I started a chkdsk /r /f C: on Windows 10, but now that it's running I want to cancel it. Just powering down the computer risks corruption, so how can I safely abort it?

Ctrl+C isn't an option: I'm running chkdsk /r /f on the drive that has Windows installed. This cannot be done while Windows is running, but only during startup (outside of CMD). This doesn't respond to ctrl+c.

Note: the linked duplicate question is NOT the same. That question is about running chkdsk without parameters, and that is safe because it runs in read-only mode. The /r /f flags causes chkdsk to run in read-write mode, so then it's not generally safe to just kill the process. It needs to be terminated gracefully. Some implementations of fsck (linux equivalent) can be stopped gracefully - even in repair mode - so theoretically it should definitely be possible to safely stop a chkdsk procedure. The main question is: did the Windows devs actually implement a graceful cancellation procedure, and if so how do I trigger it?

  • @Tiddo - Might having something to do with chkdsk has not changed a great deal between the different versions of Windows, so the existing question on how to cancel chkdsk once it has started, still applies to Windows 10. – Ramhound Sep 21 '17 at 13:51
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    Possible duplicate of Is it safe to cancel CHKDSK when it has been started without any parameters?. I selected this duplicate because it explains that, if chkdsk has been started with parameters, then it is (implied) unsafe to cancel it. Stopping CHKDSK explains that being unable to cancel it is actually on purpose. – Ramhound Sep 21 '17 at 13:52
  • I've had disastrous experiences canceling chkdsk, but that was many years ago, and I just continue to live by the rule "never cancel chkdsk". I don't blame the OP for asking one bit. – Frank Thomas Oct 14 '17 at 3:31

You can't stop chkdsk process once it started. The safe way is to wait until it completes. Stopping the computer during the check might lead to filesystem corruption.


Edit: as noted by @Tonny in the comments, there is no safe option (but you could use more or less riskier moments).

If it is running in the pre-startup and you are past Stage 3, meaning it is on 4 of 5 or 5 of 5, then you can just re-start your machine. I have done it on stage 5 of 5, which is the stage of checking the free space, and it started up just fine. If you re-start your machine during stages 1 to 3, you run the risk of loosing data.

Source: Norman Picard

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    I have to downvote this. Even though the risk is very small in stage 4 or 5 it isn't ZERO. It totally depends on the exact moment the shutdown occurs. During stage 4 and 5 CHKDSK is doing a lot or reading and analyzing, gathers data and only writes any needed changes back to the disk occasionally (possibly not at all if there is nothing to fix). But if you shut down at exactly the time of such a write you will corrupting the filesystem even worse than it was. – Tonny Jun 28 '18 at 7:26
  • You're right. Edited to point that out. – Z. Khullah Jun 28 '18 at 13:40
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    Fair enough, I've undone my downvote. – Tonny Jun 28 '18 at 14:02

Don't know if safe, but I successfully stopped CHKDSK with the following line command on an elevated cmd window:
taskkill /F PID nnnn
Where nnnn is the Process ID for the running CHKDSK.
To obtain the PID, open the Task Manager and look at CHKDSK -> right click - Go to details
To run an elevated cmd window, go to taskbar, search -> cmd (or command prompt) - right click - Run as administrator.
I did it in the first stage, when searching for errors, so i hope it was pretty safe.
In a stage where it is writing fixes could be risky i think.
My unit already reported unspecified "errors" before this in a previous read-only run, so I started with /F fix option, but then I decided to stop to try better techniques.

  • There's no desktop at that point in system startup. It's way too early. – dave Oct 28 '18 at 13:04

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