Here is a small list of steps to take to check your Windows XP hard drive for errors.
1) Click on “My Computer”. Find the hard drive you wish to check.
2) Right click. Select Properties. Click on the “Tools” tab. Click the button that says “Check Now…”. Check both the checkboxes. (See figure below).
3) Restart your PC. Upon system restart, ‘Chkdsk’ will execute and run a bunch of tests on your hard drive. Once the tests are done, the system just boots normally. To check the results of the disk check you need to go into the Control Panel and look for ‘Event Viewer’ under ‘Administrative Tools’. Looking at these logs is important as you will not otherwise come to know what problems afflict your hard drive.
4) You will find your Chkdsk result under “Application”. Look for Winlogon under the “Source” column.
Data tends to get corrupted over time in almost all hard drives. Checking and fixing errors monthly is a good practice. If you see bad sectors on your hard drive go and get a new one ASAP and use a utility like Casper 4.0 from Future Systems to copy all the data over from the current hard drive to the new one and essentially replicate your old drive. Proactive checks are a quick way to stay productive.