What to Know
- Right-click Start, and select File Explorer in Windows 11/10/8.
- Select This PC. Right-click or tap and hold the drive. Select Properties > Tools > Check > Scan drive.
- Wait for the scan to complete. Follow any instructions given. You may be instructed to restart.
This article describes how to scan a hard drive using Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 8’s Error Checking utility. Included are variations for Windows 7, Vista, and XP.
How to Scan a Hard Drive With the Error Checking Tool
Error Checking is available in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, with the following distinctions.
1. Right-click the Start button and select File Explorer (Windows 11/10/8), Open Windows Explorer (Windows 7), or Explore (Vista/XP).
File Explorer is also accessible through a fast search. In earlier versions of Windows, Windows Explorer was also accessible via Computer or My Computer in the Start menu.
2. Select This PC (Windows 11/10/8), Computer (Windows 7/Vista), or My Computer (XP) in the left margin.
3. Right-click or tap, hold the drive you want to check for errors on (usually C) and select Properties.
4. Select the Tools tab at the top of the window.
5. What you do now depends on which version of Windows you’re using:
- Windows 11, 10 & 8: Choose Check, followed by Scan Drive, and then skip down to Step 8.
- Windows 7, Vista, & XP: Choose Check Now and continue with Step 6.
6. Two options are available before starting an Error Checking scan in Windows 7, Vista, and XP:
- Automatically rectifying file system errors will, if possible, automatically correct any detected file system errors. We strongly recommend always selecting this option.
- Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors will search damaged or unusable portions of the hard drive. This tool will mark these areas as “bad” and prevent your computer from accessing them in the future if they are discovered. This is very beneficial but could add several hours to the scan time.
7. Press Start.
8. Wait while Error Checking scans the selected hard drive for errors and, depending on the options you selected and/or what errors are found, fix any errors
9. Follow any recommendations made following the scan. You may be prompted to reset your computer if errors have been detected. If no errors are detected, you may close all open windows and continue using the laptop ordinarily.
What Does ‘Error Checking’ Do?
Scanning your hard drive with the Error Checking tool can detect and potentially fix various errors. The Windows Error Checking tool is the graphical variant of the chkdsk command, which is still available and provides more advanced options than Error Checking.