Dealing with disk errors in Windows 10 can be a frustrating experience. Often these errors prevent you from booting into Windows or accessing important files on your hard drive. The default solution is to run CHKDSK or a Startup Repair, which can take a long time to complete. Fortunately, there are a few ways to bypass disk error repairs in Windows 10 to boot back into your OS quickly.
What Causes Disk Errors in Windows 10?
Before we look at how to bypass repairs, let’s briefly go over what causes disk errors to occur in the first place. Some common culprits include:
- File system corruption – The file system manages how data is stored on the drive. If critical file system components get corrupted, it can lead to errors.
- Bad sectors – Bad sectors are areas on a hard disk that have become physically damaged. Attempting to read data from these sectors will result in errors.
- Malware or virus infection – Malicious programs can sometimes directly damage or corrupt files required for booting.
- Power failure during boot – An unexpected loss of power while Windows is booting up or writing data can lead to corruption.
- Registry errors – The registry contains boot configuration data that can get corrupted and cause start up issues.
- Driver conflicts – Outdated or buggy drivers can sometimes interfere with disk operations resulting in damage.
There are a wide range of different causes, but corruption, bad sectors, and boot issues tend to be the most common. When these errors occur, Windows will prompt you to run CHKDSK or Startup Repair to fix the problem. Let’s look at how you can skip these automated repair options.
Bypassing CHKDSK in Automatic Repair
If Windows 10 failed to boot properly and automatically enters the Automatic Repair environment, one of the first things it will try to do is run CHKDSK. This built-in utility analyzes the file system for errors and attempts to repair any corruption that is found.
The problem is CHKDSK can take a really long time to finish if there are a lot of errors. You may be waiting an hour or more stuck at the CHKDSK screen, which can be incredibly frustrating if you just want to boot back into Windows immediately.
Luckily there are a couple ways to skip the CHKDSK phase of Automatic Repair:
- Interrupt CHKDSK – If you are quick, you can press any key while CHKDSK is running to halt the process. This will show you Advanced Options.
- Advanced Options – Restart and select Advanced Options to access the Troubleshoot menu. Here you can proceed directly to Startup Repair to bypass CHKDSK.
- Shift + F10 – This keyboard shortcut opens a Command Prompt during Automatic Repair. From here you can use the bootrec commands to rebuild the boot configuration data.
The simplest option is to press a key as soon as you see CHKDSK begin. Just mashing keys quickly should interrupt it within a few seconds. Then you can proceed to Startup Repair or use the Command Prompt to access Windows and your files without having to wait for repairs.
Bypassing Startup Repair in Advanced Options
The Startup Repair tool itself can also be quite slow depending on the type and extent of the errors. On a badly corrupted system, Startup Repair may take 30 minutes or longer attempting different repairs before it finishes.
To skip Startup Repair:
- Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options from the Automatic Repair screen.
- Choose the “Continue” option to proceed to Windows 10 without repairs.
This will load Windows 10 normally, circumventing any fixes Startup Repair might attempt. All of your data should still be accessible this way. The only caveat is that if there is a serious system file corruption issue, Windows may crash or have stability issues until you are able to run repairs.
Using the Command Prompt to Bypass Repairs
The most powerful option is to use the Command Prompt to manually rebuild and repair the boot configuration data. This allows you to rapidly fix the most important errors without waiting for automatic repair tools.
To open the Command Prompt:
- On the Advanced Options screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options.
- Choose Command Prompt from the list.
Now you have access to commands like bootrec and chkdsk. Here are some useful options:
- bootrec /fixmbr – Repairs the master boot record
- bootrec /fixboot – Rebuilds the boot sector and boot files
- bootrec /rebuildbcd – Reconstructs the BCD boot store
- chkdsk /f – Scans and fixes file system errors
- chkdsk /r – Locates and recovers bad sectors
The bootrec commands are the quickest way to fix boot issues without having to wait for Startup Repair to run. Using them along with chkdsk options like /f and /r allows you to do targeted repairs of the most important corruption issues.
Here are the steps to run the necessary commands:
- bootrec /fixmbr – Fix MBR errors
- bootrec /fixboot – Write new boot files
- bootrec /rebuildbcd – Rebuild BCD
- chkdsk /f C: – Check file system and fix errors
- chkdsk /r C: – Locate and recover bad sectors
- Exit – Close Command Prompt and restart PC
After running these commands, you should be able to boot back into Windows 10 without having to wait for time-consuming repairs.
Performing Startup Repairs Without Waiting
An alternative to completely bypassing Startup Repair is to perform the repairs yourself from the Command Prompt in a targeted way. This allows you to fix the specific boot issues without having to wait through the automated repair procedures.
To take this approach, follow these steps:
- Open the Command Prompt from Advanced Options as shown above.
- Run bootrec /fixmbr – Fixes MBR
- Run bootrec /fixboot – Writes fresh boot files
- Run bootrec /rebuildbcd – Rebuilds BCD
- Type exit to close Command Prompt and restart PC.
The bootrec commands will repair the boot configuration data in under a minute. This achieves the same repairs that Startup Repair performs, just much quicker as you avoid the automated diagnosis and repair scans.
You can also run chkdsk /f to do a quick check and repair of file system errors if needed. That combined with the bootrec commands will fix the most common boot issues that Startup Repair resolves.
Restoring from a System Image Backup
One more technique to repair disk errors quickly is reverting your system back to an earlier system image backup. If you have a system image from before the issues occurred, you can rapidly restore Windows 10 to a working state.
To restore a system image:
- Boot to the Advanced Options menu as shown earlier.
- Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > System Image Recovery.
- Select your system image backup and choose to Restore.
In most cases, going back to a previous system image will resolve any disk corruption or boot issues. It takes a bit longer than just running repair commands but is usually quicker than waiting for Startup Repair.
Clearing CMOS to Reset BIOS
For hardware related boot issues caused by BIOS or motherboard settings, clearing the CMOS can help resolve problems without repairs. This resets your BIOS back to default settings.
To clear CMOS:
- Power off the PC and unplug power cable.
- Find the CMOS clear jumper on motherboard and short circuit it.
- Wait 30 seconds before removing jumper and reconnect power cable.
- Power on PC and boot into BIOS setup to load optimized defaults.
Consult your motherboard manual for exact steps. Clearing the CMOS can help bypass disk boot errors related to incorrect firmware or hardware settings.
Fresh Install Windows 10 to New Drive
When all else fails, performing a fresh Windows 10 installation on a new drive can help bypass almost any disk related errors on old drives. Here’s a quick overview:
- Connect a new drive to the problem PC.
- Boot from a Windows 10 installer USB or DVD.
- Delete all partitions on the new drive and install Windows 10.
- Configure boot order in BIOS to boot from the new drive first.
This acts as a sort of reset switch for your PC, giving you a completely fresh Windows 10 install. You can then access the old drive containing your apps and data as a secondary drive. While more time consuming than other methods, it gives you the highest chance of success when bypassing complex disk problems.
In summary, here are some effective ways to get around repairing disk errors in Windows 10:
- Interrupt CHKDSK during Automatic Repair
- Skip Startup Repair from Advanced Options
- Use Command Prompt and bootrec commands to quickly fix boot issues
- Revert to a system image backup
- Clear CMOS to reset BIOS settings
- Fresh install Windows 10 on a new drive
While the automated Startup Repair and CHKDSK tools aim to fix problems, they often take too long when you just want to get Windows booted quickly. Using the Command Prompt gives you more targeted control to reconstruct the boot configuration rapidly.
Reverting to a system image or doing a fresh install on a new drive are more robust options when the PC is having advanced disk issues.
Overall there are many ways to skip or work around the lengthy repairs Windows tries to perform automatically. Take advantage of these tips to get your system back up quickly when faced with those frustrating disk errors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is CHKDSK in Windows?
CHKDSK (Check Disk) is a built-in Windows utility that scans hard drives for file system errors and attempts to fix any issues it finds. It runs automatically during the boot process when errors are detected.
What does Startup Repair do?
Startup Repair is a Windows recovery tool that analyzes the system for boot issues and tries to automatically diagnose and repair any problems so Windows can start properly again. It runs when Windows fails to start a few times.
How long does CHKDSK take to run?
CHKDSK scan and repair times depend on the drive size and amount of errors. For a heavily corrupted system, CHKDSK can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to several hours to complete. Even 1-2 hours is common for larger hard drives.
Is interrupting CHKDSK bad?
Interrupting CHKDSK is generally safe. The scan will simply abort and no changes will be made to the drive. However, interrupting chkdsk while it is actively repairing errors can sometimes cause further corruption.
Can you bypass Automatic Repair?
Yes, from the Advanced Options screen you can select the “Continue to Windows 10” option to skip Automatic Repair and boot into Windows normally. This bypasses fixes from CHKDSK and Startup Repair.
How do I fix Windows boot errors without losing data?
Repairing boot errors without losing data can be done using the bootrec and chkdsk commands in the recovery Command Prompt. You can also restore from a system image backup taken before issues occurred.
Why does my PC get stuck in Automatic Repair?
The most common reasons PCs get stuck in Automatic Repair include file system corruption, hard drive errors, boot sector viruses, BCD configuration issues, or hardware component failures.
Does resetting CMOS delete data?
No, clearing the CMOS does not delete any data. It simply resets the BIOS settings back to default values and reestablishes communication between the BIOS and hardware.
Is it better to do clean install or repair install?
A clean install ensures everything is fresh but takes more time. A repair install preserves applications and files but may carry over problems. If diagnosing an issue, clean install is better. For convenience, repair install works but risks persisting errors.
Can I recover files after clean installing Windows 10?
Yes, if you clean install Windows 10 on a separate new drive, you can still access the old drive containing your files and data afterward. You can browse the old drive and copy any needed files over to the new Windows 10 installation.
- Interrupt CHKDSK and skip Startup Repair to bypass automatic disk error repairs.
- Use bootrec and chkdsk commands in Recovery Command Prompt to quickly fix boot issues.
- Restore system image or clean install Windows on new drive to resolve advanced disk problems.
- Targeted repairs with Command Prompt tools provide quickest way to fix corruption.
- Allowing automatic repair can mean waiting through lengthy disk scans.