File System Operations on Windows Servers

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File System Operations on Windows Servers

Last updated March 6th, 2014

The chkdsk Utility

The chkdsk utility is a system tool used to verify and repair a file system on a Windows system.

It is important that chkdsk is run fairly frequently (e.g. every three months or so) in order to maintain the integrity of your server's file system.

It is also very important that chkdsk is run before performing any major disk operations such as a disk resize.

Running chkdsk

In order for chkdsk to make any necessary fixes to your file system, it cannot be run while the file system is currently in use by the operating system.

Please note that an account with administrator privileges is required to perform the tasks below and all tasks should be performed via the console in the Control Panel:

Advanced Boot Options

Method 1: Schedule for next boot

The fastest and easiest way to schedule chkdsk to run at the next boot is to mark your file system as 'dirty'. Marking a file system as 'dirty' will force Windows to detect that chkdsk needs to be run on the specified file system during the next boot.

  1. Start a command prompt session.
  2. Run the following command to mark the file system as 'dirty', where C: is the drive letter for the file system in which you want chkdsk to be run on:

    fsutil dirty set C:

    Advanced Boot Options

  3. Shutdown and reboot your server.

  4. Windows will run chkdsk after the Windows boot screen has appeared:

    chkdsk running at boot

Method 2: Advanced Boot Options menu

  1. Shutdown and reboot your server.
  2. Hit the F8 key during the boot process, prior to the Windows boot screen appearing, to open the 'Advanced Boot Options' menu.

    Advanced Boot Options

  3. Select the 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt' option.

  4. After logging in, you should be presented with a command prompt. Enter the following command to run chkdsk on drive C:

    chkdsk /f C:

    Command Prompt

Method 3: Rescue Mode

If for some reason you are unable to boot into your server correctly to use the above methods, it is also possible to run chkdsk via the Recovery Tools that are provided when enabling Rescue Mode:

  1. Shutdown your server.
  2. Select the "Rescue Mode" option from your server's details page in the Control Panel:

    Advanced Boot Options

  3. Boot up your server again and open the console using the "Console" button:

    Advanced Boot Options

  4. If prompted to initialize network or remap drive letters, select 'Yes'.

  5. Select your desired language and keyboard input method.
  6. Select your Windows installation from the list:

    Select Windows installation

  7. Start a command prompt and enter the following command to run chkdsk on drive C:

    chkdsk /f C:

    Command Prompt

  8. Upon completion, close the command prompt and shutdown your server.

  9. Disable "Rescue Mode" from the server details page for your server.
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