The “health” of computer hard drives could become affected over time. One fast way to check the health of a hard drive is to open the Disk Utility and choose “First Aid”. Then click on “Verify Disk”. A window showing various metrics related to the hard drive appears. Things that are good will appear in black and those with issues appear in red. The following are some of the best free hard drive testing programs available:
HDDScan / HARD DRIVE TESTING PROGRAMS
This free hard drive testing program works for all kinds of drives, notwithstanding the manufacturer. It needs no installation for it to start working because it automatically runs as a portable program. HDDScan is easy to use and it supports a surface and a SMART test. The program is regularly updated and it runs on all modern versions of Windows.
However, it doesn’t include help docs or tips on how to use its different options.
DiskCheckup is a free hard drive tester that works with most hard drives. The program displays SMART info like the spin-up time, seek error rate, short and extended disk tests, error rate and temperature displayed. It can be configured to email a user when certain events come up or display a notification when attributes exceed the manufacturer’s threshold or limit.
The program has a well-organized and easy-to-use interface with a small download size. However, it doesn’t scan SCSI or hardware RAIDs and it is only free for home or personal use. A user would have to pay when he or she uses the program for business or commercial purposes.
Seagate Sea Tools
These are completely free excellent programs used for testing hard drives by professional computer services. They are easy to use and they come in two forms for home users: Sea Tools Bootable for Windows and Sea Tools for DOS.
Sea Tools for Windows allows one to test a hard drive from any manufacturer while Sea Tools for DOS works on any operating system. While Sea Tools for Windows runs on Windows only, Sea Tools for DOS can prove hard to use and install. Furthermore, Sea Tools for DOS can only deal with a hundred errors before restarting.
The GSmartControl is a hard drive tester used for running various hard drive tests. It gives detailed results and a general assessment of the drive. A user can choose from three different tests that can be carried out using this program. They are:
Short Self-Test: This is done to detect a completely damaged hard drive. It takes two minutes to complete.
Conveyance Self-Test: It is carried out to find damages that may have occurred during the transporting of a drive. It is a five-minute test.
Extended Self-Test: This examines the entire surface of a hard drive to find or check for failures. It takes seventy minutes to finish.
GSmartControl allows the user to view the drive’s SMART attributes such as calibration retry count, multi-zero error rate, power cycle count and many more.