Scandisk Fundamentals

The first installment of computers tips generated a lot of questions, the number one question being about SCANDISK and itís importance. It is true that SCANDISK is probably the most important utility that users can run on their computer to keep it functioning properly. The scandisk utility examines your hard drive for physical errors and for file and folder problems. Hard drive surface errors are a common result of normal wear and tear. File and folder problems are a normal part of computer operation. Using SCANDISK regularly will help eliminate these kinds of errors. Use SCANDISK if your computer has trouble starting or if Windows or an appplication performs erratically.

In Windows 95/98:

To check files and folders for errors

  1. Double click My Computer icon
  2. Right click the drive that contains the files and folders you want to check (normally C:).
  3. Click on Properties
  4. Click on the Tools tab.
  5. Click on Check Now
  6. Under Type of test, click Standard.
  7. Click Start.

In Windows XP (Home and Professional):

To check files and folders for errors

  1. To start Error Checking (Note: in XP they no longer call it SCANDISK).
  2. Click START
  3. Click My Computer
  4. Right click the drive that contains the files and folders you want to check (normally C:).
  5. Click on Properties
  6. Click on the Tools tab.
  7. Click on Check for Errors
  8. A message will come up explaining that error checking will commence when your computer restarts.
  9. Restart your computer and allow Error Checking to occur.


  • You can also start SCANDISK by clicking Start, pointing to Programs or All Programs (XP), pointing to Accessories, pointing to System Tools, and then clicking SCANDISK or Error Checking (XP).
  • To change the settings SCANDISK uses when checking files and folders, after step 6, click Advanced.
  • To specify how SCANDISK repairs the errors it finds, click to clear the Automatically fix errors check box.

One of the biggest questions is "How often should I run SCANDISK?" SCANDISK is much like changing the oil in your car. Your car wonít blow up (this is not a guarantee, only an observation, if your car blows up, donít call me) if you go past the recommended oil change interval by 1000 miles. What happens at 5,000 miles, 10,000 miles or 20,000 miles? Iím not willing to roll the dice to find out. I have had customers that have had their computers for over year and NEVER ran SCANDISK. Tempting fate absolutely.

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