Chkdsk question marks

Yesterday, I scheduled to run chkdsk after my PC reboots. The next day, I saw that my PC rebooted on its own and is now running chkdsk. Starting at stage 4, all numbers are replaced with question marks. Here is what it looks like:

CHKDSK is compacting the security descriptor stream
?????? data files processed.
CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
???????? USN bytes processed.

Usn Journal verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage ? of   )...
? percent complete. (??????? of ???????? files processed)

What could be the problem here?
Please advise. Thank you.
ramAsked:
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rgormanCommented:
Sounds like you have a failing disk.  If it is functional enough, buy a new disk and clone that disk over to it and see if you can boot up on the new disk.
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ramAuthor Commented:
Actually, my PC has been running really slow lately and I've been experiencing a lot of glitches. The PC acts as a backup server and has not been maintained so I figured I'd clean it and run chkdsk to check for hard drive errors. I can definitely move the OS to another hard drive, but Is it safe to turn off the PC while chkdsk is running? Or cancel it?
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rindiCommented:
Chkdsk doesn't test the disk, it only checks the file-system and can try repairing it. To check the disk you must run the disk manufacturer's diagnostic utility. You'll find it on the UBCD (or you can download it directly from the manufacturer's site):

http://ftp.cc.uoc.gr/mirrors/linux/ubcd/ubcd533.iso

If it tells you the disk is failing, replace it.

Chkdsk can be interrupted, but it really doesn't matter, if the disk is bad you have to replace it anyway. If you have to replace the disk you should use the recovery media you made when you got the PC, then restore your backups, or if you made image based backups, you can restore from those directly. Cloning from a bad to a new disk is a bad idea, as you would clone the corrupted files data too, which can cause issues in the long run. A fresh installation or restore from a good backup is always the better option.
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ramAuthor Commented:
rindi,

Thank you for the info. So is there an explanation to why I'm seeing question marks? Or is it just an assumption that the file-system is corrupted? I have never seen chkdsk do this before so I'm curious.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
What is your localisation? Is this English Windows? The question marks are shown when the encodings are wrong or corrupt.
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rindiCommented:
It could mean a corrupt file-system, but it could also mean more trouble like a bad disk. So you should always first run the disk manufacturer's diagnostic tool. Sometimes those tools can fix some minor problems on the disk, and after that a chkdsk DriveLetter: /f /r can then repair the file-system.
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ramAuthor Commented:
noxcho,

Thanks for the info, and yes it's English.

rindi,

If I were to reboot now, can I still boot to windows? I don't think that the previous administrator made an image backup for this PC and we have software in it that I don't think we have the installer for anymore. I really thought cloning would do it, but I believe you're right about cloning corrupted data files.
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rindiCommented:
Yes it should boot.
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ramAuthor Commented:
Thank you for all your help :)
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Michael-BestCommented:
Chkdsk locks the volume for exclusive access and the only way to cancel chkdsk during the process is to power off and that may lead to unforeseen file corruption problems.
Chkdsk should never be run on a failing Hard Drive as it tries to move a corrupted / failing sectors data to a new sector.
Always run the Hard Drive manufacturers diagnostics first.
Once Chkdsk is started you are advised to let Chkdsk finish

I use and recommend "Hard Disk Sentinel" to consonantly monitor all my Hard Drives and warn me of any impending issues that may lead to failure and because of this software I have enjoyed extended life.
Software Link:
Hard Disk Sentinelwww.hdsentinel.com
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Michael-BestCommented:
It appears that while I was typing my suggestion and before hitting "submit" that you had awarded points.
If you feel that I have helped in any way, then you can always click the  "Request Attention" tab right side below your question to request a change in how you have split points.

Regards,
Michael
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ramAuthor Commented:
Michael-Best,

I have sent a request to add your reply as an accepted answer. Thank you very much for the info.
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Michael-BestCommented:
Your welcome.
Also for future reference, check out HDD Regenerator
(This software may help if the HDD has failed to boot but still mechanically functional)
http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html

Always glad to help.

Regards,
Michael
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Well, I think rindi did give the full answer to the question what chkdsk does and how to check the failing drive. The original question was - why does it show question marks which I answered as well.
Michael, dude, chkdsk does not move data anywhere. If there is a bad sector it marks this sector as bad and all attempts of the file system to write to this bad sector will be redirected to one of the reserved sectors (each hdd has them up to 15% of ghe drive size).
I don't see the reason to accept your comment as an answer because rindi was the first one. Maybe as assisted but definitely not as correct answer :)
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