Best Commercial Hard Drive Repair Software

A list of the best commercial hard disk repair programs

In addition to the many free hard-drive testing tools available for download, are several commercial hard drive repair tools that, for a cost, help determine if your hard drive is working properly—or not.

These programs aren't necessarily better than the free ones, but considering that you're paying for them, you're likely to get customer support if you need it. These commercial tools tend to support more file systems and features as well, which might be something you're after.

So, if you've tried Error Checking in Windows or a few of the free tools but still haven't had any luck, it may be time to pull out the purse or wallet and give one of these a try.

Back up your files in case the hard drive fails to the point of making it extremely difficult or impossible to recover your data. There are plenty of free backup tools you can install to back up to another hard drive, or you can store all your backups online with an online backup service.

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Screenshot of SpinRite 6.0
SpinRite. © Gibson Research Corporation
What We Like
  • Thorough documentation and support.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited data recovery capabilities.

  • Other free tools do most of what SpinRite does.

SpinRite is one of the most powerful commercial hard drive diagnostic and repair tools available today. It has been available for many years.

It works by making several unique attempts to recover data from defective sectors, after which the data is moved to a safe location, the bad sectors are replaced with spare ones, and the data is re-written to gain access once again.

Two modes are possible—one for recovery and one for maintenance. The first will finish quicker and is meant for an emergency situation, while the latter is more thorough due to its deep analysis.

The SpinRite disk repair program is compatible with the latest file systems and hard drives. It's also operating system-independent because it uses the FreeDOS OS. Because of its small size, it can easily run from any bootable media, like a CD or flash drive, and can be "exported" to an ISO file.

This program is also extremely fast at what it does. At its maximum rate, in a best case scenario, the program can reach speeds up to 2 GB per minute or 120 GB of data every hour.

As a professional tool, it's priced accordingly, currently at $89 USD. For individuals, you can purchase one copy of the program and use it on any of your personal computers, but corporate buyers must purchase four copies to use SpinRite on client machines.

If you own an earlier version of SpinRite, you can, depending on the version you have, upgrade for anywhere from $29 USD to $69 USD. Anyone with the oldest version of the program will have to pay more for the upgrade than owners of more recent versions.

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HDD Regenerator

Screenshot of HDD Regenerator v2011
HDD Regenerator (Demo Version). © Dmitriy Primochenko
What We Like
  • Comes with a money back guarantee.

  • Easy to use.

What We Don't Like
  • May lose data when regenerating bad sectors.

  • Requires a CD or flash drive.

Like SpinRite, HDD Regenerator is text-based, but it's still easy to use and doesn't ask complicated questions or make you set up custom scan options.

Once downloaded, either burn the program to a USB device (a flash drive would work best) or to a disc. The burning process is automatic with both options thanks to the burning tools included within HDD Regenerator.

When you first boot to HDD Regenerator, you must choose which hard drive to scan, followed by the type of scan to perform.

There are two scanning options in this program. The first is just a prescan to report if any bad zones are found. To actually repair the sectors, HDD Regenerator must run in the other mode, called the normal scan.

If the normal scan is chosen, you can choose to scan and repair the disk, scan but only show the bad sectors and not repair them, or regenerate all sectors in a range even if they're not bad. No matter the scan type you choose, you can start at sector 0 or manually select the start and end sectors.

When HDD Regenerator finishes, it shows a list of the sectors that were scanned as well as the number of delays that were detected, sectors that weren't repaired, and sectors that were recovered.

Unless you're using this software on a CD or DVD, you can also resume scanning the process if it's broken at any time.

HDD Regenerator is hard drive, file system, and operating system independent. This means it can work no matter what the hard drive is formatted as—FAT, NTFS, HFS+, or any other file system, as well as regardless of the OS or how the drive is partitioned (it can even be unpartitioned).

Even though HDD Regenerator can work on any operating system, it does need to run on Windows first because that's how you have to make the bootable flash drive or disc.

When we tested this hard drive repair software, it took a little over five minutes to complete a prescan on an 80 GB drive.

HDD Regenerator is currently priced at $59.95 USD, and with it, you get lifetime use, a year of free minor updates, and discounts on major upgrades. However, that's just for one copy; there are steep discounts if you purchase in bulk (e.g., 50 or more copies brings the price down to $16 USD each).

A free demo version is available as well if you use the Download link on the download page, but it only scans and repairs the first bad sector it finds.

There are very few reputable programs that focus on hard drive repair at the level that we'd recommend. If you know of more than the two listed above, please let us know.

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