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Why am I getting a message at start-up that my computer is checking the file system?


When I open my computer during the last weeks, I find the message saying it
is checking the file system. I do not know why. Please tell me the reason and
how I treat it.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #9
, I explain what “Checking the file system” means and look at
ways to prevent it from happening on your computer.

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Checking file system

What “checking the file system” means is that when Windows was shut down,
something happened to the hard disk that left it in an incompletely finished
state. It’s often referred to as being “dirty.” In other words, it wasn’t
cleaned before Windows was shut down.

After that happens, when Windows boots, it looks at the hard disk and it says,
“Oh, this disk wasn’t closed properly. Let me clean it up before I start
Windows to make sure to avoid any errors that could be cleaned.”

There are certain things that can’t be cleaned up once Windows is running.
So, by running the tool (the tool that runs is ChkDsk), by running ChkDsk
before Windows starts, it’s able to clean up and potentially repair the system
on the hard disk before Windows runs.

Shut down correctly

Now, the single most common cause for this happening, especially if it
happens on a regular basis, is not shutting down the computer properly.

What do I mean by that? I mean that you should always (and only) shut down
your computer by using the Start menu and the Shut Down option.

Sometimes, a Power button on a laptop will initiate that. That’s fine, but if
you’re not sure, use the Start menu and the Shut Down option.

What I often see people doing is holding down the Power button until the
computer shuts off. That is the wrong way to do it and in fact, you are risking
damaging files on your computer’s hard drive.

Improper shutdowns cause problems:

  • You could actually lose data. You won’t damage the hard drive, but you could
    lose data on your hard drive by shutting the system down improperly.

So make sure that you are shutting down properly by using the Start menu and
Shut Down option. Let Windows clean itself up as it shuts down and that should
in most cases, resolve the issue.

Back to – Answercast #9

Do this

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4 comments on “Why am I getting a message at start-up that my computer is checking the file system?”

  1. It might also be that your computer has detected that you have an external USB hard drive or USB flash drive plugged in.

  2. It may also indicate a hard drive that’s failing. It happened to me and I ignored it as the drive always finished the scan with no errors. Then one day it simply could not be accessed. Warranty replacement would have been a good idea while I had the chance.

  3. There have been times when the only way to turn this computer off was to push to the Power Button. I didn’t want to do it, but I also didn’t want to leave it running all night.

  4. Recently I downloaded a program called Belvedere. It’s an automated file management system. I haven’t set any requisite ‘rules’ for it’s operation. Now, occasionally when I restart my computer it will initiate a file check, but only the first three categories. This check completes way faster so I haven’t tried, or felt compelled to address it. I even thought this might be useful. Still it could be an ‘unfriendly’ pulling digital strings, and disrupting certain functions, without wanting or needing to do so. I run at least one or more ‘respected’ maleware programs daily, others periodically. If it happen again, or not, I’ll uninstall Belvedere and see if I can note any changes. Thank you.


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