Yesterday I noticed the delights of this simple tool chkdsk that’s part of Windows XP. As a fanatic Linux user, I’ve done some repartitioning to make some space on my PC. Unfortunately Partition Magic had some troubles with my disk for one reason or another and decided to stop the process somewhere half-way, leaving me with an inaccessible disk. Windows would reboot after having loaded the 3rd or 4th driver, which made booting up virtually impossible. Oh man, I’ve experienced that before and that’s the moment that it doesn’t matter how cold the room is or how still you sit. Sweat start coming from your pores, your butt starts itching and your hands get into a cramp. At that time I knew my brain’s most primitive defense mechanisms were trying to take over and wanted to make me get out of that troublesome situation as soon as possible. And while the most primitive parts of the brains are taking over, the realization sets in that unfortunately this job is not going to be an easy one…
Okay, disk damaged, what’s the partition like, how accessible is it and where are my valuable files… Fdisk showed that the partition hadn’t shrunk in the partition table yet, so that was good news. The disk wasn’t accessible however and even the Windows rescue disks couldn’t find a Windows section that they could attach to. Bad bad bad…. So open go the drawers with my valuable PC tools. The drawer with screwdrivers, hammers and plyers on the left, the drawer with PC utilities on the right. So what’s the strategy, which tool should we try first:
- ERD Commander: There aren’t any Window’s to look through. Sorry buddy, perhaps you can try somewhere else.
- Partition magic: Didn’t really notice that something was wrong with the disk until I asked for a disk check. Answer Immediattely ‘O yeah, something’s wrong. Error xxx, good luck!’
- NTFSDOS: Nah, I’m not going to mount that disk. Forget it, who do you think I am, gimme good food and I’ll consider it
- NTFS driver under Linux: ‘Buddy, I wasn’t made for Windows in the first place and Bill never even considered sharing his NTFS specs with me, and now you want me to eat it raw? Go and find help elsewhere dude’
- Partition resizer: Nah, I don’t know ext3 and also don’t know ntfs. Gimme some FAT food
You can imagine that the I’m doomed thoughts came up… And then something that saved the day: I though by myself, okay let’s boot up with the Windows disk again. Perhaps that rescue mode can give me some insight. Ran in rescue mode and entered ‘DIR’. Answer: Your disk is very bad you see, can’t really help you here. ‘CD Windows’, Answer ‘We don’t have that, no way to go there’. Then eventually, as a last resort before just formatting the entire disk, I decided to give chkdsk a try.
Chkdsk started with just 3 messages that it did some time little repair and then eventually after working through the disk a little, gave control back to the command prompt. I thought that this was another useless effort, the chkdsk just went too fast, but just when I wanted to give up, maybe just out of habit I entered the ‘dir’ command and suddenly saw the usual old directory appear. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that, would this little tool from pre-historic times indeed save my valuable data?
So I gave it a shot, rebooted to Windows and couldn’t believe my eyes. It worked. Did a check: no errors. Checked my files: no inconsistencies. Checked my other partitions: worked as normal.
I hereby would really like to express my wholeharted thanks to the creator of chkdsk! You saved me a big lot of time! And I just can’t believe that even though I pulled my drawer open that contains the most powerful partition and repair tools, that chkdsk eventually defeats them all!