Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So I have a situation and I need to figure out what to do about it before Hurricane Irene hits Saturday evening. I mentioned in another question that I'm running (the GUI equivalent of) chkdsk /r on a secondary hard disk drive (that I pulled out of my parents' computer) on my computer (running Windows 7 Pro x64). It's plugged in as drive D:, so it's not being used except for being scanned by chkdsk. I started it on Friday evening last night and it's been running through today. It looks like it's about 90-95% done according to the progress bar, but it's been progressing so slowly that I do not know if it will complete before Hurricane Irene hits this weekend (we expect rain and then wind to pick up Saturday afternoon-evening). It is very likely that we'll have power fluctuations/outages during this storm, and I do not want my computer to simply lose power in the middle of running chkdsk on that drive, and since it's taken so long and it's almost done, I don't want to simply cancel and start over later.

So, my thought is that perhaps I could simply hibernate the computer before the storm hits. If I do that, would it create any problems when resuming the computer, thereby resuming chkdsk? Basically, is there anything about the tool that requires it to be on at all times during the course of its run, or can I allow it to hibernate without any issues?

I have hybrid sleep enabled on my computer, so I likely will simply sleep it and if the power goes out, let it turn off (since I can then unhibernate it later). This should work, right?

share|improve this question
chkdsk is useless on NTFS, which is a journaling filesystem. – digitxp Aug 27 '11 at 1:44
Shouldn't you be more worried about the hurricane? ;) – Mateen Ulhaq Aug 27 '11 at 1:48
@digitxp, then why does chkdsk have a special, three-stage test (and repair) for NTFS volumes? – Synetech Aug 27 '11 at 2:10
@muntoo: priorities! ;p – Journeyman Geek Aug 27 '11 at 3:20
"chkdsk is useless on NTFS, which is a journaling filesystem." maybe to you, but it solves all kinds of problems for me. I wish we could down vote comments like these. – Moab Aug 27 '11 at 13:58
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Is it a removable drive/USB drive? If so, then you may run into problems with it not spinning up/initializing fast enough, and causing a disk-read timeout.

Otherwise, there’s no technical reason for it to have problems. It is quite normal/possible for a system to be accessing a drive when standby or hibernation is initiated. When you resume, it should just pick up where it left off (it assumes that nothing drastic has changed such as a removable drive no longer being present).

However, since you are using the /r switch to effect repairs (if necessary), you may want to wait until a point at which it is clearly only reading and not writing, then manually initiate hibernation at that point. That said, standby and hibernation are supposed to flush the drive cache to the disk, so even if you had a pending write before going into hibernation, it should be fine. (I can’t find the technical doc which says that at the moment, but it was a problem at one time and has long since been fixed.)

You could try changing the profile of the disk (from performance to quick-removal), but that more than likely requires a reboot, which would defeat the point.

Like you said, you’ll need to make sure that you use the mode that XP called hibernation, in that the RAM is flushed to the disk and thus, power can be completely removed, as opposed to what it called standby, in which a loss of power means a loss of state. If I’m not mistaken (I set the option one time, a while back, so I don’t remember it well), but I believe that “hybrid” is indeed the mode that flushes to disk, so you should be fine if the power goes out.

As a side note, you may want to look into why it is taking so long. A disk check should usually be at most a few minutes, and that’s with tens of thousands of files and folders on a FAT32 volume.

share|improve this answer
I figured it's taking so long because it's a large drive (1 TB) and a green one, with a lower RPM. When doing full deep scans with chkdsk, and repairing bad sectors, I've experienced it taking several hours in the past, so a long run doesn't surprise me. I just never had it take this long before. I do wonder now, though, if maybe the drive is really completely gone. And also, it is using the GUI tool, which I'm told might be slower than the console window version of the program. – Ben Richards Aug 27 '11 at 3:02
Oh, also, it's not a removable drive. It's a regular SATA internal HDD, just not the primary OS drive, in my computer, anyway. – Ben Richards Aug 27 '11 at 3:17
Unfortunately being an internal drive has its own problems since removable drives are configured for quick-removal, so they don’t use cache, but internal drives are configured for performance and can lose data if power is removed before the cache is flushed. However, in real-world terms, the cache is usually flushed frequently enough that unless the program is fixing thousands of sector very fast, it is unlikely that a write will slip through the flush window. – Synetech Aug 27 '11 at 3:45
Thanks. I think that since it is Windows 7, and they long since fixed that issue you linked, it likely will flush any remaining writes before hibernating, so I should be fine. – Ben Richards Aug 27 '11 at 3:56

Because it should only scanning the disk, in all likelihood you should be perfectly OK shutting the computer down.

Only if it is in process of actually repairing sectors when it loses power will it cause trouble, and most problems it could cause could easily be resolved by a subsequent scan once the weather blows over.

share|improve this answer
But it only repairs when it reaches a sector that needs repair, and even in that case, my point about problems being able to be repaired in subsequent scans still stands. – music2myear Aug 27 '11 at 1:45
It’s not just scanning; they’re using the /r switch (it really depends on how bad a state the drive is in). And they can’t just scan again after the hurricane because it would eat up another two days. – Synetech Aug 27 '11 at 1:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.