ScanDisk is your friend. Use it often.
At least once a week.
As you use your computer on a daily basis, things happen that you don't always expect (or want) to happen. See The FishNose Universal Unified Theory of Everything. I'm sure that you do your best not to let this happen, but things go wrong. When things go wrong while you are running in Windows, it can leave fragments of files lying around on your hard drive. These fragments take up space, but you can't access them, use them, or find them yourself. That's what ScanDisk does. At least once a week, run ScanDisk on every hard disk attached to your computer. This will free up those pesky "lost clusters", clean up lots of useable hard disk space, align the Earth's magnetic poles, and disinfect your telephone. (Okay, so I'm pushing it a little.) In various newer versions of Windows, you will not see the term ScanDisk mentioned. It may be called "check disk for errors" , "error checking", or some other cryptic name. It is still the same tool.
As with almost everything in Windows, there is more than one way to accomplish the task at hand. Different people find each way a little more intuitive, easier, or better smelling. One way or the other may not work in your version of Windows. Take your pick, just do it!
However you got there, tell ScanDisk that the "Type of test" you want is "Standard", and un-check the box that says "Automatically fix errors. Then click on the "Start" button and stand at least 3 feet from your monitor.
If ScanDisk detects any errors, it will notify you by bringing up a dialog box. In every case (unless you feel really nervous) tell it to "Discard the offending drivel" and fix the problem. If you make a mistake and tell it to "save the rescued junk" to your disk, you will have a bunch of useless ".CHK" files floating around in your computer. They won't do you any good. Make them go away.
ScanDisk can take from 30 seconds to 2 hours depending on the size of the hard disk, the speed of your computer, and how badly screwed up the file system is. Eventually, when ScanDisk finishes, it should tell you that either it fixed all the problems, or it didn't find any. In any case, you now have a nice shiny almost new hard drive again. Please go about your computing with a smile on your face.
Every precaution has been taken to insure that the procedures presented here will not cause damage to your computer system. However, Mind Over Machines Inc. will not be responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by any advice and/or procedures given anywhere on this web site. Likewise, we cannot be responsible for malfunctions caused by defective hardware, or unforeseen problems which arise from use of the standard Microsoft tools. If problems do arise, we may attempt to assist in the diagnosis and eventual remedy, but cannot be held liable or bound to do so.
Contents Copyright (c) 1999-2004, Mind Over Machines Inc.
Page last updated 08/28/04.