Chkdsk Issue on external harddrive RRS feed

  • Question

  • Problem situation: I am running chkdsk /f /r on a 500GB SimpleTech external harddrive via a slow USB. It appears hung at:  "45% completed   (verify file data Stage 4 of 5)".

    I started chkdsk 2 days ago. It has been running with the same "45% completed" message for approximately TWENTY (20) hours now.

    I researched and know that the /f /r functions take a long time but since it has been at the 45% mark for 20 hours, I am concerned and unsure what to do. I have seen the warnings against stopping chkdsk in progress.

    - IF it is actually still working and will just take more time, then I will wait.

    - IF it is hung/frozen and I am waiting for no reason, then I need to know what do I do (I'm not that savy with these things).

    Why I ran chkdsk: I disconnected the hd one time without first using the "safely remove hardware" option. Since then, an I/O device error message would display and I could not access the drive at all. 

    It was suggested I run chkdsk on the drive from the command line, which I did, using the suggested following parameters:   chkdsk /f /r

    I have travel photos and other items on the drive and really want to recover them. 

    Detailed responses are very appreciated - Thanks!!


    Thursday, January 6, 2011 1:22 PM

All replies

  • The /r parameter forces checking for and repairing bad sectors. This can take really long if the disk indeed has corrupted sectors. It can also make chkdsk stall because of read errors.

    What you should check is whether there is still disk activity. If in windows, you can use the usual monitoring tools, if in the pre-boot environment you will have to rely on the harddisk led flashing. If there still is activity, DO NOT CANCEL chkdsk.

    If disk activity has stopped for a longer period, the process may be hung or stalled. Some more waiting can resolve this (timeouts will expire), however, it is possible you will have to terminate it anyway or wait for ever.

    In any case chances are big the disk in fact has corrupted sectors. Allthough chkdsk /r will possibly recover data from them as wel as markt the sectors bad, bad sectors might indicate a hardwarefailure. Often the amount of bad secors only will increase until the disk is unusable. My recommendation would be to replace any disk with bad sectors asap and only rely on chkdsk /r for recovery of the data.

    In general, the /r paramter would not be required if corruption occured due to disconnection: in that case usually only files and file-indexes (and sometimes partition table) are affected; no physical damage is doen to the disk (ie bad sectors)

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 2:30 PM
  • Thanks so much for your reply!

    Could you tell me exactly how to check if there is still disk activity? I am in windows now but don't know what the 'usual monitoring tools' are, how to bring them up, or how to use them to see if:

    1) the disk is just whirling... stuck on an operation... (what do I do then?)  OR

    2) if it is actually accomplishng something and I should wait. 

    I am not a super techie person... I have programmed in the past, though, so can definitely follow step directions!  

    I can understand it taking a long time but wouldn't the percentage complete change even +1 in 20 hours? Or possibly not and yet still be ok?

    Your help is most appreciated - Thank You!


    Thursday, January 6, 2011 2:57 PM
  • First of all ther is a led on the computercasing (with a cilindric icon) indicating disk activity. If it is flashing, there is disk activity. A correctly functioning chkdsk process will in any case generetae some disk activity.

    What I mean by the usual monitoring tools are tools like "performance logs and alerts" (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/102020), sysinternals diskmon (really good!) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896646 and sysintenals process explorer.
    These tools will enable you to view whether chkdsk is still active reading/writing the disk.

    As far as I know, there is no perfect way to determine whether the process has stalled. In case you are still in doubt maybe patience is the best solution. For your information: I had a disk recovery tool (not chkdksk) once running over 8 days before finishing on a 120 GB harddrive with a lot of corruption.

    If your patience is out, you can kill the processes using task manager or just reboot the pc. As your data is corrupt already, it will not make a big difference. However, any recovery tool will consume a lot of time...

    The progress indicator is not really reliable, especially when bad sectors are found.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 3:12 PM
  • Again, thanks so much for your replies - and so quick, as well...I so appreciate that!

    Your input is very helpful... and knowing you once had something running 8 days helps because it lets me know this is not necessarily out of the norm.

    It's not so much my patience running out... I have the patience to do what is needed to be done... but I don't want to be foolishly waiting on something to complete if it has an error and will never complete!  ;->

    Also, now there is an added situation that my pc may be forced to reboot due to work-related security patches that require a reboot...they only give so long for us to delay the reboot before the reboot happens automatically.

    There is a flashing revolving light on the hd so I assume that means disk activity, and hopefully not just a 'stuck' disk activity, like a CD stuck on a scratch! I will also check out the links you sent - very valuable and welcomed input!

    Thanks again for everything - you are a big help!!!  If you think of anything else helpful, feel free to post additional info. Thanks!!



    Thursday, January 6, 2011 3:25 PM
  • If you really like my replies that much, consider voting them helpfull with the icon on the left. thanks in advance!

    I wish you best luck with this issue and hope your disk recovers well.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011 3:50 PM
  • Thank you SenneVL for the post. I had also wanted to know if chkdsk was still running on a large external drive and your answer helped me.  I was able to download "sysinternals diskmon" and SEE that there was still disk reads/writes occurring on that drive, so I am letting it continue.  For 500 GB, it has been over 2 days and is still at 1%... will wait another few DAYS to see if it goes above 1%.

    Friday, July 26, 2013 3:36 PM