What is ScanDisk?

ScanDisk is a DOS diagnostic utility program. It is especially used to detect errors in the hard drive and repair them.

Technically, this utility program has a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and is designed to work with FAT file systems.

Understanding ScanDisk

What is ScanDisk

The ScanDisk utility is usually found only in Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME and is similar to the CHKDSK utility.

The ScanDisk Microsoft disk repair utility is replaced in Windows 2000 and Windows XP by CheckDisk.

It can detect and repair hard drive issues by performing a surface scan on the disk and it can even reclaim lost clusters and turn them into .CHK files.

Ideally, the ScanDisk should be run to check the issues in the drive when Windows locks up and the system needs to be restarted. There are several reasons for a hard disk to be erroneous. These are:

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ScanDisk runs automatically when the computer system boots next time after Windows crashes or the system loses power in a few specific operating systems.

Running the Utility

If you want to run the utility on your computer you will need to do so in the Safe Mode, especially if your system runs on an old version of Windows operating system such as:

You must also make sure that all programs, web browsers, and other applications are closed before performing the scan on a disk.

This will ensure that the activity is minimal when the disk is being scanned.

Also, different operating systems may have different processes to run this diagnostic utility program.

If you are on Windows 3.x, you will need to exit from there by clicking on the File and then on Exit to go to the MS-DOS prompt.

At this prompt run – CD \DOS and then on the C:\DOS> prompt, run – SCANDISK.

In some computer systems, the manufacturers may change the installation and location of ScanDisk to C:\WINDOWS. In that case, you may not find the utility program in the DOS directory.

You should then try using the following commands:

If you want to run this Windows and DOS utility on Windows 95 and NT, all you have to do is:

And on Windows Vista and Windows 7, the processes to follow are:

However, in Windows Vista, ScanDisk should be programmed to run at the subsequent start up. This is important because the specific mechanisms in it will not allow it to function when the system is running.

To scan the disk on Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11 operating system for errors, the following steps are recommended:

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You may need to restart the computer system if Windows needs it to perform the scan. However, it will let you know about this requirement.

The steps to follow to run ScanDisk on Windows 2000 and Windows XP are as follows:

Depending on the system configuration and the operating system, the scanning process may take anywhere between 15 minutes and a couple of hours to complete.

When the scanning process is complete, a report of the scan will be displayed. It will show the amount of space on the disk scanned along with the errors found, if any.

What is a ScanDisk Used for?

Scandisk is mainly used to check for issues or errors on the hard drive and resolve them. This Windows 95 and DOS utility is also used for the same purpose for the File Allocation Table or FAT.

It basically is used to keep a track of the size as well as the location of the files on a computer system.

Ideally, this utility is also used for regular and proper maintenance of the computer system as well as to ensure that there is no chance of data corruption or loss.

In addition to the above, a few other significant uses of the ScanDisk utility are as follows:

The ScanDisk utility can also be used to typically check for the following issues and rectify them if found:

Where is ScanDisk?

You will typically find the ScanDisk stored in the System Volume Information in a folder on the C: drive, if it is installed. However, this may be a hidden folder and the File Explorer may not display it if the ‘Hide protected operating system files’ option is selected.

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If you want to view the folder and the logs, you will first have to take ownership of System Volume Information. Then you will have to follow these steps:

ScanDisk Vs CHKDSK


As you can see from this article, the ScanDisk software utility program is a very important system diagnostic tool.

It will help you a great deal in maintaining the health of the hard drive as well as the Windows file systems.

It will detect and repair the issues on the hard drives fast to prevent data corruption and loss.