Free CD and DVD Error-Checking Software

These Four Programs Can Spot Errors on Your CDs and DVDs

If you use a CD/DVD burning program that features a disc-verifying option, then you might already know that this useful feature is great to make sure there are no errors in the discs you burn. But what if you accidentally scratch the disc at a later date and want to check that all the files are still readable? A disk checking program is an essential tool that you can use to scan CDs, DVDs, hard disks—in fact, most types of storage media. Disk-scanning utilities are also useful for checking that existing disks are still readable.

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CDCheck 3

Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid / Staff

CDCheck is probably the most well-known disk scanner for the Windows platform. This feature-rich application can scan for errors in a number of ways. It can check the contents of CDs, DVDs, hard drives and other types of media for errors and can also create/read hash files (MD5, CRC-32, etc.). CDCheck can also be used for comparing folders and files, which is a useful feature if you want to compare the files written to disc with the source files (normally stored on your hard drive). CDCheck can also double as a file recovery tool to recover files from a disk that Windows can't read. Overall, a great utility to install to keep a check on all your media.

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Ariolic Disk Scanner

As well as being a great little utility for scanning hard drives for bad disk clusters, Ariolic Disk Scanner can also check CD and DVD disks for errors. It tests the complete surface of your disk and displays good and bad clusters in real-time. This program for Windows doesn't need to be installed and so you can run it from any type of media—copying it to a USB flash drive, for example, lets you carry it around to check several computer setups if necessary.

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Emsa DiskCheck

Emsa DiskCheck for Windows is another media-checking utility that you can use for CDs, DVDs and other types of media. Just like Ariolic Disk Scanner, it has a simple interface that's easy to get to grips with. An interesting feature of Emsa DiskCheck is being able to see other statistics about the ​CD or DVD you're working on; the statistics section, for example, shows you how many files are on the disc and how much space is taken up. You can also measure your drive's ability to read the disk by looking at the speed statistics.

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Even though this error-checking program is quite old now, it's a lightweight application that runs on most versions of Windows. It can check for file errors on hard drives, floppy drives, CDs, DVDs and other types of media attached to your system. You don't need to install the program and so it can be run from any location you choose.