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CHKDSK /F = Dirty Bit:

"A bit in a memory cache or virtual memory page that has been modified by the CPU, but not yet written back to storage." www.ComputerLanguage.com

"If a volume's dirty bit is set, this indicates that the file system may be in an inconsistent state for one of the following reasons." Microsoft.com TechNet

  1. The dirty bit can be set because the volume is online and has outstanding changes.

  2. Changes were made to the volume and the computer shuts down before the changes were committed to disk, or... 

  3. Corruption was detected on the volume. If the dirty bit is set when the computer restarts, chkdsk runs to verify the consistency of the volume. A Loop!

Every time Windows XP starts, Autochk.exe is called by the Kernel to scan all volumes to check if the volume dirty bit is set. If the dirty bit is set, autochk performs an immediate chkdsk /f on that volume. Chkdsk /f verifies file system integrity and attempts to fix any problems with the volume." Quoting Microsoft TechNet.


Possible 7 ways to solve this problem...

  1. Run: chkdsk /f - Permanent Solution. The ''dirty bit'' is set on this partition.
  2. Defrag the Partition!
  3. Bad Sectors? Run HD Disk Manufacturer's Disk Utilities.
  4. Running ''Crypkey Service'', ''Crypkey License,'' and ''NetworkX'' driver? They lock the system drive. Disable, run chkdsk /f then re-enable Services. A software licensing service.
  5. Using an outdated Kensington Mouse driver? Don't! Check with Kensington for an Updated Driver.
  6. When all else fails... Do a clean installation of Windows. Install in a separate directory and reboot to that installation. This should allow chkdsk /f to run and clear the dirty bit.
  7. HD Imaging problems? Reset chkdsk bit before restoring an image = chkdsk /f / r

    The /R switch is usually not essential. It can be used as a convenient mechanism for scanning the entire volume if a Disk is suspected of having bad sectors. Bad Sectors may also be fixed using your HD Drive Manufacture's Disk Utilities.


Further Dirty Bit Help:
  1. Diskeeper FAQs: Search, 'dirty bit'. Diskeeper will not run on a partition that has the dirty bit set.
  2. Microsoft TechNet: Fsutil: dirty - Queries to see whether a volume's dirty bit is set. Sets a volume's dirty bit. When a volume's dirty bit is set, autochk automatically checks the volume for errors the next time the computer is restarted.
  3. Microsoft TechNet: Fsutil - Command-Line Utility For Advanced Users ONLY!
  4. Windows XP Home Edition Product Documentation: Fsutil: dirty - "Autochk.exe is called by the Kernel to scan all volumes to check if the volume dirty bit is set."
  5. Annoyances.org - Autochk looping - grrr. (Windows XP Discussion Forum): Autochk looping -
  6. 187941 - An Explanation of CHKDSK and the New -C and -I Switches: NT4 & Win2000
  7. 314835 - An Explanation of the New -C and -I Switches That Are Available to Use with Chkdsk.exe: WinXP
  8. 176504 - Err Msg Cannot Open the Volume for Direct Access When You Start Windows NT: Running CrypKey Software Licensing System version 4.3 from Cobalt Systems.
  9. 218461 - Description of Enhanced Chkdsk, Autochk, and Chkntfs Tools in Windows 2000: Win2000
  10. 160963 - CHKNTFS.EXE What You Can Use It For: On NTFS Partitions - Prevent chkdsk from running automatically.
File Systems
Windows Help

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Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Posted 03/17/2003; Updated 08/29/2003