While most Windows users are at least somewhat familiar with the included Scandisk utility, often seeing it run automatically after their system crashes or restarts irregularly, few realize the advanced (and necessary) options that are available to them as part of their overall computer maintenance needs.

It's important to understand that the "normal" mode of Scandisk operation simply checks your system for existing problems.

However, there is also a "Thorough" mode available within Scandisk that most users do not execute frequently enough, if at all. This advanced operation combines a standard scan of file and folder allocations, and then performs an actual "surface scan" to verify the integrity of every sector on your hard drive.

Thus, it not only finds and corrects problems with your current files, but also protects against future problems by making sure that every portion of your hard drive is safe to use for future file storage.

Scandisk's "thorough" mode does this by attempting to write, and then read data, to each and every sector of your hard drive. If it finds areas that are unreliable, it simply "marks" them as "bad" which then prevents programs from writing to these sectors in the future.

Unfortunately, this advanced surface scan does take a considerable amount of time, which explains why so many computer owners avoid it, in lieu of the standard scanning option.

However, being able to avoid future problems with your files, and the potential of lost data and/or system crashes (which can occur when your computer tries to access data from a "bad" sector) makes the "thorough" mode a must-use utility, at least occasionally.

As a good rule of thumb for computer maintenance, running scandisk in standard mode on a monthly basis, and in thorough mode quarterly, will provide excellent protection of your data.

While the thorough mode will likely take all night to complete (and I do suggest running it at night) it's a fairly simple way to protect your future.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale