Testing a computer hard drive for failures

Computer hard driveA bad hard drive can cause an assortment of different issues on your computer. Below are just a few of the possible issues you may encounter. It is important to remember that the below issues can also be caused by more than just a bad disk drive.

  1. Errors when reading, copying, moving, or deleting data on the computer.
  2. Extremely slow.
  3. Operating system unable to boot.
  4. Other random errors or computer reboots.

Software solutions

Below is a listing of a software programs available that are designed to test your computer's hard drive for errors.

  • Scandisk - Users running Microsoft Windows who're still able to get into Windows can utilize the already installed disk checking tool Scandisk to find and repair any errors on their hard drive.
  • Chkdsk - Another Windows command line utility to test the hard drive. If you're unable to boot into Windows, boot from the Windows CD enter the recovery console and run: chkdsk /f to fix errors.
  • TestDisk - Fantastic free and open source utility to test and fix different hard drive errors.
  • Hitachi Drive Fitness Test (DFT) - Great third-party utility that can be used with most hard drives and supports the option to create a bootable CD image.
  • Seagate SeaTools - Fantastic and free program that is used to test all computer hard drives.
  • HDD health - Another great program that utilizes S.M.A.R.T technology to display a hard drive's statistics, such as the temperature of the drive, it's overall health, and every other SMART attribute.

Replace the hard drive

If the hard drive appears to be bad or is generating SMART errors indicating its bad even after trying the above suggestions, we suggest replacing it.

Often hard drives have a several year warranty and if the drive or the computer the drive is in is relatively new may still be under warranty (even if the computer isn't).

If you're concerned about recovering lost data from a defective drive consider using a company who specializes in data recovery.