14 Free Hard Drive Testing Programs

An updated list of the best free hard drive test software programs

An illustration of a hard drive being tested to determine if there is anything wrong with it.

 Jon Marchione, Lifewire 

There are many free hard drive testing tools available to help you determine what, if anything, is wrong when you suspect there may be a problem with a hard drive.

Tools like Windows Error Checking and the chkdsk command are included in your Windows-based operating system already but some others, like those below, are available from hard drive manufacturers and other developers.

Depending on the issue found, you may need to replace your hard drive if it fails some part of one of these hard drive tests. Follow any advice given in the program or see Get More Help for information about contacting me for advice on what to do.

Many excellent Commercial Hard Drive Repair Software programs are available as well. Be sure to first try the free hard drive diagnostic software options below before paying for any program!

01
of 14

Seagate SeaTools

Screenshot of Seagate SeaTools for DOS
Seagate SeaTools for DOS.

What We Like

  • Works from both inside and outside of Windows

  • Completely free

  • SeaTools for DOS works on any operating system

  • SeaTools for Windows lets you test a hard drive from any manufacturer

What We Don't Like

  • SeaTools for DOS can be hard to use and install

  • SeaTools for Windows runs on Windows only

  • SeaTools for DOS can deal with only 100 errors before restarting

  • SeaTools for DOS might not work well with RAID controllers

Seagate SeaTools is free hard drive testing software that comes in two forms for home users:

SeaTools for DOS supports Seagate or Maxtor drives and runs independent from your operating system on its own CD or USB drive, making it highly reliable.

SeaTools for Windows is a program that installs on your Windows system. You can do basic and advanced testing of any kind of drive — internal or external — from any manufacturer.

For those looking for SeaTools Desktop, SeaTools Online, or Maxtor's PowerMax software, please note that the two tools above have replaced all three. Seagate now owns the Maxtor brand.

Seagate's SeaTools programs are excellent programs. They're used to test hard drives by professional computer services but are easy enough for anyone to use.

The Windows version of SeaTools works with Windows 10 through Windows XP.

02
of 14

HDDScan

Screenshot of HDDScan v4.0 in Windows 8
HDDScan.

What We Like

  • Works with all hard drives

  • No installation need (portable)

  • Easy to use

  • Includes a SMART test

  • Runs on all modern versions of Windows

What We Don't Like

  • Runs on Windows operating systems only

  • Doesn't include help docs or tips for how to use the different options

  • Can't install the program to your computer (it runs as a portable program automatically)

HDDScan is a free hard drive testing program for all types of drives, no matter the manufacturer.

There are several tools included in HDDScan, including a SMART test and a surface test.

The program is very easy to use, is completely portable, supports almost all drive interfaces, and seems to be regularly updated.

You can use HDDScan in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2003.

03
of 14

DiskCheckup

Screenshot of DiskCheckup in Windows 7
DiskCheckup.

What We Like

  • Keeps track of SMART attributes to predict hard drive failure

  • Can be configured to email you when certain events take place

  • Well-organized and easy-to-use interface

  • Small download size

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't scan SCSI or hardware RAIDs

  • Free for home/personal use only, not commercial/business

DiskCheckup is a free hard drive tester that should work with most hard drives.

SMART info like reading error rate, spin-up time, seek error rate, and temperature is displayed, as well as the ability to run a short and extended disk test.

Details in the SMART section can be configured to send an email or display a notification when their attributes exceed the manufacturer's recommended threshold.

Hard drives that have a SCSI or hardware RAID connection are not supported and can not be detected by DiskCheckup.

DiskCheckup works with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2008/2003.

04
of 14

GSmartControl

Screenshot of GSmartControl
GSmartControl.

What We Like

  • There are three tests you can choose to run

  • Works on Windows, Linux, and macOS

  • Lets you view the drive's SMART attributes

  • A portable version is available

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't support every USB and RAID device

  • When exporting information, it includes everything, not just a specific result you want to save

GSmartControl can run various hard drive tests with detailed results and give an overall health assessment of a drive.

You can view and save SMART attribute values like the power cycle count, multi-zone error rate, calibration retry count, and many others.

GSmartControl can run three self-tests to find drive faults:

  • Short Self-test: Takes around 2 minutes to complete and is used to detect a completely damaged hard drive.
  • Extended Self-test: Takes 70 minutes to finish and examines the entire surface of a hard drive to find faults.
  • Conveyance Self-test: This is a 5-minute test that's supposed to find damages that occurred during the transporting of a drive.

GSmartControl can be downloaded for Windows as a portable program or as a regular program with a normal installer. It works with Windows 10 through Windows XP. It's also available for Linux and Mac operating systems as well as included in a couple of LiveCD/LiveUSB programs.

05
of 14

Windows Drive Fitness Test (WinDFT)

Screenshot of Windows Drive Fitness Test
Windows Drive Fitness Test.

What We Like

  • Very easy to use

  • There are two HDD testing functions

  • An option lets you perform a deep test for better results

  • Lets you test more than one drive consecutively

  • SMART attributes can be viewed

  • Also lets you erase a hard drive

What We Don't Like

  • Can't scan the primary hard drive where Windows is installed

  • No tutorials, instructions, or tips are included in the program

  • Unable to change where the LOG file is saved

  • Works on Windows operating systems only

Windows Drive Fitness Test is free hard drive diagnostic software available for use on most drives available today.

The download link below installs the Windows Drive Fitness Test software to the Windows OS, but you can't use the program to scan the drive that has Windows installed.

Unfortunately, only USB and other internal hard drives can be scanned with Windows Drive Fitness Test.

You can install WinDFT to Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

06
of 14

Samsung HUTIL

Screenshot of Samsung HUTIL
Samsung HUTIL.

What We Like

  • Tests hard drives regardless of the OS that's installed

  • Not too difficult to use

  • Lets you erase data from the drive, too

What We Don't Like

  • Tests Samsung HDDs only

  • Isn't as easy to install as a desktop-based program

  • You have to have access to a working computer in order to set up the program

  • The interface is completely text (no buttons you can click)

Samsung HUTIL is a free hard drive diagnostic utility for Samsung hard drives. HUTIL is sometimes called ES-Tool.

Samsung's HUTIL tool is available as an ISO image for burning to a CD or USB drive. This makes HUTIL operating system independent and a better testing tool, in general, than those designed for use within Windows. It's also possible to run HUTIL from a bootable floppy disk.

Because Samsung HUTIL is a bootable program, you'll need a working hard drive and OS to burn it to a disc or USB device. 

HUTIL will only test Samsung hard drives. HUTIL will load and find your non-Samsung drive but you will not be able to run any diagnostics on the drive.

07
of 14

Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic (DLGDIAG)

Screenshot of Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows
Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows.

What We Like

  • Runs from within Windows

  • The Windows program can scan hard drives from any manufacturer

  • Lets you boot to the program if you don't have Windows (or have no OS installed)

  • The Windows version is easy to use

  • Lets you scan external and internal HDDs

  • Also shows basic information about the drives

What We Don't Like

  • The DOS program scans Western Digital hard drives only

  • The DOS program isn't as easy to set up as the Windows version

  • Using the DOS program might be harder than its Windows counterpart

Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic (DLGDIAG) is free hard drive testing software that's available for download in both a portable Windows program as well as a bootable, ISO file and allows for a number of hard drive tests.

See the installation instructions from Western Digital in the link below for details.

08
of 14

Bart's Stuff Test

Screenshot of Bart's Stuff Test v5
Bart's Stuff Test.

What We Like

  • Runs a stress test by writing data to the drive

  • Tests all hard drives, internal and external, regardless of the OS or file system

  • Lets you tweak lots of settings

  • Really easy to use and understand

  • Runs in portable mode

What We Don't Like

  • No option to install it to your computer

  • Officially supports up to Windows XP only

  • No longer gets updated with improvements or new features

Bart's Stuff Test is a free, Windows-based hard drive stress test.

There aren't a lot of options in Bart's Stuff Test and it's not as thorough as some other tests on this list.

All things considered, Bart's Stuff Test is a decent addition to your hard drive testing arsenal, especially if you're having problems testing with an ISO based tool above but want something besides the Windows default tool.

Bart's Stuff Test is said to work only with Windows XP through Windows 95. However, I tested the most recent version of Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues.

09
of 14

Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool

Screenshot of Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool
Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool.

What We Like

  • One of the easiest hard drive testing apps to use

  • Provides two hard drive testing functions

  • Runs from within Windows, but there's also a floppy version if you don't have Windows

What We Don't Like

  • Tests Fujitsu hard drives only

  • The bootable program runs from a floppy disk only (not a disc or flash drive)

  • The floppy program isn't as easy to install and use as the Windows version

  • The desktop program runs on Windows only

Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool is a free hard drive testing tool designed for Fujitsu hard drives.

The Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool (FJDT) is available in both a Windows version and an operating system independent, bootable DOS version. Unfortunately, the bootable version is designed for floppy disks — an image that works with a CD or USB drive is not available.

Two tests are available with Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool, a "Quick Test" (about three minutes) and a "Comprehensive Test" (time will vary based on hard drive size).

The Windows version of Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool should work in all versions of Windows, from Windows 10 to Windows 2000.

Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool will perform hard drive tests on Fujitsu drives only. If you have any other make of hard drive, try one of the manufacturer independent tests listed toward the beginning of this list.

10
of 14

HD Tune

Screenshot of HD Tune v2.55 in Windows 7
HD Tune.

What We Like

  • Tests several types of storage devices

  • Includes helpful tests

  • Information can be saved to a screenshot and copied to the clipboard

  • The program isn't confusing to use

What We Don't Like

  • Can't export results to a text file like most programs support

  • Officially works on up to Windows 7 only, not newer Windows OSs

  • Only home/personal use is allowed

HD Tune is a Windows-based hard driver tester that works with any internal or external hard drive, SSD, or memory card.

You can run a benchmark read test with HD Tune, check the health status with Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART), and run an error scan.

Only Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000 are said to be supported, though I was also able to use HD Tune in Windows 10 and Windows 8, too.

11
of 14

Free EASIS Drive Check

Screenshot of Free EASIS Drive Check
Free EASIS Drive Check.

What We Like

  • Scan results can be emailed to you automatically

  • Runs a surface scan to check for errors

  • Shows SMART attributes

  • Checks errors on both internal and external hard drives

  • Scan results show useful information

What We Don't Like

  • Hasn't been updated in a long time (the last official supported OS is Windows 7)

  • Works on Windows computers only

  • Doesn't include as many features as most other hard drive testers

Free EASIS Drive Check is a hard drive tester that has two main testing utility built-in — a sector test and a SMART value reader.

The SMART test can list over 40 values about a hard drive while the sector test checks the surface of the media for reading errors.

The report of either test can be read straight from the program when complete, configured to be sent to you by email or printed off.

Free EASIS Drive Check is said to work with Windows 2000 through Windows 7, but I was able to use it properly on Windows 8 and 10 as well.

12
of 14

Microsoft Windows Built-In Error Checking

Screenshot of the Error Checking (chkdsk) tool in Windows 10
Error Checking (chkdsk) in Windows 10.

What We Like

  • No download necessary

  • Also tries to fix any hard drive errors

What We Don't Like

  • Runs on Windows only

  • Lacks features found in other free hard drive testing software

Error Checking, sometimes referred to as scandisk, is a hard drive testing tool that comes with Microsoft Windows that can scan your hard drive in search of a wide range of errors.

This tool can also attempt to correct a number of hard drive problems.

13
of 14

Macrorit Disk Scanner

Screenshot of Macrorit Disk Scanner v4.3.1
Macrorit Disk Scanner v4.3.1.

What We Like

  • Great visuals that are easy to understand

  • Doesn't have to be installed

  • Works on several Windows operating systems

  • Updates often

What We Don't Like

  • Excludes features found only in the paid versions

  • Free only for personal/home use

  • Scans just one drive at a time

  • Includes external links you might accidentally click

Macrorit Disk Scanner is a very simple program that checks for bad sectors on a hard drive. It's easy to use and you can start using it in no time since it's fully portable and doesn't need to be installed.

The majority of this screen is used as a visual representation of the progress of the scan and clearly indicates if there's damage.

One thing in particular that I like about Macrorit Disk Scanner is that you can see how much time is remaining before the scan is over, which some hard drive scanners don't show.

The operating systems that can run Macrorit Disk Scanner are Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Windows Home Server, and Windows Server 2012/2008/2003.

14
of 14

Ariolic Disk Scanner

Screenshot of Ariolic Disk Scanner v1.7
Ariolic Disk Scanner v1.7.

What We Like

  • Checks any hard drive for bad sectors

  • Shows which files are affected by errors

  • Portable (no installation necessary)

  • Very clean interface that's not distracting or confusing to use

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't support HFS (only NTFS and FAT file systems)

Ariolic Disk Scanner is very similar to Macrorit Disk Scanner in that it's just a read-only scan of a drive to check for bad sectors. It has a minimal interface with only one button, and is easy to understand if any parts of the drive contain bad sectors.

The program is completely portable and just over 1 MB in size.

One thing that's different than Macrorit Disk Scanner is that Ariolic Disk Scanner lists the files where read errors occurred. This sounds like a useful feature but I, unfortunately, was unable to confirm it because my scan returned no errors.

I tested Ariolic Disk Scanner in Windows 10 and XP only, but it should also work with other versions of Windows.