How to Stop Automatic Disk Scan on XP Startup

By Jeff Grundy

Anything that slows down productivity in the office can reduce your bottom line. Consequently, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to shut down your computer using the power button when you’re in a hurry. With Windows XP, shutting down the computer by pressing and holding the power button causes a check disk (Chkdsk) scan to occur automatically upon restart. While you can skip the scan with a keystroke, Chkdsk startup warnings persist until you either complete the time-consuming scan or disable them in Windows.

Click “Start” and then “Run” on the Start menu.

Type “cmd” in the “Open” box and press the “Enter” key.

Type “chkdsk /x c:” (without quotes here and throughout) at the command prompt and press “Enter.” Windows disables the Chkdsk scan at startup.

Close the command prompt window.


If you have multiple hard drives, Windows XP may prompt you to scan one or all of the drives when you boot your computer after shutting it down improperly. If you do have multiple drives, enter the “chkdsk /x” for each drive letter. For instance, if your second drive uses “d:” as the drive letter, enter “chkdsk /x d:” and then press “Enter.” Enter the command for subsequent drive letters for all hard drives installed in the computer.


While Chkdsk can be time consuming, you should consider allowing the scan to run to completion at least once. A Chkdsk scan can find many errors that are hard to diagnose or even notice inside Windows. If the hard drive does in fact have a problem, using the Chkdsk scan can help you find errors before the drive crashes and you lose access to important data. If the boot up Chkdsk scan attempts to run -- and you are relatively sure it’s not because you shut down the PC incorrectly -- allow the utility to run immediately. If the Chkdsk scan attempts to run for any other reason than using the power button to shut down the PC, it could be a sign of physical drive inconsistencies or pending mechanical failure.