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I was recently using a virtual machine from my external drive when VMware stopped, saying a file on the drive had an issue. I may have bumped the USB cord and I think the drive dismounted then remounted while on the VM. I didn't really care so I left the VM off since it forced closed itself.

A little while later I accessed the hard drive to get something and the folder closed. I noticed the drive was no longer mounted. It just auto-dismounted. I unplugged it and let it sit for a few hours just to completely cool off. I'm in the process of getting a new external HDD but I'm wondering if it's ok/a good idea for me to run chkdsk on the external. I plugged it back in and its working fine and I don't hear any odd hardware issues or non-normal spinning. I'm still getting a replacement and going to back up my files but I'd like to know what the best approach for checking the drive is. It's a 320 GB external WD drive w/ 203 GB used. Is it safe for me to run chkdsk f: /f? I looked at the the options for chkdsk and also considered chkdsk f: /r

Any recommendations on options to pass? Should I run chkdsk at all? I'm trying to take the next best approach to making sure the drive can remain usable, at least till I backup all of the files. If there's any possibility that running chkdsk can potentially harm the drive more, then I'd like to hold off. I'm just not fully aware of what the potential outcomes are. Thanks in advance for any pointers (I'm not much of a hardware person).

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Do not do chkdsk before copying all essential data to the new external disk or other backup media, because chkdsk can do harm.

Only after the copy, do "chkdsk /f /r f:". But pay close attention on which files errors are found. These files are suspect, and should be verified.

As long as the disk is suspect, do not use it for any other purpose than recovering the data.

If the copy from the maybe-damaged disk fails on some files, they may be recoverable after the chkdsk, but should still be verified.

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Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to know! Glad I asked. I'll only mount it again when I do my full data backup then after that I'll run chkdsk with your recommended options. – Mark Feb 5 '11 at 19:38

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