Brought my laptop running XP out of hibernation mode today and tried to start Firefox, and got some weird error about it not being able to start due to a missing file. Tried to start something else and started seeing weirdness in other apps as well and decided to reboot. Upon reboot, CHKDSK automatically ran and found (and seemingly fixed) a TON of errors.
I went to the Event Viewer (Start->Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Event Viewer) and could only find this error "The system failed to flush data to the transaction log. Corruption may occur." which, after a quick Google check led me to believe it was only related to pulling out my USB drive.
I felt compelled to thoroughly check the drive before I put any more serious work onto this laptop only to risk losing it.
My idea was to copy a lot of data and then run a comparison. First, I ran JDiskReport. It's a great tool for identifying what's taking up space on your hard drive. Using this, I located a local directory taking up about 25G.
I copied this directory to c:\testA
Then, though it might have been overkill, I copied it to c:\testB
Then I used another tool I'm liking: FreeFileSync. This directory sync tool has a setting allowing you to compare file contents instead of just sizes and timestamps.
It took about an hour, but I compared c:\testA to c:\testB. FreeFileSync reported no file differences.
Then, just to be safe I compared the original source directory to c:\testA. Again, FreeFileSync reported no file differences.
Since I had done a lot of writing and reading of the hard drive I checked the Event Viewer again and found nothing scary.
From a command prompt (Start->Run->CMD[Enter]), I ran chkdsk c: . It did do a few more fixes but it also gave me a message to the effect of "This does not indicate disk corruption". Still, I was a little concerned, so
I ran chkdsk /f c: . The /F switch tells CHKDSK to fix errors on the disk if found. It can't run while I'm in Windows so it asks if I want to schedule it for the next boot and I answer Y. Then I reboot.
It ran successfully, but just to be extra safe I ran chkdsk /r c: . The /R switch tells CHKDSK to scan the entire disk for bad sectors. Again, it can't run while I'm in Windows so it asks if I want to schedule it for the next boot and I answer Y. Then I reboot.
It took a long time to run (maybe a couple hours), but it ran successfully.
Checked the Event Viewer again and this time I am seeing a couple entries from yesterday in the System category which seem to indicate a problem occurred:
Warning: "An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk0\D during a paging operation."
Error: "A parity error was detected on \Device\Ide\iaStor0."
Still nothing from today, though. Guess I will keep an eye on it.