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How long does a Thorough Scan Disk take?

by mysterystew / May 16, 2005 4:52 AM PDT

I'm at my kids' computer atm - I'm running a ''Thorough'' scandisk on my win98se computer - in 55 minutes it did 83,151 clusters of 1,254,268 ... surely my math skills are rusty, because I calculate that it will take more than 12 hours to complete the scan??!! This is the first time I've done the scan from Safe Mode - perhaps that's the difference, and previous scans weren't done properly? I have a 40 gig hard drive but have used ... less than 5 gigs, I believe. I just did a scandisk and defrag within the last 2 weeks (not from safe mode) - I expected it to go really quickly this time, lol.

Is it performing the way it's supposed to, or do I need to change how I've been doing my maintenance?

Sandra Happy

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OOops, I should have posted more computer "specs"
by mysterystew / May 16, 2005 5:00 AM PDT

I ran some tests on my computer earlier today from pcpitstop so I have some computer details available - my computer is (has?) an intel celeron, 1700 MHz, 256 MB ram ... I hope that's enough info.

Sandra Happy

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Sandra, It Takes However Long It Takes...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 16, 2005 6:07 AM PDT

A thorough scandisk can take quite a while and if it's done in "Safe Mode", it takes even longer. (Safe Mode takes longer than "normal" Windows) As long as the the "counter" is indicating that items are being scanned, then let it finish.

Most folks don't do a thorough scandisk very often for the reason you are now seeing. Still, it's not a bad idea to run a "thorough" occasionally simply to identify and work around the bad sectors that may, or may not be present on the hard drive.

Hope this helps.


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15 hours to complete, LOL
by mysterystew / May 16, 2005 7:36 PM PDT

Grif: I won't be doing THAT again any time soon, unless I'm told that it's MUCH better for my system than doing it from regular mode!!
Bob: I found the option to disable the write test - is there much of an advantage to DOING the write test on a regular basis, or could it be saved for a once a year type deep cleaning?
Wiley: Can you elaborate? "I found other ways to do the job (cleaning, repairing and arranging files)in a heck of a lot less time."

Thank you for your posts - it's amazing how much housework I got done during that LONG time-out, LOL.

IS the scan in safe mode "deeper" than a regular scan?

Sandra Happy

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Everyone has their own thing
by Bob__B / May 16, 2005 11:53 PM PDT

about scandisk through.

My thing is I have not found a need for it so I don't run it at all.

Monthly I run scandisk/files+folders in normal mode which takes a couple of minutes.

I'll let you do a through scan on this machine if you'll do all my house work while it's running. Happy

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Sandra, It's Only Required Occasionally
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 16, 2005 11:57 PM PDT

I only run a "thorough" Scandisk a couple of times a year..unless I start having hard drive problems...Then, the "thorough" Scandisk can help troubleshoot issues..Normally, then standard scandisk is sufficient for checking file integrity.

Hope this helps.


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A whole bunch.
by Bob__B / May 16, 2005 6:27 AM PDT

I'm not sure what the correct terms are so I'll say safe mode uses basic drivers and normal mode use advanced drivers.

Advanced is faster.

Scandisk through has an option to enable write testing, if that option is enabled the test will take a long time.

I think what the option does is>read a block>rewrite the block>reread the block, if you couple that with safe mode drivers the test may take a while.

In the multi-years I have used this machine I have run scandisk through once, just for a test.

As I recall, scandisk through>normal mode drivers>disable write test>40GB HD= about an hour.

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Take the family on an outing!
by wclark / May 16, 2005 3:57 PM PDT
In reply to: A whole bunch.

I've used scan disk "thorough" a couple of times on a 95 & 98's and I found other ways to do the job (cleaning, repairing and arranging files)in a heck of a lot less time.

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How long does a Thorough Scan Disk take?
by Rocket43 / May 19, 2005 10:28 PM PDT

Sounds like you should have created a partition or two on your hard drive! If a partition was 15-20 gigs, you could then run scan disk and defrag on the partition you are using and it would have less area to scan. Running scan disk more frequently does provide for a faster pc and scan time. I suggest to my customers that they run scan disk weekly or more frequently if they are retrieving alot of files daily. Best bet is to turn off the screensaver and start scan disk before retiring for the night. It should be complete in the morning and ready for action!

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It depends on what you are doing with your system
by Pinda / May 19, 2005 11:34 PM PDT

If you remove files often, such as large computer games, large media files etc, then scan disk isn't such a bad idea. Also if you encounter a problem with a program that suddenly dosent want to run correctly this might also be an option, (although not always, its worth a shot sometimes)

If you are the type that installs a program and leaves it there, I would say running it every 6 months or so is a good idea.

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Rarely Need the Thorough Scan
by bryan.royster / May 20, 2005 12:37 AM PDT

It is the thorough scan that takes so long. A regular scan just checks your files but a thorough scan checks your entire drive looking for bad sectors. On large hard drives this can take well over 10 hours. Any difference in speed from running in safe mode is negligable.

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long time? not mine
by heb113 / May 20, 2005 1:49 AM PDT

6 months between scans? ouch, no wonder it takes so long.
I've got a 30gb drive, and it only takes around an hour or so.
I also had a 40gb drive on my last computer, and it only took no more than an hour and a half or so.
I can see where a really huge drive, like a 120gb, or larger might take a really long time.
While I'm not a certified/certifiable computer expert, I'd long been told that scandisk/defrag, etc... should be done once a month-- if you use your computer daily. Also if you use MSIE you should clean out your temp internet files first, along with all your *.tmp files.
I've been doing this since 1997, when I was first introduced to computers. I quit using MSIE last year, when told about Netscape. I prefer it now over MSIE.
Under Win98, it took as long as it took, but with XP, not more than 2 hours so far. And I emphasize SO FAR.
Good luck.

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Very likely you ARE NOT doing
by Ray Harinec / May 20, 2005 2:13 AM PDT
In reply to: long time? not mine

the "thorough" scan disk. That reads and writes to each and every memory location whether currently in use or not. Takes a rather long time in even 30 GB drives.

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Running Scandisk in Safe Mode
by mustangj36 / May 20, 2005 3:09 PM PDT

is the best way to do it in Win 98. The process won't be interrupted by background activity trying to access the HD as happens when running it in normal mode. If you do it once a month, it may not take so long each time, but 98 is a lot slower than XP when doing sys maint so I wouldn't count on it.

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Safe Mode Vs Normal Mode
by annedakmak / May 21, 2005 3:50 AM PDT

I am not sure of the definition of "Safe Mode" and "Normal Mode" I understand that the safe mode is ONLY used in a TEST - Barron's Business Guide - I had been experiencing the inability to have Scan Disk do a thorough as it never got past the first half of the blue line even after several hours. One fine day along comes CNET from my son and I jumped on board. Little did I know what it was all about or I would not have used my given name to post with. since it seems everyone has a nom de plume. I have gleaned much info from the CNET Forums amd
I clean up -something - "Startup" and leave just about six check marks alone and it still takes about 2 + hours to scan 1,212,442,??? clusters. Very annoying but thought it was a necessary cleaning job for every month. So or not so.

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You have 2 options.
by Mendieta / May 20, 2005 6:45 PM PDT

Yes, when you do a scandisk in save mode it takes more time.

You can start Windows in normal mode and then unload all programs in the system tray (besides the clock), it's easy, you have to click on every icon and look for the option "unload", "exit", "disable" or any other similar option, Try with left & right clicks, not all programs do the same with clicks, when most programs are unloaded or disabled, run scandisk, it will restart less & will run faster.

The other One, start your computer & while it starts press CTRL+F8, windows will show a menu, move the cursor with your keyboard, choose "command line", now you are at the MS-DOS prompt, you will see: C:\> , type: scandisk /all /surface & press the enter key, let it run until it finishes, reboot or shut down.

The second option only works in Windows '95 & '98.

Hope this helps.

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