Windows and Scandisk stuck in a Loop?, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

In this issue, I wanted to talk about the Scandisk dilemma that was addressed in a few issues ago in our Visitor Feedback. Recall:

" I ran defrag on my hard drive using Windows XP Pro. Having completed that, I clicked on Scandisk to check the drive for errors. It was at this point that a window popped up and told me to shut down and reboot to run Scandisk. Now I can't get back into my system! Every time my system boots, it goes through the Scandisk. 3 hours later, it finishes Scandisk, then reboots the system... and restarts the process over again. When I try and cancel Scandisk, the computer freezes! "

I received many suggestions from our readers about this question.

Before I go any further with the results, I want to mention that this problem is not about scandisk looping continually as it sometimes does when attempting to scan a drive for errors under normal circumstances -- this type of problem is usually a result of a program running in the background, although there can be many other reasons.

Our particular problem at hand (addressed in the email above) lies within the fact that Windows appeared to be stuck in a loop because Scandisk was repeatedly executing during each boot. Anyway, here are some probable possible solutions I received:

" Go to Start -> Run -> and type: Regedit (enter) Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control\ Session Manager. On the right side look for (or create the dword value): AutoChkTimeOut. Double Click and set to 0 (zero) to disable. "

" Try running Scandisk at the MS DOS prompt (before Windows is loaded): This may require booting from an MS DOS disk (such as a Startup Disk) and running scandisk from the command line. This is a good suggestion, however, the proper utility for Windows NT / 2000 / XP systems is 'CHKDSK /F' from the command line. The idea behind this solution is that it might clear the "flag" which is telling Windows that there is still an error on the drive. You can also try the chkntfs utility. "

Try System Restore function / Last Known Good Configuration; this was probably one of the best suggestions. Sarah M. writes:

" If he can boot into Safe Mode, he could use XP's built-in System Restore feature to restore the system to a previous working configuration. But before doing that, I would suggest that he hit F8 [during boot up] and try the Last Known Good Configuration. If he has not been able to successfully log on since this happened, this process could restore the last working configuration. If he has Recovery Console installed, then that is another option at the F8 prompt. "

Side note: To access the System Restore Wizard in Windows XP: click Start -> Help and Support. Click Performance and Maintenance, click Using System Restore to undo changes, and then click Run the System Restore Wizard.

Try fixing the master boot record:

" You can also try booting into DOS and type] FDISK /mbr at the command line to fix a corrupted master boot record. If there is no Recovery Console installed, it can be run from the XP CD." FDISK is also available on a Windows 98 Startup disk (*not* available on a ME / 2000 / XP startup disk). "

" Boot from the Window XP CD and try the repair option: This might be the same as the System Restore function [but I'm not sure -- never tried it]. "

Thanks to all who wrote in!

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