Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

Exactly how long does it take Windows to load up? That question is almost as futile as, “How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” It just seems to take forever. There are several things you can do to make Windows start faster Make Windows Start Faster: 10 Non-Essential Startup Items You Can Safely Remove Make Windows Start Faster: 10 Non-Essential Startup Items You Can Safely Remove So your computer has been booting slowly lately? You probably have too many programs and services trying to start up all at once. Are you wondering how they got there and how to remove them? Read More , but maybe part of the problem is that your Windows computer is performing the CHKDSK function on every startup.

Have you seen that roll up on your screen while you’re waiting? Does it happen to you a lot? Ever wonder what it is, what it does, and if Windows really needs to do that? Read on, my friend, and we’ll answer those questions together.

What is CHKDSK?

CHKDSK is a command in the Windows command line A Beginners Guide To The Windows Command Line A Beginners Guide To The Windows Command Line Read More to run a program, or utility, known as Check Disk. You can see where the command comes from. The Check Disk program is there to make sure that the computer’s files and file system What A File System Is & How You Can Find Out What Runs On Your Drives What A File System Is & How You Can Find Out What Runs On Your Drives Read More are in order. It also checks the physical disk to see if there are any damaged sectors 5 Signs Your Hard Drive Lifetime Is Ending (And What to Do) 5 Signs Your Hard Drive Lifetime Is Ending (And What to Do) Since a majority of people today own laptops and external hard drives, which get dragged around quite a bit, a realistic hard drive lifetime is probably around 3 - 5 years. This is an extremely... Read More and tries to recover the data from them. But what does that really mean?

chkdsk-flags

Try thinking of your drive as being a hall full of filing cabinets. Sometimes files get put in the wrong drawers and sometimes the drawers break. Let’s say the person using the room yesterday took out a bunch of files, put some back in the wrong places, left a bunch of them lying around, and maybe was a bit rough with the drawers. That’s the idea behind what happens when you shut down your computer by the power button, instead of shutting it down through your Start menu. Most people do that because their Windows takes too long to shutdown Is Windows Taking Forever to Shut Down? Try This! Is Windows Taking Forever to Shut Down? Try This! You’re just turning your PC off; how hard can it be? Shutting down is a complex process and much can go wrong. If your Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 gets stuck, check out our troubleshooting... Read More .

hall-of-files

Advertisement

Now you need to go in there and do a bunch of research. You open the door, you stand there mouth agape, and then you think to yourself, “I just can’t do this today.” That’s pretty much what your computer does when its file system is messed up. Imagine now, you have a co-worker whose sole purpose is to go into the hall of cabinets, sort everything out, and fix the drawers. That person’s name would be Check Disk.

Why does CHKDSK Run at Start Up?

Taking the hall of filing cabinets analogy a bit further, would Check Disk be able to do the job if a bunch of people were in there working? Of course not. Check Disk also wouldn’t have time to do the job when the workday ends at 5 o’clock and all the power gets shut off, too. So what Check Disk does is come in first thing in the morning, a bit before everyone else, and checks to see if everything is in order.

chkdsk-in-progress

That’s pretty much why Check Disk runs at start up on your computer. Unfortunately, Check Disk is a bit lazy and won’t actually clean things up or fix them, unless you explicitly tell it to do so. This is done by adding command line flags 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know The command prompt is an antiquated, but powerful Windows tool. We'll show you the most useful commands every Windows user needs to know. Read More such as /f for fix disk errors and /r for recover info from bad sectors.

Why Does CHKDSK Run at Every Start Up for Me?

There’s something wrong with your hard drive Keep an Eye on Your HDD & SSD Health With Hard Disk Sentinel Keep an Eye on Your HDD & SSD Health With Hard Disk Sentinel Have you ever had a drive failure? Sadly, there’s no panacea for preventing hardware damage. But monitoring your HDD or SSD, to act when their death becomes likely, is a first step. Read More . That’s the short answer.

What exactly the issue is, however, is much harder to answer. Perhaps a critical system file has been corrupted How to Fix a Corrupted Windows NTFS Filesystem With Ubuntu How to Fix a Corrupted Windows NTFS Filesystem With Ubuntu Read More or deleted. Perhaps there are a lot of bad sectors that aren’t getting dealt with. Remember, Check Disk won’t fix those, unless you tell it to do so. Until whatever the problem is gets fixed, Windows may try to figure out the problem by running Check Disk every start-up.

CHKDSK Seems to Run Forever. What do I do?

Wait. On Windows 7 and earlier, it can take hours, even days, to fully run. It’s checking every single file on your computer and the larger the drive, the longer it will take. If you interrupt it, you’re just preventing it from doing it’s job. So when you start your computer again, Check Disk will start again because it wants to finish its job.

How Do I Stop CHKDSK From Running Every Start-Up?

The answer is simple, but not necessarily easy – fix whatever is wrong with Windows How To Restore, Refresh, or Reset Your Windows 8 Installation How To Restore, Refresh, or Reset Your Windows 8 Installation In addition to the standard System Restore feature, Windows 8 has features for "refreshing" and "resetting" your PC. Think of these as ways of quickly re-installing Windows -- either keeping your personal files or deleting... Read More . There could be just one thing wrong, or dozens. The number of possible fixes is really unknown, but let’s go through the easiest and most common fixes for you to try.

Make Sure CHKDSK is Not a Scheduled Task

Although unlikely, this is the easiest thing to check for. Open Task Scheduler by opening your Start Menu and then search for task scheduler. It should show at the top of the results. Click on that to open it.

start-menu-task-scheduler

You may have to poke around a bit to see if there is a Check Disk task in here. You can see it easily in the picture below, because I put it there. Right-click on it, and select Delete. That should do it. But if this isn’t the cause, read on.

task-scheduler-delete-task

Make Sure CHKDSK is Not Scheduled to Run

That sounds like the same thing as above, but it isn’t. Check Disk could be scheduled to run just on the next start-up. To see if this is the case, you’ll need to have Administrator permissions and go into the Command Prompt. Click on your Start Menu and search for command prompt. It should be the top result as cmd.exe. Right-click on that and select Run as Administrator.

start-command-prompt-through-start-menu

Before you continue, this article assumes that the volume label for your hard drive is C:. It could be any other letter, so check that out before proceeding.

When the Command Prompt window opens, type in

chkntfs c:

and hit Enter. If you see the following message, then Check Disk is scheduled to run on the next start.

The type of file system is NTFS.
Chkdsk has been scheduled manually to run on next reboot on volume C:

If you get the following message, then it is not scheduled to run, and that’s good. You may want to continue with the other steps below, to ensure your hard drive is good anyway.

The type of the file system is NTFS.
C: is not dirty.

You really should let it run, but if it’s causing you too much grief, you can cancel it. In the Command Prompt window, type

chkntfs /x c:

then hit Enter. That will prevent Check Disk from running on your next start.

Run CHKDSK With The Right Flags

If Check Disk is going to run anyway, you might as well tell it to fix any problems and recover what it can from the bad sectors. To do so, you will need Administrator access on the computer. Following are instructions that will work for Windows 7 and earlier versions, and then instructions for Windows 8 and more recent versions.

A Bit About SSDs

If you’re not sure what kind of hard drive you have, check to see if your computer has a Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of a Hard Disk Drive (HDD).  If your computer has an SSD, you can still use Check Disk, but it isn’t necessary to run it with the /r flag. There are differences between a SSD and a HDD How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few decades, there has been a considerable amount of work in the field of computer hardware. While computer technology is constantly improving and evolving, rarely do we experience moments where we simply... Read More , most importantly that an SSD has no moving parts.

Solid_State_Drive

There is no disk to speak of, so it doesn’t require that the physical drive be checked with chkdsk c: /r. But Windows still uses the same file system whether on an SSD as an HDD, so it can still benefit from the chkdsk c: /f command to repair the file system. Beyond that, Check Disk really just isn’t necessary.

Windows 7 and Earlier

On Windows 7 and earlier versions, this could take a while. Perhaps an hour to maybe a day or more, so make sure you can spare the time. You do not want to interrupt Check Disk once it has started.

To do this, click on your Start button. Type command prompt in the Search programs and files box. The top result should be cmd.exe. Right-click on that and select Run as Administrator.

start-command-prompt-through-start-menu

Once the Command Prompt window is open, type in the command

chkdsk C: /r

then press the Enter button. The /r flag does try to recover information from bad sectors and assumes that you want to fix any disk errors, so you don’t need the /f flag.

You’ll see the command prompt tell you that it, “…cannot run because the volume is in use by another process.” It will then ask you if you, “Would… like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)” Type Y and press Enter to schedule Check Disk with the repair option.

chkdsk-r-schedule-to-run

Restart your computer and leave it to do its thing. Once it’s done, your file system should be repaired and Check Disk shouldn’t run at start-up anymore, unless there’s another issue.

Windows 8 and Newer

Windows 8 takes care of these kind of issues in a much more efficient way. The file system is always checking itself for issues. Issues that don’t require your hard drive to be offline are fixed immediately. Issues that require your hard drive to be offline, like when you restart, will be logged in a sort of To Do list.

Because only items that require the drive to be offline need to be fixed, Check Disk can complete its job in a matter of seconds to maybe a couple minutes. To do this, click on your Start button. Type cmd in the Search programs and files box. The top result should be cmd.exe. Right-click on that and select Run as Administrator.

start-command-prompt-through-start-menu

Just to make sure that all issues are found and dealt with, run a check disk scan first, by typing in the command

chkdsk C: /scan

and pressing the Enter key. As it scans, it will fix anything that it can without being offline. Once that is finished, type in the command

chkdsk C: /spotfix

and press the Enter key. You’ll see the command prompt tell you that it, “…cannot run because the volume is in use by another process.” It will then ask you if you, “Would… like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)” Type Y and press Enter to schedule Check Disk. Now, restart your computer.

This time Check Disk will run and fix any problems that were identified in the scan. Because it’s only fixing those specific problems, the process only takes a few seconds to a few minutes.

windows-8-spotfix

Your file system should now be repaired and Check Disk should not run on start-up anymore, unless there’s another issue.

Check It Out

After letting Check Disk do its job, there’s only one way to really check if it will run again on start-up – restart your computer. Hopefully, it won’t run and you can get on with your day. If it still runs, you might have deeper problems with your file system, the hard drive, registry issues How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother In most cases, fixing our registry will do nothing. Sometimes registry errors cause havoc after all. Here we'll explore how to identify, isolate and fix registry problems – and when to not bother at all. Read More , or the operating system itself. You should look into doing a Windows System Recovery How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk The days of reinstalling Windows when it acts up are long since gone. All you need to fix Windows 8 is a recovery disk, either on CD/DVD, a USB or an external hard disk drive. Read More , or possibly even a clean Windows re-install Wondering How To Reformat Windows 8? Let Me Explain Wondering How To Reformat Windows 8? Let Me Explain You probably want to perform a clean installation. With Windows 8, this typically doesn't involve formatting anymore. Let's find out what you can do instead. Read More . It might also be possible that it’s time to install a new hard drive How To Install A New Hard Drive To Replace An Old One How To Install A New Hard Drive To Replace An Old One Read More . That’s the extreme case, but it is a potential fix.

Did this help you out of your issue? Have you found any other ways to stop Check Disk from running on start up? Got any questions? Share them in the comments, and together we’ll learn and help each other. Nice comments only, please.

Image Credits: robotic figure Via Shutterstock, Hall of Files via Shutterstock, Solid State Drive via WikiMedia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *