Recovering Lost Clusters on FAT Volumes

Because some repairs on FAT volumes, such as correcting lost clusters (also known as allocation units) or cross-linked files, change the volume's file allocation table and can cause data loss, Chkdsk first prompts you with a confirmation message similar to the following:
10 lost allocation units found in 3 chains.
Convert lost chains to files? (Y/N)

If you press the N key, Windows XP Professional fixes the errors on the volume but does not save the contents of the lost clusters.

If you press the Y key, Windows XP Professional attempts to identify the folder to which they belong. If the folder is identified, the lost cluster chains are saved as files.

If Windows XP Professional cannot identify the folder or if the folder does not exist, it saves each chain of lost clusters in a folder called, where xxx is a sequential number starting with 000. If no folder Found.000 exists, one is created at the root. If one or more sequential folders called (starting at 000) exist, a folder that uses the next number in the sequence is created.

Windows XP Professional creates folders as hidden system folders. To see a list of folders, at the root folder in the command prompt, type dir /a. For information about viewing hidden system folders in My Computer or Windows Explorer, see Windows XP Professional Help.

After the storage folder has been identified or created, one or more files with a name in the format Filennnn.chk are saved. (The first saved file is named File0000.chk, the second is named File0001.chk, and so on in sequence.) When Chkdsk finishes, you can examine the contents of these files with a text editor such as Notepad to see whether they contain any needed data (if the converted chains came from corrupted binary files, they are of no value). You can delete the .chk files after you save any useful data.


  • Because other programs might create and use files with the .chk extension, you must be careful to delete only the .chk files that are in the folders.