My computer has three non-removable volumes: a solid-state drive I use for booting and storing applications (C:), a much larger hard drive I use for storing the majority of my files (D:), and a two-HDD RAID array I took out of my previous PC that I use as a backup drive (E:). Recently I booted up my computer and it said it had to scan drive E: for errors. I noticed a prompt to skip it, but I didn't press a key in time, so it started anyway.

I let it get to 7% or so until I realized it was taking too long and decided to skip it, so I rebooted and waited for it to prompt me to skip it again. I pressed a key (several times) when it asked, but it didn't skip the check. Not wanting to wait, I decided to just open up my PC and disconnect the E: drive so it couldn't scan it for errors.

I had to reboot again soon after, so I decided to reconnect the drive in case it would "forget" a scan was scheduled after booting up without the drive present. No luck; I disconnected it again.

Now obviously I'm not going to keep this drive disconnected forever. Worse case scenario I'll just have to wait for it to finish, but what I was wondering is whether there was some way to tell Windows to boot without that drive mounted, and then later scan the drive in the background while Windows is running like I would with a removable drive.

I'm assuming I can't just plug in an internal SATA drive while the PC is running. From what I've seen, the rule of thumb tends to be that if it's inside the tower, you shouldn't connect or disconnect it without shutting down the PC first. If SATA drives are an exception and that would work, let me know, but I don't think this is the case.

Does anyone know a way to start Windows without a certain drive mounted, while keeping the drive connected so it can be mounted later? Alternatively, is there a way to cancel a disk check, resetting whatever bit is set that indicates the disk needs to be checked, from the Windows 8.1 recovery command prompt?


Your drives dirty bit is set, a hexadecimal setting universal to all operating systems but not a perfect indicator of damaged files since it can be set ON arbitrarily and indiscriminately turned off with myriad of tools.

Based on the Catch22 you're experiencing, I'd power down your system, safely disconnect the afflicted drives. Reboot just your Windows drive and kneecap Autochk/NTFSchk using Microsoft's guidelines:


Like alot of their community forum posts, the MSEmployees instructions aren't exactly authoritative and the effective instructions aren't revealed until the bottom half of the discussion, but it will assist you in kneecapping the boot time time chkdsk enabling execution of real time Windows chkdsk you can glean useful info from instead of a progress only readout behind the spinner curtain.

Shutdown and safely reconnect the afflicted drives. If you successfully disabled AutoChk, Windows should restart w/o stressing about the dirty bit.

After restart, assuming you know how to navigate UAC, I'd execute a basic 3 step chkdsk to determine if errors exist before plunging into the laborious five step version that depending on the size of your data and if your drive filesystem was terribly damaged by intruders in the night.... I've witnessed took days to complete on a large TB drive replete with "car" pictures.

Personally, the laborious five stage chkdsk on vanilla 5,400 RPM Toshi spinners wraps up in less than an hour even one the logic board died and turned distinctly bronze at the couplings as it polluted a lawyers case files in his boutique collection of single points of failure.

3 stage: chkdsk e: /i /x

5 stage, nap time, got newly discovered spare time to build a dog house from unmilled tree trunks before Chkdsk finishes:

chdkdsk e: /x /e /f /r /b

I'm an old DOS dork and unaccustomed to the newer /sptofix and /sdcleanup options or offlinefix switches that someone could indulge the thread with knowledge more useful than the wikipedia and less legally defensive as another MS article that seem written more frequently by their liablity lawyers than engineers.

  • That worked perfectly! Thanks a lot for solving my problem! – flarn2006 Apr 12 '15 at 20:54

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