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Fixing Errors on Removable Media

Removable media such as floppy disks, ZIP disks, memory flash cards, USB flash drives and external hard disk drives typically use the same file systems used by hard disk drives (ie. either FAT or NTFS), and so can suffer the same problems as hard disks such as lost clusters, cross-linking and bad sectors. Fortunately they also respond to the same remedies.

If you are having trouble with such a device/media:

  1. Insert the device/media. Make a note of the drive letter (eg. F:)

  2. Click Start, Run, type CMD and click OK.

    You will be presented with the command prompt (C:\> or similar).

  3. Type:

    CHKDSK F: /R

    where F: is the drive letter noted.

    The system will then perform a thorough check of the drive, firstly the logical structures and then each sector used for storing data.

    If you are prompted:

    Cannot lock current drive.
    Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

    Type N and press ENTER, then close all applications to ensure nothing is accessing the drive. Then try again.

    If you are prompted:

    Convert lost chains to files? (Y/N)

    Answer N.

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