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Disable Scan and Fix for Removable Drives in Windows

Sometimes you’ll be prompted to scan and fix a removable disk before using it in Windows. The proper way to fix this is to scan for filesystem errors, but here is how you can make the prompt go away permanently.

What is the Scan and Fix For?


This is caused by Windows detecting errors in the filesystem of the drive, or the drive not being unmounted properly. To never get this prompt you can make sure to use the safely remove option built into Windows before pulling out your drive.

One possible downside to getting rid of the scan and fix prompt is the service that runs to show you scan and fix also shows you AutoPlay. By disabling scan and fix you will also be disabling your AutoPlay functionality.

How Do You Disable It?

If you don’t care about AutoPlay, or want to stop it from prompting you too, go to your start menu and search for msconfig.

Note: You will have to be an administrator on the computer to use msconfig and apply this fix.

Click on the services tab and then scroll down to Shell Hardware Detection and uncheck it. This will prevent it from starting up with the computer.

To kill the service immediately go back to the start menu and search for services.msc.

Note: You can optionally just restart you computer and it will automatically make the next changes for you.

Find the same Shell Hardware Detection service in the list.

Note: It was pointed out in the comments that if you use a scanner in Windows you may need this service.  Instead of disabling it completely you can set the service to manual startup for better hardware support.

Double click on it and on the general tab click stop.

Drop down the startup type option and set it to disabled.

Click OK on the service window and then close out services.msc as well.

Plug in a few removable disks to test, but you shouldn’t be prompted to scan and fix another disk ever again.

Justin is a Linux and HTPC enthusiast who loves to try new projects. He isn't scared of bricking a cell phone in the name of freedom.

  • Published 11/26/10

Comments (12)

  1. Mohammad

    thanks a lot

    useful tip

  2. Ice

    The Scan and Fix popup -and- the annoying autostart screen? You just saved my life :)

  3. Andy

    FYI just seen a copy of this article on the gHacks website http://www.ghacks.net/2010/11/27/disable-do-you-want-to-scan-and-fix-removable-disk-autoplay/ And unless I’ve missed it they don’t seem to credit it to you

  4. E. Loftis

    I have an external harddrive. sometimes DOS dont want to write to it or fails to write, It has Autoplay
    on it. I disconnect the power and plug it back in. Autoplay Runs and I select ” do nothing’” from the
    menu and everything is happy until I do a Microsoft Window update.
    I have trouble when I have been using MS Word and try to save a file to a CD. Now I use Notepad
    and can save my work to disk.
    Since MS Window Media 11 has come out; I have invested in Nero 10. My hobby is photography
    and I have been enjoying the Photoshop Articles very much. I did an uninstall on MS Media 11 as
    it limits my use of disk drives.

  5. The Geek

    @Andy

    Thanks for the note. Sadly the Ghacks website is really, really bad about attributing their sources or giving credit to anybody else. You’ll notice a tiny little “via” link at the very bottom of their post, which does link back to this one.

  6. Merlin

    I get this scan and fix popup on some usb-disks in Windows7, but no sign of faults in XP.
    I allways use the savely remove usb device from the computer. If I can’t get it to disconnect, I even make the PC shut down to remove the drive if I really need to remove the drive. After that I restart the PC.
    The disks are NTFS formatted.

    Any idea as to why there is that difference…?

  7. SFK3174

    The Geek, thanks for tweaks your websites supplies. With this one i found when you disable shell hardware detection all the icons in My Computer goes back default and external HDD icons appear as
    default aswell. Beside this its a pretty handy tweak for usbs.

  8. Dylan Owen

    Hi, i have done as stated above and still get the “scan and fix?’ prompt. i’m running windows 7 x64. any ideas?

  9. b1k3rdude

    Only one issue with this, is WIA (as a usb connected scanner) may not work as disabling this service complained about this.

  10. JTKirk

    The “scan and fix” prompt has nothing to do with whether you use the “safely remove” function or not Windows just doesn’t trust you you did it. If you click on “scan and fix”, after the test you will notice a file called BOOTLOG.TXT in the devices main directory. This is where Windows keeps the scan results. It just looks for that file when ever you plug in a new device. Sadly this files existence doesn’t say anything about the file systems consistency. The data on the device could still be compromised.
    So if you have problems with usb-devices that need the shell hardware detection service, just keep a BOOTLOG.TXT on all your removable media and you should be good.

  11. bemymonkey

    I just spent about half an hour ripping my hair out because my scanner would no longer work – the scanning utility simply wouldn’t start up, no error message, nothing. Took me ages to figure out that the Windows Image Aquisition service is dependent on the Shell Hardware Detection service…

    If you use a scanner or anything else image related, do NOT disable the Shell Hardware Detection service!

  12. Marlene VanderMolen

    I keep getting a blue screen and have to re-boot my system. It says it is a driver problem, I downloaded Driver Cure but still get the blue screen sometimes. What can I do to elimate this ?? Thanks !

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