“Chkdsk Cannot Run Because the Volume Is in Use by another Process” — What Does It Mean and How Do I Fix It?

I think I’ve got a problem with my hard disk. I tried to run Chkdsk, but I keep getting this “Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process” error. What’s that mean and what do I do to fix it?

Chkdsk is an important and little-understood command-line utility that comes with every version of Microsoft Windows. Its purpose, as its mangled name implies, is to “check” your “disk”.

In order to do its work, Chkdsk needs complete and exclusive access to the disk it’s about to check. If it doesn’t have that, “Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process” is the result.

I’ll look at why, what to do, and what it looks like as it happens.

Read more“Chkdsk Cannot Run Because the Volume Is in Use by another Process” — What Does It Mean and How Do I Fix It?

How do I replace my system hard drive without installation media?

Hi, Leo. My problem is this – my main drive failed today. It doesn’t seem to be spinning. There is power going to it as the light flashes for a few seconds. The error message says to install the boot media and in the BIOS, the hard drive is not even showing. It’s just the C Drive and all of my important stuff is on my external drives, which I do backup regularly. Hence, I’ll be replacing it soon. However, the computer only came with recovery discs. I’ve already tried reformatting the new drive using the recovery disc but it just keeps going back to the “Windows is loading files” screen. I changed a hard drive a few years ago but I had a startup disc to boot from. This machine does not have a boot disc. It’s Windows 7 and if I remember correctly, my other replacement used Windows XP.

You might be in a bit of a pickle.

There a number of things I gleaned from your question. Most of them are bad news. A possible glimmer of hope: you said you have your important stuff on external drives that you back up regularly. If you meant that you’ve been doing full system image backups, you’ll probably be fine.

Read moreHow do I replace my system hard drive without installation media?

How do I protect the files on a portable hard drive?


Leo, I’m running Windows 7 with Microsoft Security Essentials. Five months ago I bought a Samsung portable external hard drive. It’s come to my notice that these removable media drives can become very vulnerable to virus and bugs affecting them. I’m extremely worried about this. My portable drive is about 1/3 full of video movies and flv and mp4 file types. I have hundreds of movies stored. I want to guarantee that they will remain safe and preserved for hopefully many decades to come. If a virus attacks these portable hard drives then they can shut down. I think one starts getting messages like this drive is not formatted. I want to be ahead of such problems and do all that I can to be sure that no harm comes to my files in the long-term. What can be done to insure longevity and safety to the drive and its contents?

I have some very specific ideas for you, but I also want to clear up a couple of very important misconceptions.

Read moreHow do I protect the files on a portable hard drive?

Why does my computer make a grinding noise when starting up?


Recently, my computer has been making a very loud grinding noise when I boot from cold. It seems to take forever to stop and everything goes very slow during this time. What is this and how can I correct whatever is wrong?

There are two possibilities that come to mind. One is something that you should deal with, but it’s nothing to really panic over.

The other is definitely worth panicking about. And in fact, given that your machine is running slowly while this is happening, it might be time to start panicking right now.

Read moreWhy does my computer make a grinding noise when starting up?

My External Drive Is No Longer Visible. How Can I Get Its Contents?

My husband is running Windows 7,64-bit. He has a secondary drive, 1 TB that has been on there for some time. He recently turned his machine on and the drive was no longer showing as being available. We have tried externally plugging the drive into another machine and it’s still not registering. Is it recoverable in any way?

There are several possible problems here. None of them are particularly simple to diagnose or resolve, but I’ll run through some of the ideas that I have.

Read moreMy External Drive Is No Longer Visible. How Can I Get Its Contents?

Will a failing hard drive have warning symptoms?

My last hard drive yesterday gave me a blue screen of death while I was online. After that, my computer wouldn’t even recognize that the hard drive was plugged in. The thing was about 2 ½ years old and it was a replacement for the original drive that was making noises, but still works. This was my first total failure before I could get a complete backup. I have backups, but they were a week or two old. What would cause this if you had to guess? Like a sector zero problem? Shouldn’t I have a gotten a read failure (the drive shows up in the BIOS)? Or a grinding noise? I’m not sure, but I did not hear the thing spin anymore. I don’t know what the symptoms of a sector zero failure are. I’ve never experienced it. Of course, that would leave circuit board failure (with unknown symptoms.) The old drive was a PATA. The replacement is SATA.  I’ve tried several PATA cables and got the same results.

Ultimately, a drive can fail in so many ways that it’s not at all surprising that you didn’t get any warning – other than the failure itself.

It sounds like you’re expecting symptoms associated with a failure. While some do have signs (and I’ll go through a few that indicate that your hard drive is failing), you don’t ever want to rely on these absolutely.

Read moreWill a failing hard drive have warning symptoms?

Will CHKDSK Harm My Files?

I recently did a CHKDSK scan on two hard drives with video files. The first scanned with no options checked. It did not show any details of progress except the progress bar. It got to the end and then froze (although the computer did not freeze) and the only way to exit it was to shut down the computer or reset. Do you think any of my video files got corrupted or changed in any way? With the other hard drive, I scanned four times without errors. On the fifth time, I scanned it on another computer and it said that it had a file system error. Needless to say, I did not fix that. I don’t know if one of the four times before I checked any options, but I’m thinking I had nothing clicked. Is it possible that my video files on the hard drive got corrupted or changed in any way, even if I had clicked one or both of the options?

You may have problems with your video files, but I don’t think it’s because of CHKDSK. Without any options selected, the CHKDSK utility simply reports the current status of your hard drive.

But there are a couple of interesting things about CHKDSK that I think are worth reviewing here.

Read moreWill CHKDSK Harm My Files?

How do I fix errors on my hard disk?


Hi, I have a Computer running Windows XP SP2 that keeps returning a G:|$mft corrupt error. I have looked everywhere to try and find a fix for this, but to no avail. It would appear to not effect anything except for the error message popping up and the system wanting to check disk on boot every time. Any clues?

I don’t have anything specific to that error, but what I’ll do instead is outline the various steps I take when attempting to diagnose and repair a problem of this nature.

Depending on the underlying cause, this could be a simple fix, or a disaster waiting to happen.

Read moreHow do I fix errors on my hard disk?