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Microsoft rushes out fix for critical Windows 10 bug

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Update: Microsoft has acknowledged the Windows 10 bug that is causing PCs to crash when running the Check Disk tool, and it has rushed out a fix, underlining just how serious this problem is. In its list of known issues for Windows 10 updates KB4592438 (opens in new tab) and KB4586853 (opens in new tab), the company explains how users can fix their PC if they fail to start up after crashing:

  • The device should automatically start up into the Recovery Console after failing to start up a few times.
  • Select Advanced options.
  • Select Command Prompt from the list of actions.
  • Once Command Prompt opens, type: chkdsk /f
  • Allow chkdsk to complete the scan, this can take a little while. Once it has completed, type: exit
  • The device should now start up as expected. If it restarts into Recovery Console, select Exit and continue to Windows 10.

This should allow your PC to start normally. The company is also rolling out a fix for the error, which should reach users of Windows 10 in the next 24 hours, and as it's an automatic update, you won't need to do anything to apply the fix.

This fix is for 'non-managed devices', which essentially means for Windows 10 devices used at home, rather than in businesses. We don't yet know when a fix for business and enterprise users will arrive.

Original story continues below...

A new critical bug appears to have emerged in Windows 10, which is crashing some computers when they run the chkdsk command.

It appears that this bug is affecting Windows 10 running the latest update (December 2020), which was released by Microsoft to fix numerous problems. Instead, as Windows Latest reports, some users have found that when they run the Check Disk tool (also known as chkdsk), their PCs crash, and the dreaded Blue Screen of Death appears.

This is particularly frustrating, as the Check Disk tool is a useful part of Windows 10, enabling the operating system to scan hard drives for problems and fix them.

If using that tool instead crashes some PCs, it means that some users may be unable to identify and fix hard drive issues, which could lead to more serious problems later on.

What’s going on?

It appears that when people use the /f chckdsk command while running the December 2020 update under certain circumstances, an ‘NTFS FILE SYSTEM’ error occurs, and the device crashes.

This error seems to be one that's cropped up before, so hopefully Microsoft will release a fix quickly. Until then, users are being encouraged to avoid running chkdsk unless absolutely necessary.

If they do and their PC crashes, restarting the device should be enough to get the device working again. However, any issues with the drive may not have been fixed.

We’ve contacted Microsoft to find out more, including when we can expect a fix – we'll update this story if and when we get a response.

Matt Hanson
Matt Hanson


Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.