Find The Hidden Replacement For ScanDisk-And Other Fix-it Features


Q. What happened to one of my favorite Windows utilities—ScanDisk? Before I upgraded to Windows 2000 I used ScanDisk all the time to check and repair any problems it found on my hard disk. But it seems Microsoft left it out of Win 2000.

A. Yes, Microsoft replaced it with a new utility that’s just as good as ScanDisk. However—and this may be hard to believe—it has no name, and for reasons known only to Microsoft, it’s hidden. It’s not even listed in the Help index.

There are two ways to launch it: Either click on the My Computer icon on the desktop and right-click on C: ( or whatever your hard drive is labeled) or go to Explorer and right-click on C: . Then click on Properties , which brings up a Local Disk (C:) Properties screen and click on the Tools tab (see screenshot below).

You now have three options: You can click on Check Now , which will perform the tasks formerly performed by ScanDisk; you can click on Backup Now , which, as the name implies, backs up files; or you can click on Defragment Now , which will defrag the files on the disk and, as a result, speed up your computer.

Microsoft also hid the functions that replace ScanDisk in XP, but you can access them the same way; however, Microsoft omitted the Backup Now option for some reason.

While I have your attention about checking the health of your hard disk, Windows 2000 and XP also contain Disk Cleanup , a function that tells you which files, such as accumulated temporary files, you can safely erase. While Microsoft doesn’t quite hide the function, it makes it difficult to find.

There are two ways to access it. Either right-click on C: and this time go to the General tab to see the Disk Cleanup button just below middle of the screen, or left-click on Start (the button that starts the shutdown process for Windows; pretty intuitive, eh?) and go to All Programs, Accessories, System Tools and, presto, Disk Cleanup .

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