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Encryption: How to Run a CHKDSK and check the results

Before installating the encryption software you must run a CHKDSK to make sure that the hard drive is mechanically healthy.

It is also vital that you run the CHKDSK with the /R command, i.e CHKDSK C: /R because this tells the program to scan the whole disc including free space as opposed to /f which only checks the filesystem.

This scan can take some time, 4 hours for a 120gb drive for example.

After the scan has completed you can check the results:

  • Log into windows
  • Launch the Event Viewer
    • Start > Run
    • type “eventvwr” press ENTER
  • Under the Application Log look for a recent entry calls Winlogon
    • On Windows 7/Vista this entry is called wininit
  • Double click on the entry to see the details
    • This will display a text based output of the scan results
    • Look for the Bad Sectors line
    • Providing there are 0 (as in zero) bad sectors it is safe to install the encrption software
  • If you have bad sectors on the disc it is in an indication that the drive is unhealthy and should be replaced BEFORE the encryption software is installed.

IMPORTANT: If the machine had more than one partition you should carry out a scan for each drive litter, e.g CHKDSK D: /R

Please Note: In the case of CHKDSK finding bad sectors; whilst we recommend hard drive replacement before a drive is encrypted this is only because the encryption process re-writes every sector of the disk.  If you left the laptop un-encrypted it may function perfectly well for some time even throughout the life of the machine.


Reviewed on 16/02/2015

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