Chkdsk unable to run because disk it locked

raffie613 used Ask the Experts™
I have a 2000 server that crashed with a BSOD. I am trying to run a chkdsk but I keep getting an error saying unable to run bc disk is write protected and another instance of chkdsk has been started. How can I get it unlocked so that I can run the chkdsk /r?
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information Systems

YOu can try putting the drive in another computer and running it there.


But there is no command that can unlock the write protection?
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information Systems

Might be, but without knowing how or why, you risk doing more damage.  Even running chkdsk may cause an issue, but if you've run out of options it may be your last best choice.  

Have you tried booting to safe mode, last known good, etc?  I would go that route first.
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RojoshoRTCC-III Level-2 Support
Hello Raffie613,

There are several reasons that can cause a disk to be 'locked' permanently, all of which are not good and if we are not careful, the MBR could get damaged and make things even worst - In short, we need a plan.

Our colleague paulmacd has made an excellent suggestion to move your HDD to another system, as this will allow you to run your 'Chkdsk /r' AND run NTBackup to get a copy of your System and your Data - Something that I would suggest you do before anything else.

My suggestion is similar to Paulmacd's, but I suggest using a bootable Windows PE (PE = Preinstalled Environment... AKA, A bootable Windows CD).  One that I use is BartPE CD < >.  It is free and is used by a lot of troubleshooters - you can configure it to do a lot of things, but that requires some time and effort... in it's basic form, the BartPE CD will do what you are looking for:
  1. Run Chkdsk /r
  2. Run Xcopy or Copy to store off your data
  3. Run Disk Manager

To load other applications while booted into the BartPE, you can use a USB Memory Stick and install as you would with a normal Windows OS.

It may be a good idea to run a batter of AVs on your HDD as well.  I suggest all of the following at the same time:
  1. Malwarebytes
  2. Spybot
  3. Superantispyware
It is best to download all of these from the CNET website as CNET checks all of it's download files for viruses.

I hope this helps,

Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory Engineer
Top Expert 2012

Did you try with this syntax ?

chkdsk <driveLetter>: /x /r

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server/machine reboot might be required and then check disk will start

Network Administrator
If my guess is correct, you are trying to start the system in save mode or save mode with command prompt.

As part of the system is already loaded you can have access to the hard drive to repair damage areas as in a regular windows installation and you have to schedule a scandisk on next boot.  Also it looks you don't have backups of this HD or the data on it.

I will recommend y to put the disk on another system and try to access your data first (if there any).  If you have access to your data without running the scandisk take it out of that hard disk before you do anything else.  Must likely you can boot but you have access to the HD.  Then try to fix your booting problem with the data save somewhere else.

Another approach, will be as your data is out, you can just install a new system HD and have your data on another HD so if this happend again, you just need to repeat the System install or get your backups up and running whatever is faster.

If you can't still have access to the HD at all you might need a different approach to get your data out of there again... if there is any.

Note:  HD are more and more realiable now than before if you are working in an old HD this a good time to replace it... again if possible.
RojoshoRTCC-III Level-2 Support

Hello Raffie613,

Thank you and if you find the solution or the steps to solving this problem, please share it with us... It is how we learn.  

Live long and prosper,


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