Scan disk in Windows NT, 2000 and XP

Welcome back once again to this fun filled and exciting edition of The Weekly Geek. This week we will continue in our efforts to maintain your computer by running Scandisk in Windows NT, 2000 and XP. Previously we covered how to do this in Windows 95, 98 and ME (combined referred to as Windows 9x).

If you have Windows 2000 or NT you cannot set up Scandisk to run automatically without buying separate, non Microsoft software.

To run Scandisk manually, double-click on “My Computer”, then right click on the hard drive you want to scan, choose “Properties” and from the new list select “Tools”.

Finally under “Error Checking” click on the “Check Now” button.

When “Check disk…” appears, put a checkmark in box boxes, select the “Start” button. You will be advised that the scan will only work upon the next boot up.

To run immediately, close all programs and restart your computer (Start | Shutdown | Restart) or wait until you shutdown and later restart the computer as usual.

To automatically have Scandisk run in XP the task is nowhere as simple as in Window 9x. This is because the new version of scandisk checks the hard drive(s) before the system boots completely (just like in NT and 2000). This allows a more thorough check of the drive. Being the adventurous types we shall forge ahead and go bravely into the world of the self absorbed computer geek. Here you will find those impressive moves from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” are just a slight of hand or keyboard in our case.

To begin, open Windows Notepad by clicking on the “Start” button and then on “Run”. Next, type in “notepad” without the quotes. This opens Notepad.

In notepad type in “echo y|chkdsk c: /f /x pause” no, this is not a misspelling. We are having the display show (echo) a check disk of drive C which automatically fixes (/f) any hard drive errors and locks the drive (/x) to keep anything from stopping the check disk, by “pausing” we are allowed to view any errors.

Now on the Notepad menu bar select “File” and then “Save As”. In the “Save In” box navigate to “C:\Windows\System32”.

Under the “File Name” box type in (and this time include the quote marks to prevent the file from being saved as a text file) “scandisk.bat” and then click on the “Save” button.

To schedule this in XP you must have a password that you use when you log on when first turning the computer on.

Now to schedule the file to run in XP go to “Start | Control Panel |Performance and maintenance | Scheduled Tasks

Double-click Add Scheduled Task” then “Next”

Select the “Browse” button and navigate by double-clicking in the large box on “C:” then “Windows” then “System32” and finally click one time on “Scandisk.bat” (remember these are in alphabetical order).

Scandisk should appear in the “File Name:” box. Select “Open”, here you can select how often you want to run the program. Select “Monthly” and then select the “Next” button again.

This screen allows you to choose when you want to run the program, at the top you can enter the time, for our purposes let us enter “9:00 AM” by clicking on the numerals in the box and changing them. Below the time you get to select either the numerical day of the month next to “Day” or the day of the week and week of the month next to the “The” boxes.

We will choose the “The” box by clicking one time in the white circle next to it.

The next two menus have drop down arrows, in the first box we will select “first” and the second box “Monday”.

Below this are the months of the year, make sure there is a checkmark in the box next to every month.

What we have done to this point is schedule the Scan Disk to run on the first Monday of the month, every month.

Select the “Next” button to continue. Here you will need to enter your password that you log on to XP with. The screen should be the last screen and it will let you know that you have “successfully scheduled the following task”. Simply click the “Finish” button and you are complete.

Well that’s it for scheduling a disk scan in XP and running a regular scan in NT or 2000.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week!