How Do I Test My Hard Drive for Problems?

Use Special Testing Software to Check for Hard Drive Problems

Dismantled hard drive
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There are lots of reasons you might want to test your hard drive for problems. One of the major purposes of a test would be if your hard drive is making strange noises. This can often be a sign of a failing drive, something a test can point out.

Other reasons to test your hard drive include a defrag program that directs you to do so or if normal troubleshooting steps for certain problems (like error messages in Windows) are of no help. Often times the last step is to diagnose a possible hard drive issue.

So what kinds of tests do you run, and how?

The easiest way to test your hard drive is by using hard drive testing software. These programs are specially designed to check every tiny part of the hard drive for issues and then report anything it finds.

Test Your Hard Drive Using Free Diagnostic Tools

Believe it or not, some of the very best hard drive testing software programs are completely free. See our Free Hard Drive Testing Programs list for several that we recommend.

In all modern versions of Windows, Microsoft includes a program called "Error Checking" which can perform some very basic tests such as hard drive scanning and can even attempt to correct errors as it finds them.

Most other free hard drive testing programs are supported by the hard drive manufacturers themselves and are much more powerful. Seagate, Hitachi, and Western Digital all make very popular testing programs. Their software is included in our testing programs list.

Purchase a Retail Hard Drive Testing Software Program

If the free programs don't offer enough features, there are a number of companies that create even more powerful testing and correcting tools.

Here are a few of our favorite commercial hard drive tools. They might seem a little pricey but depending on the value of the data on your dead or dying hard drive, it may be worth a shot.