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Solutions: Automatic disk check at bootup can be disabled

I have a problem when I boot up my computer. It gives me a message: "Cannot open on volume to direct access." It states it's checking files on system c: nfts file. I use Windows Vista. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Sometimes Windows will set a flag to run a chkdsk on the next boot, and for some reason that flag doesn't get reset. As long as the current chkdsk is not returning any disk errors, try this:

Click Start, Programs, Accessories. Right-click Command Prompt and choose "Run as administrator." This will open a Command Prompt window. Type "fsutil dirty query c:" (without the quotes) and then press Enter. The system should come back with a "disk is dirty" message. Still in the Command window, type "CHKNTFS /X C:" (without the quotes) and press Enter. This will tell Windows not to check the disk automatically at the next boot. Close out the Command Prompt window and then reboot your PC.

I tried to take your advice and install Autoruns to help me understand my startup programs, but got a message, "This beta version is out of date" (V11.21). It directed me to www.winace.com. I was not familiar with winace.com, so I did not follow that direction. Any advice?

First, let me commend you for stopping after receiving results you weren't expecting. Good-sense behavior such as that will go a long way to keeping your PC in the best possible working order.

I don't know what happened with the link, so let's start over by going to the base Windows SysInternals website at: http://technet.microsoft.com/sysinternals. Click the Process Utilities link on the left. From there, click on the Autoruns link and proceed to the main Autoruns page.

The SysInternals site was created by Mark Russinovich in 1996 and then was incorporated as part of the Microsoft official site a few years later. I've been using their utilities from the beginning. Aside from being useful, they are written to be small, self-contained executables. No large installations or the system changes that go with it. There may be a few exceptions, but this is the only site I have ever recommended for downloaded system-level programs in the life of this column.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Automatic disk check at bootup can be disabled 02/26/12 [Last modified: Sunday, February 26, 2012 7:19pm]

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