Home » Windows » How Windows Users can Check the Health of Their Hard Disk

Hard Disks (or SSDs) are one of the most important parts of among various hardware units that make your computer. They hold all your important program files, confidential data, and OS. But Hard Disks (or SSDs) are like other electronics that have a limited time span and they start showing slow performance, random shut down over the time. If their life span is over, they stop working and you cannot access your data after that. Therefore, if you want that you do not face prickly situations, it is very important that you keep an eye on the health of your PC’s hard disk. If your hard disk starts showing problems, take the backup of your data first to avoid data loss.

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Below different ways are explained to check your PC’s Hard Disk health:

  1. Windows’ built-in CHKDSK tool

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It is one of the easiest and convenient methods to access the computer’s Hard Disk health. CHKDSK is short form used for Check Disk, which is Windows’ built-in system tool that can scan and may solve hard disk (partitions) for logical errors, bad sectors, and file system problems.  You can run CHKDSK via the Command Prompt, and through Windows Explorer, read the below section to know how:

  • Via Command Prompt

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Launch Command Prompt with administrator privileges, and type in X:\chkdsk. X is for the hard disk drive that you want scan. Chkdsk will scan the disk partition, and show the scan report once scan is completed.

1.2 Via Windows Explorer

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Right click on the disk partition that you want to scan and select Properties from the list. Under the Tools tab, click on the Check now button, and let CHKDSK do the rest.

CHKDSK is more than sufficient if you just want to run basic diagnostics and see that the Hard Disk is running fine.

  1. Advanced Third Party Hard Disk Utilities

On the basic level, CHKDSK tool does a fine job of checking hard disk health, but if you want to get the detailed analysis of the hard disk’s health parameters, using third party utilities is a good choice. You have many options, but two of the best are briefly discussed below:

2.1 HDDScan

HDDScan is one of the most powerful disk monitoring applications that automatically detects the computer’s connected hard disk(s), and shows information such as model name, firmware number, and serial ID. It can test the hard disk(s) for everything from corrupted sectors to bad blocks. Its primary functionality is running S.M.A.R.T tests on the hard disk, and displaying the analyzed report. S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a monitoring system that is included on all hard disks and solid state drives. This technology is useful for providing general information about the reliability of the disks, which is calculated on the basis of certain parameters included raw read error rate, spin retry count, and seek time performance.

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Click on the namesake button if you want to view the S.M.A.R.T statistics for the disk. HDDScan’s S.M.A.R.T report details show the calculated value of all the attributes, along with the threshold for them. HDDScan also supports numerous other tests apart from S.M.A.R.T test and you can queue these tests to run together one after another, via the Test Manager window.

Some of the other tests are as follows:

Surface Tests: This test is performed on read/write data to certain areas (or all) of hard disk to see if the disk is working fine.

S.M.A.R.T. Offline Tests: There are of two types one is Short that lasts 1-2 minutes and another is, Extended that lasts 0.5-2 hours. These tests scan a part or the entire hard disk’s surface to find if any sector show read/write errors.

Temperature Monitor: This test is performed to monitor disk’s temperature in real-time. Any time if you can view detailed information about a test, double-click on its entry in the Test Manager window. HDDScan is a comprehensive hard disk monitoring utility that does not cost a dime because it is a free utility that is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

2.2 CrystalDiskInfo

HDDScan is undoubtedly a great disk monitoring utility, but its numerous tests and stuff can be a little bit overwhelming for you to handle. Therefore, CrystalDiskInfo can be more helpful for you. CrystalDiskInfo is lightweight, robust, and portable application and it includes all the features of HDDScan.

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It displays S.M.A.R.T. parameters, detailed hard disk status information updated in real-time. You can even configure it to trigger automatic email and sound alerts if the hard disk’s is showing some signs of failure. It is a well-rounded tool shows detailed working stats in of the hard disk in real-time of S.M.A.R.T. parameters, disk temperature, and overall status. It is a free tool that is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

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