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CHKDSK is sometimes required to run at boot time, and its display messages disappear when complete. I'll show you where to find them again in Windows.
OK, so CHKDSK ran when my machine rebooted, and displayed some stuff. Problem is I have no idea what it displayed, since it then proceeded to reboot the machine when it was done. How do I get it to stop, pause or otherwise let me see what it did?
It's not obvious, I can tell you that.
For a recent article on CHKDSK, I actually carefully timed a few screen shots of CHKDSK running in a virtual machine so as to get the results.
Besides not being useful to the average user, it turns out that's overkill.
As I mention in What does "chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" mean?, CHKDSK needs exclusive access to the disk that it's checking if it's been instructed to attempt fixes or repairs. If that disk is your Windows drive (C:), then CHKDSK can't, because Windows will be using that drive simply to run your system.
The solution is to indicate that CHKDSK should run automatically before Windows runs, the next time you reboot your machine.
CHKDSK runs as it normally does, and when it completes it reboots the system.
Which of course causes any progress or results information that had been displayed on-screen to disappear.
While it's not the absolute best of news, there is good news nonetheless.
CHKDSK on boot up saves its results to the Event Log.
Now, as I've also mentioned before the event log is a mess. It's full of random and exceptionally geeky entries that barely have meaning to the people that put them there. (Yes, it's that obscure at times.)
That's not to say it's a waste, it's not - sometimes that obscure and geeky information can be incredibly valuable, as we're about to see.
It's just that most of the time it's so much noise.
After CHKDSK has run, and your machine has rebooted, run the event viewer: hold down the Windows key and press "R", type eventvwr into the resulting Run dialog, and click on OK.
This will fire up the Event Viewer:
This is the Windows 7 Event Viewer; Windows Vista's is similar, while Windows XP's is actually much simpler. While the screen shots may be different the general idea will apply to all three.
Expand the "Windows Logs" on the left (by clicking on the triangle to its left), and click on "Application" below it:
In the event log list that then appears to the right, click on the first item, and then one at a time down-arrow to see each successive event. You're viewing them in reverse-chronological order, most recent first. There will be many that are basically incomprehensible - don't worry about them.
Eventually you'll come to an event who's "Source" is Wininit (Windows Initialization), and whose information displayed in the window below will look very familiar (there may be many other events from Wininit, we're looking for the one that has CHKDSK information in the event information below the list):
The text box within the "General" tab of that information below the event log listing is scroll-able, and contains the entire text of the CHKDSK run that happened at boot time:
You scan scroll up and down in that to view the entire CHKDSK session. If you like you can also select text using your mouse and then type CTRL+C to copy it to the clipboard. (There's surprisingly no right-click option to Copy.) The formatting can be a little odd, but the results you expect - the text that flew by as CHKDSK did its thing on boot, is all there for you to view at your leisure.
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