14 Best Free Hard Drive Testing Programs

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

There are many free hard drive testing programs 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, you may need to replace your hard drive if it fails some part of one of these tests.

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

 Illustration: Jon Marchione. © Lifewire 2018

Many excellent commercial hard drive repair software programs are available as well. Be sure to first try the free options below before paying for any program!

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Seagate SeaTools

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 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 Bootable and SeaTools for DOS support Seagate or Maxtor drives and run independent of your operating system on their own USB drive or CD, respectively.

SeaTools for Windows installs on your Windows system. Use it to perform 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 are used to test hard drives by professional computer services, but are easy enough for anyone to use.

The Windows version of SeaTools should work with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There's also a Linux version.

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HDDScan v4.0 in Windows 8
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. It includes a SMART test and a surface test.

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

The official system requirements state that you need to be running at least Windows XP, so it should work with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Vista, including Windows Server 2003.

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What We Like
  • Choose from three different tests

  • 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.

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

GSmartControl runs 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, and Conveyance Self-test is a 5-minute test that's supposed to find damages that occurred during the transporting of a drive.

This program can be downloaded for Windows as a portable program or as a regular program with a normal installer. The latest version works with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Vista, but there's an outdated edition you can get for older Windows versions. It's also available for Linux and Mac operating systems, as well as included in a couple of LiveCD/LiveUSB programs.

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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 short and extended disk tests.

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 should work fine with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, plus Windows Server 2008 and 2003.

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Windows Drive Fitness Test (WinDFT)

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

  • Last updated in 2008

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. Only USB and other internal hard drives can be scanned with Windows Drive Fitness Test.

Install WinDFT to Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

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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 feature 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.

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Western Digital Dashboard & Data Lifeguard Diagnostic

Western Digital Dashboard for Windows
Western Digital Dashboard for Windows.
What We Like
  • Runs from within Windows

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

  • The Windows version is easy to use

  • Also shows basic information about the drives

What We Don't Like
  • 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 Dashboard is free hard drive testing software for Windows, and Data Lifeguard Diagnostics is a bootable ISO file. These utilities let you run a number of hard drive tests.

The DOS version can run regardless of the OS that's installed, while the Windows edition installs on Windows 11 and Windows 10.

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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 is available in both a Windows version and an operating system independent, bootable DOS version. However, 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 is said to work with Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It might also run just fine in Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Download For:

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.

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HD Tune

HD Tune v2.55 in Windows 7
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

  • No update since 2008

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, and run an error scan.

Only Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000 are said to be the only supported operating systems, but we used HD Tune in Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues.

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Bart's Stuff Test

Bart's Stuff Test v5
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 this program, and it's not as thorough as some other tests on this list. All things considered, though, it 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.

It's said to work only with Windows XP through Windows 95. However, we tested the latest version in Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any errors.

That link is to an archived version, since the developer's website no longer hosts the download.

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Microsoft Windows Built-In Error Checking

Error Checking (chkdsk) tool 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 and correct many of them.

It's built into all modern versions of Windows.

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Macrorit Disk Scanner

Macrorit Disk Scanner v4.3.5
What We Like
  • Great visuals that are easy to understand

  • Doesn't have to be installed

  • Works on several Windows operating systems

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

  • Infrequent updates

Macrorit Disk Scanner is a 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.

The official list of operating systems that run this program include Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP.

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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 incorporates two main testing utilities—a sector test and a SMART value reader.

The SMART test lists more than 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 we successfully tested it in Windows 10 and 8 as well.

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Ariolic Disk Scanner

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 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 portable and just over 1 MB in size.

One thing that's different from Macrorit Disk Scanner is that Ariolic Disk Scanner lists the files where read errors occurred.

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

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