How to fix hard drive problems on Windows 10

If you're experiencing weird problems using Windows 10, it could be related to hard drive issues — Here's how to check and fix them.

Fix hard drive and SSD problems on Windows 10

On Windows 10, every hard drive will eventually start experiencing errors and other problems, whether it is a traditional mechanical hard drive (HDD) or Solid-State Drive (SSD). And the issues will always vary. For example, Windows 10 may stop recognizing the storage. You may notice strange behaviors like a particular app locking up. You may encounter problems upgrading to a new version of Windows and other issues.

Whatever the problem might be, even if you are not sure it is a drive-related issue, you can use the built-in “Check Disk” tool to resolve many common problems.

Check Disk (chkdsk) is a tool that has been around for years that can scan the integrity of the file system on a partition and repair any logical errors. The utility can also fix bad sectors if data does not write correctly or a physical problem with the drive exists.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to check and repair hard drive errors using the Windows 10 Check Disk (chkdsk) tool.

Fix hard drive errors on Windows 10 with Control Panel

If you’re experiencing hard drive problems, you can use the Check Disk tool on Windows 10 to fix most errors.

To fix drive errors with the Control Panel error checking tool, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 10.

  2. Click on This PC from the left pane.

  3. Under the “Devices and drives” section, right-click the hard drive to repair and select the Properties option.

    File Explorer drive context menu

  4. Click on the Tools tab.

  5. Under the “Error checking” section, click the Check button.

    Check Disk tool on Windows 10

  6. Click the Scan drive option.

    Hard drive error checking tool on Windows 10

  7. If the utility did not find any errors, click the Close button, but if errors cannot be repaired, you will be prompted to schedule another scan during the next restart.

Once you complete the steps, the device’s hard drive should start working normally.

How to repair hard drive errors using Command Prompt

Alternatively, it is also possible to check and fix hard drive errors using the Check Disk (chkdsk) tool using Command Prompt.

To repair hard drive errors with Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to run the chckdsk tool and press Enter:

    chkdsk /f c:

    Windows 10 chkdsk command

  4. (Optional) Type the following command if you want to fix bad sectors on the hard drive and press Enter:

    chkdsk /r c:

You should always start with the /f switch to correct errors, but if you are still having problems, then you should use the check disk tool with the /r option, which also runs the command with the /f option turned on.

After the scan, if errors were found but there are open files, you will be prompted to schedule a scan during the next restart (something recommended).

Once you complete the steps, the hard drive should now be free of errors and bad sectors, and it should start working correctly again. If you want to learn more about the available options using “chkdsk,” then use the chkdsk /? command.

This guide is focused on devices running Windows 10, but Check Disk has been available for a long time, and the steps outlined here should also work on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

If the hard drive has physical problems, it might be time for a replacement. Here are the three best affordable options you should consider:

While the Samsung 970 EVO is the fastest option, you need to ensure that your device includes an M.2 slot in the motherboard. If you are unsure, you should get the Samsung 860 EVO since it will fit most laptops and desktops. The Seagate option offers the most storage, but it’ll only fit on a desktop computer.