Prevent CHKDSK From Running at Boot


Sometimes you need to check the health of your hard drives by running a diagnostic on them, but you cannot fix any problems because “the system cannot get exclusive access to the drive”. This problem occurs more frequently on the drive in which Windows is installed.  Here’s how to prevent CHKDSK from running at boot.

So, you schedule CHKDSK to run before boot (or sometimes Windows will schedule it), and it either takes friggin’ forever, or tries to run a CHKDSK every time you boot! The problem is that a flag has been set on your drive and isn’t being cleared after a successful run. There is a simple procedure to correct this problem, but you have to go through a few screens to do it.

  1. Click the Start Button. From the Start menu click Run
  2. In the Run dialogue box type: cmd. The command prompt window will now open
  3. In the command prompt window type: fsutil dirty query c: (If you have a dual boot system then replace the C: drive letter with the relevant drive letter you have been having problems with). Press Enter.
  4. The response from the file system utility will probably be that the disk is ‘dirty’
  5. Now type: CHKNTFS /X C: into the command prompt windows and press Enter. (If you have a dual boot system then replace the C: drive letter with the relevant drive letter you have been having problems with). The X parameter, in this case, tells windows not to check the disk in question
  6. Re-boot your PC. You should now find that CHKDSK does not run on the selected drive The different commands to check your drive status and stop CHKDSK
  7. Once you have confirmed that CHKDSK does not run and your PC has fully booted click Start>Run again and type cmd.
  8. In the command window now type: chkdsk /f /r c: and press Enter. Again replace the C: (If you have a dual boot system then replace the C: drive letter with the relevant drive letter you have been having problems with)
  9. After the drive has been scanned type: fsutil dirty query c: and press Enter
  10. Windows should now confirm that the ‘dirty bit’ has been disabled
Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.


  1. ventoz

    August 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Nailed it! Thank you for the guide!

  2. ashraf

    July 17, 2013 at 12:59 am

    in step-8, after running command, it gives error access denied. Please advise.

  3. Jem

    April 10, 2013 at 10:39 am

    My machine runs CHKDSK on boot, it comes up clean then reboots and runs it again (and again …!). It never boots into Windows XP unless I manually abort CHKDSK. When I ran "fsutil dirty query c:" it came back "Drive C: is NOT DIRTY". I then ran "CHKNTFS /X C:" and it STILL ran/runs chkdsk. I really don't know what to do next.

  4. John

    July 10, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Thanks! it worked.

  5. Don

    June 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I checked a box that says to run CHKDSK upon startup. Now when it has finished the CHKDSK and ask for my password upon reboot, it goes right back to CHKDSK.

    I can't/don't know how to get to the START->RUN command box from this reboot.


    (Dell Dimension 8300 running XP Professional)

  6. tony

    June 21, 2011 at 12:14 am

    works fine now thank you

  7. Tawn

    June 21, 2011 at 12:14 am

    After I put in the command "fsuftil…" I get an error message saying I don't have administration authority. WTF?

    I'm the only person who uses this computer and it's a home version.

  8. Pakistani Dragon

    June 21, 2011 at 12:13 am


    After I type chkdsk f r c: in step 8, I get the following:

    The type of the file system is NTFS.
    Cannot lock current drive.

    Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by an another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts

    Could you please advise the next course of action.

  9. Alan

    June 21, 2011 at 12:13 am

    You usually get a "drive is locked" message on the drive where Windows is installed (usually C:). You say "yes" to a scheduled disk check and the system will run CHKDSK on the next system boot.

  10. Gerolkae

    June 21, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Run cmd as Administrator

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