Computer Diagnosis - Step One

Started by Tom, Jun 03, 2023, 02:58 PM

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One of the first things I do in diagnosing computer issues is to establish that there isn't a critical hardware issue. One of the most critical hardware issues that can happen is a failing hard drive. If you have received a message (either from your mainboard firmware or from Windows itself) indicating that your hard drive is showing signs of failure, then you need to check that out.

When your Windows computer is having "strange problems," your boot drive could simply have suffered issues with the filesystem and its complex file indexing mechanisms. These issues can be ruled out (and sometimes completely fixed) with one of the oldest and most powerful commands offered on Microsoft operating systems: the CHKDSK command.

To run a chkdsk, press the Win key and type cmd in the search field. You will need to run the command prompt as an Administrator.


Type chkdsk at the command prompt and press enter. You will see the progress of chkdsk. Allow it to complete.


Near the end of the chkdsk output, you will see a report. If chkdsk reports that no problems have been found, then your hard drive is in no immediate need of repair. In addition, if there are no bad sectors reported, your hard drive is probably in good shape. You have eliminated the most important possible hardware problem, and can proceed to next steps in diagnosing your PC.




If CHKDSK does find errors, it will generally issue a message telling you what to do. If you know there are problems with the filesystem, then run CMD in Administrator mode again and type:
and press Enter.

Windows will then issue this message:

Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
process.  Would you like to schedule this volume to be
checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

Press Y and press Enter. Then close all programs and choose Restart from the Power menu. The computer should then restart. During bootup, messages will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. Don't press any keys or do anything to prevent the disk repair task from running. After the task is complete, the computer should reboot to normal mode. You can verify exactly what CHKDSK did by checking the Windows Application logs in Event Viewer under the source 'wininit.'

You could also run another online CHKDSK without any flags to verify that there are no further actions needed.