computer can access the files
- To run Disk Defragmenter, perform the same steps as shown above and open the disk from an Explorer Window (such as from the My
Computer or "Computer" icon on the desktop) then right-click the drive and select
- Click on the Tools tab. In the "Defragmentation" section, click
the Defragment Now button.
Additional Disk Defragmenter Notes
- Disk Defragmenter does not need to be run that often. Usually, once every 2-3 months should
be enough unless your computer has above-average use. Vista by default schedules automatic
defrags so running manual defrag scans should not be necessary unless the automatic scan was
disabled by the user.