I recently bought a Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive for my desktop and love it! It has a lot of space and is very quiet.
However, when I received it from Newegg, I was not completely sure that the drive would work properly as it was wrapped in a small piece of bubble wrap and nothing else! To rule out the possibility of any internal errors occurring on the drive, I decided to test it with free hard drive diagnostic tools.
Since I had a Western Digital drive, I ended up using the WD diagnostic tools for that particular model. Fortunately, almost every major brand has their own hard drive diagnostic tools. In this post, I will list various tools that you can use to ensure the integrity of your hard drive.
Microsoft Error Checking (Chkdsk)
One of the hard disk testing tools that is already built into Windows is chkdsk. It will scan the entire hard drive and check for many possible errors.
You can access it by right-clicking the drive in My Computer and choosing Properties. Then go to the Tools tab and under the Error Checking section you will see the Check Now option.
Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic
Data Lifeguard Diagnostic Tools for Western Digital drives are available in DOS and Windows versions and are designed to test various types of WD drives. Use the DOS version only if you have a new system with no operating system installed.
It includes a quick test, an extended test, and a zero writing test. Note that you can also use these tools to test drives from other manufacturers.
Seagate has two sets of easy-to-use diagnostic tools called SeaTools, one for DOS and one for Windows. The DOS version will test Seagate or Maxtor PATA, IDE and SATA hard drives.
The Windows version will test all third party drives and support more interfaces such as USB, 1394, ATA, SATA, and SCSI. It checks for file system corruption, broken master boot record, damaged drivers, and more.
You can run SMART tests, short tests, long tests, and other advanced tests.
HDDScan is a great free hard drive diagnostic tool. Besides standard hard drives, it also supports server RAID arrays, USB sticks, and solid state drives. It can check for bad blocks and bad sectors, can display S.M.A.R.T attributes for a disk, and can even change some hard disk parameters like AAM, APM, etc.
It can also perform regular checks on the health of your drive and predict when your hard drive might start to degrade. It supports all types of discs and can work without installation.
Hitachi engine fitness test
Hitachi’s Drive Fitness Test is a really fast and reliable way to test SCSI, SATA and IDE hard drives. The test performs a read test without overwriting data already on the disk. It does not support USB or Firewire drives.
Maxtor Power Max
Maxtor PowerMax is designed to perform diagnostic read / write functions on Maxtor and Quantum hard drives for integrity purposes only. This program is a bit outdated and should only be used as a last resort. The other disk diagnostic utilities mentioned above are much better.
These are just about every free tool I can think of for testing hard drives! If you know others, please leave a comment! Enjoy!