CHKDSK performing hundreds of additional checking or recovery operations

Posted on 2009-04-20
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm working on a computer for a client; it's probem is that it won't boot up. It passes POST but aborts when attempting to load Windows, either in Normal Mode or Safe Mode. Checking the condition of the hard drive was the obvious first step.

When I booted into the Recovery Partition and ran CHKDSK with no flags, it completed with no error messages or comments. Just to be sure, I set the /p flag and re-ran it; again, no error or comment. Then, just out of curiosity, I ran it with the /r flag set. This time, the line:

CHKDSK is performing additional checking or recovery ...

appeared dozens or even hundreds of times before it completed it's task (I can't accurately estimate this, since they scroll upward off of the viewable screen).

Naturally, not having seen anything even close to this number of repetitions of this line, I was concerned. I tried the whole sequence over again (1. Run CHKDSK without flags, 2. Run it with '/p' flag set and 3. Run with '/r' flag set). It did the same exact thing again; that is, no errors are reported in runs 1 and 2, but dozens or hundreds of the 'CHKDSK is performing additional checking or recovery ...' messages are generated.

Naturally, I'm worried about the condition of this drive. Is this okay? Does it indicate the need to replace the drive or perform some maintenance or repair of this drive that is more serious than CHKDSK can provide? Or should I replace the drive? The drive repair (which I have performed 3 times, now) has failed to correct the original problem.

Also, it looks to me like a BSOD is displayed for a split-second before reboot (at least there is a flash of blue). I entered the BIOS and turned off 'Halt on Error' feature, but this has not allowed me to see the screen. Any thoughts?

More generally, can anyone explain why this would happen? It would make me a smarter technician and I (and my clients) would be grateful for that.

Thanks to All for the attention you put into reading and responding to this.
Question by:cscadmin
    LVL 47

    Accepted Solution

    Get the UBCD

    Download links are the icons at the top of the page above Overview.  Browse the page and see what utils are there for you.  Check the memory and hard disk utils especially.

    Make the CD and boot from it.  Run the memory tester first - memtest -  and let it do two to three passes through your memory.  Memory could be the problem so get that test done first.

    Then test the hard disk with the correct manufacturer's util for your hard disk.  Do the long test.  That will most likely tell you if your disk is corrupt.
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    Your problem is that you need to see that disappearing BSOD before the machine reboots.  There is a way to do that, and it's not the one you already tried (turning off halt on error in the BIOS.)

    Rather, you want to press F8 while the machine is booting to go into the Safe Mode selection screen,  From there, one of the options SHOULD be "Disable Automatic restart on System Failure".

    If you select that, and then reboot, the system should actually halt next time it comes up with the BSOD during the bootup process, and you can then see which driver (it's nearly always a driver) is causing the problem.  Which won't solve it, but will get us closer to figuring out exactly what's going on.  

    Author Comment

    Thanks for those responses. Strangely, the boot screen does not always show the 'Disable Automatic Restart on Boot Failure' option; I did not see it when I started working on this machine and had to restart several times before I saw it.

    Once I disabled it, I got the following halt message:

    Stop: c0000221 Unknown Hard Error

    A little research seems to indicate the need to either replace 'ntdll.dll' or to perform a repair-install of Windows.

    After posting my original post, I removed the drive from the machine, connected it to my bench PC, updated AVG and scanned this drive. AVG found 26 Vundo virus infections, some of them in the System32 folder. The ntdll.dll file was not infected and the 11 infections in the System32 folder were obviously randomized names; that is none of them had valid system file names.

    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    Sounds like a repair install might do the trick, though I would probably do a SFC /scannow first, as it's less invasive (won't mess with your registry -- will just replace bad system files) and see if that's sufficient.  I would probably run Malwarebytes on the drive (you can do that even if it is attached as a second drive to your bench PC) prior to doing the repair or the SFC; Malwarebytes will likely catch some stuff that AVG typically misses.

    Author Comment

    Thanks. I removed the drive, connected it to the bench PC and am scanning now. Once that's done, I'll run the system file checker. I'll post the results. Thanks again!

    Author Comment

    Sorry I couldn't update this question sooner; yesterday, my ISP had problems and my internet connection was problematic.

    As I noted in my last posting, I connected the drive to a bench PC and ran MalwareBytes. It uncovered and removed 13 problems. I put it back in the client's computer and it still would not boot, giving the same halt message. I decided to backup the client's data and scan the hard drive for damage, so I copied the documents and settings folder to another drive and then performed a scan and repair with SpinRite 6 (level 2), which found two uncorrectable blocks which it saved the data from. I then tried booting, but still got the ntdll.dll halt message.

    I copied the offending file (ntdll.dll) from another PC with the same system and version (XP Pro, SP3) to the System32 folder (over-wrote the old one) on the client's computer and it booted up and has remained bootable and apparently runs normally ever since. But I was still concerned about the drive.

    I ran SFC with the /scannow flag set; once it completed, I ran a registry checker and scanned with AVG, SpyBot and Ad Aware, finding a few minor items in each scan and removing them.

    I then ran the CHKDSK utility with the repair flag set. Again, it generated dozens or hundreds of 'performing additional checking or repair' messages. I ran a RAM test; it found no errors in 5 passes.

    Then I loaded PC Doctor Service Center 7 and ran a disk test which reported Uncorrectable Data Errors during the Linear Verify test of four sectors, as well as a failure of the S.M.A.R.T. self-test.

    So I guess that tells me everything. Apparently, there was more than one problem on this system (or maybe the file problem was related to the disk problem). I doubt that these drive problems can be corrected and even if they were, it would be unwise, I think, to trust this drive any further.

    Any further words of wisdom are welcome, but unless I miss my guess, this calls for  drive replacement ... quickly, while the data appears intact and where a disk copy might still provide the easiest possible recovery for the client.

    Any further thoughts?

    Thanks for all your help; I very much appreciate it.
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment

    >> it would be unwise, I think, to trust this drive any further
    >> this calls for  drive replacement


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