Windows 7 : Troubleshooting Hard Disk Problems with Chkdsk, Troubleshooting Hard Disk Problems with Disk Defragmenter

1. Troubleshooting Hard Disk Problems with Chkdsk

Chkdsk is a tool that automatically finds and repairs disk volume problems related to bad sectors, lost clusters, cross-linked files, and directory errors. You can run Chkdsk either in Windows or offline, but if you want to scan the system volume itself, you must run the tool outside of Windows. In this case, as with Windows Memory Diagnostic, you can schedule the tool to run the next time Windows starts.



Disk errors are a common source of problems that appear in software. Bad sectors on a hard disk, for example, can result in stop errors, system freezes, or other errors. When you are troubleshooting problems that do not appear to be the result of a recent system change, you should always remember to use Chkdsk to scan your disks for errors.

The name Chkdsk refers to the spelling of the command-line version of the tool, but you can also start Chkdsk through the graphical user interface. To do so, open the properties of the volume you want to check and click the Tools tab. Then, click Check Now, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Running Chkdsk from Windows

This step opens the Check Disk dialog box, as shown in Figure 2. In this dialog box, you choose whether to fix both file system errors and bad sectors, or just file system errors. Once you have made the selection, click Start.

Figure 2. Chkdsk options

If you have selected the system volume to check, you see the message shown in Figure 3. This message indicates that the hard disk will be checked for errors the next time you start your computer.

Figure 3. Scheduling Chkdsk to run

2. Troubleshooting Hard Disk Problems with Disk Defragmenter

Disk fragmentation refers to the gradual dispersion of data on a disk over time. Because disk fragmentation slows down your computer, your disks need to be defragmented regularly. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your disks and drives can work more efficiently. Disk Defragmenter runs automatically on a schedule in Windows 7 (every Wednesday at 1 A.M.), but you can also analyze and defragment your disks and drives manually.

To run Disk Defragmenter manually, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start. Type Disk Defragmenter, and then press Enter when Disk Defragmenter appears highlighted in the Programs list.

    The Disk Defragmenter window opens.

  2. Under Current Status, select the disk you want to defragment.
  3. To determine if the disk needs to be defragmented or not, click Analyze Disk.
  4. Once Windows is finished analyzing the disk, you can check the percentage of fragmentation on the disk in the Last Run column. If the number is above 10%, you should defragment the disk.
  5. To defragment the disk, click Defragment Disk.

    Disk Defragmenter might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk. You can still use your computer during the defragmentation process.



Remember that Disk Defragmenter runs automatically by default in Windows 7.

PRACTICE: Troubleshooting in Windows 7

PRACTICE: Troubleshooting in Windows 7

In this practice, you run a troubleshooter in Windows 7 and view the script contents that make up the troubleshooter. Then, you run the Startup Repair tool and observe the results.

EXERCISE 1 Running a Windows 7 Troubleshooter

In this exercise, you run the Playing Audio troubleshooter. You then browse to C:\Windows\Diagnostics\System and view the contents of the Windows PowerShell scripts that make up the troubleshooting pack associated with this troubleshooter.

  1. Log on to a computer running Windows 7 as an administrator.
  2. Open Control Panel, and then click System And Security.
  3. Within the Action Center category, click Troubleshoot Common Computer Problems.
  4. On the Troubleshoot Computer Problems page, click Hardware And Sound.
  5. On the Troubleshoot Problems – Hardware And Sound page, click Playing Audio.

    The first page of the Playing Audio troubleshooter opens.

  6. Click Advanced.

    The Apply Repairs Automatically check box is selected by default.

  7. Click Next.
  8. The Playing Audio wizard scans for problems and attempts to repair any problems that it finds.
  9. When the wizard completes, click View Detailed Information.
  10. Spend a few moments to review the contents of the troubleshooting report.
  11. Click Next, and then click Close.
  12. In Windows Explorer, browse to C:\Windows\Diagnostics\System.

    This folder contains the locally installed troubleshooting packs that support troubleshooters available on the system.

  13. Open the Audio folder.

    This folder contains the Windows PowerShell scripts that run when you run the Playing Audio troubleshooter.

  14. Spend a few minutes viewing the Windows PowerShell scripts in this folder.

    The scripts are used to query the local system for very detailed configuration and status information.

  15. Close all open windows.

EXERCISE 2 Running Startup Repair

In this exercise, you start the computer and open the Advanced Boot Options menu by pressing F8. From this menu, you choose the Repair Your Computer option. In the Windows Recovery Environment that opens, you complete the System Recovery Options wizard and select the Startup Repair tool.

  1. If your computer running Windows 7 is running, restart it. If it is not running, start it now.
  2. As soon as the computer starts, press the F8 key and hold it down.

    The Advanced Boot Options menu appears.

  3. Verify that Repair Your Computer is selected, and then press Enter.

    The first page of the System Recovery Options wizard appears.

  4. In the Select A Keyboard Input Method drop-down list, verify that your desired keyboard input method is selected, and then click Next.
  5. On the second page of the System Recovery Options wizard, enter local administrator credentials, and then click OK.

    The Choose A Recovery Tool page opens.

  6. Click Startup Repair.

    Startup Repair opens and checks for errors.

  7. When Startup Repair has finished the check, click View Diagnostic And Repair Details.
  8. Review the Startup Repair diagnosis and repair log.
  9. Click Close.
  10. Click Finish.
  11. Click Shut Down.