Disk errors plague virtually every Windows user at one time or another. These errors can show up in just about any stage of usage. Sometimes this can be something as simple as a bad connection.
In these cases you can either reseat the hard drive (i.e. disconnect and reconnect the hard drive properly), or simply replace the hard drive entirely. In many cases, however, you may need to go into the disk system and check for specific errors. Odds are, like the majority of Windows users, you’re not an IT wizard, so you can’t just go into your system, look through boot sector files and fix the error manually. No need to panic, though, you can always use an automated error-checking tool.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of them. Let’s take a look at a few of the most commonly used tools.
Types of Disk Errors
Logical Error – This is among the most common type of error, and has to do with the system disk’s file structure. This can be anything from a damaged Master Boot Record to a virus that has corrupted important system files.
Mechanical Error – These types of errors only apply to mechanical hard disks, but they do happen on occasion. These usually occur when the rotating magnetic disk where data is stored malfunctions in some way. Fixing these errors often involves either replacing the hard drive outright, or having a professional hard disk technician recover data and repair the mechanical malfunction.
Tools for Checking Disk Errors in Windows 7
The Built-In Windows 7 Tool – Windows 7 has a built-in tool used for checking disk errors. The system is highly automated, so you don’t have to go in and manually search for files. Accessing the tool is fairly easy. You simply click on the “Start” button, and then click on “Computer.” From there you right-click on the hard drive you want to check for errors then select “Properties.” Select the “Tools” tab, and then under “Error-Checking” click on the “Check Now” button. You may be prompted to enter administrator credentials. Select the appropriate error-checking options. You have the option to automatically fix errors, or scan and recover bad boot sectors.
TestDisk – TestDisk is a powerful, open source data recovery tool that can be used to automatically find and fix errors, as well as manually fix disk problems. It doesn’t look as pretty as the Windows error-checking tool. It doesn’t have a graphic user interface (GUI), so it actually looks a lot like the Windows DOS Prompt command application. The great thing about TestDisk is that it is free, and works on multiple operating system platforms (Windows, OS X & Linux).
Obviously, there are many more error-checking solutions out there, but this provides you with a great launching pad. In addition to an error-checking tool you should have a general data recovery tool in place like PhotoRec, which comes with the TestDisk recovery suite. Additionally, since so many data disasters revolve around email, you may want to invest in an Microsoft Outlook recovery tool. The bottom line is these data recovery tools allow you to fix specific disk errors and recover specific data for you.