Best Ways to Check Hard Drive Health on Windows, Your hard drive is the soul of your PC and the place where all your most important data is stored. While most PC components can be replaced, the invaluable data on your hard drive can’t if you haven’t created a backup. For this reason, ensuring your hard drive stays healthy is crucial (anyone gets the dull hard drive-related pun?).
There are various ways to check on your hard drive health – from built-in methods in Windows to your HDD manufacturer’s diagnostic tools, and we’re going to talk you through the best methods.
1. Use The HDD Manufacturer’s Tools to Check Hard Drive Health on Windows
Most major hard drive manufacturers provide free robust tools to monitor your hard drive health and performance. The first step to knowing which one to use is, of course, knowing the make of your hard drive.
If you know the make of your hard drive, you can skip this part. If you don’t, press the Win key, type “device manager” and click it when it appears in the search results.
In Device Manager unstack the “Disk drives” option and make a note of the model number of your hard drive. Next, type the model number into Google to bring up results that will show you the make of the hard drive.
After that, go to the manufacturer’s support page and search for their hard drive utility. To help you out, here are links to the relevant download pages of some of the biggest hard drive brands:
Each of these tools functions a little differently, but most importantly, each one has diagnostic features that let you test your hard drive health.
2. Windows CHKDSK Tool to Check Hard Drive Health on Windows
Windows CHKDSK Tool is a built-in Windows tool that will scan your disk to find system errors and bad sectors and show if there are any problems with your hard disk. It will both scan and fix problems it can fix and will let you know if there is a bigger problem that it can’t fix. You can use this tool to both check hard disk health and fix bad sectors and errors if possible.
To use CHKDSK, right-click on the drive which you would like to check for errors, and select “Properties.” Then click on the “Tools” tab, and then click on the “Check now” button.
A dialogue will open up with two options to fix errors and scan for bad sectors. You can select these options if you want to fix errors and bad sectors; otherwise, you can just click on “Start” to get a basic report of hard disk problems (if there are any).
This tool is very basic and focuses on finding system errors and bad sectors. It will just let you know if there are any big problems and nothing more, so only use it as a basic hard disk checking and fixing tool.
3. Use WMIC Check Hard Drive Health on Windows
WMIC is a command-line interface that lets you perform many administrative tasks, including checking hard disk health. It uses the S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) feature of hard disks to see the status and provide a simple conclusion, like “OK” or “Pred Fail,” etc. It is still a very basic command that offers very little information, but it is quick and a built-in feature of Windows.
To Check Hard Drive Health on Windows with WMIC, press the Win + R buttons to open the Run dialogue. Type
cmd and click “OK” to open the Windows command prompt.
and hit Enter. When the WMI interface is ready, type
and press Enter again. You will see the status of your hard disk after a short delay.
4. Use a Third-Party Hard Disk Health Checking Tool
You can also use a third-party hard disk health checking tool that will offer much more information than just good or bad status. These tools use the same “S.M.A.R.T” feature of hard disks to fetch data, just like WMIC. However, they provide all the details to you, instead of just showing good or bad status.
For this purpose, CrystalDiskInfo is a really simple, yet powerful, tool. It is a free-to-use tool that is extremely light and offers all the required information, such as temperature, health status, hard disk type and features, and other attributes like reading/write error rate and spin-up time, etc.
The standard tool comes as a 4 MB .exe file, and its installer contains ads, so make sure you use the “Custom Installer” option and uncheck the side tool (ad). Once installed, all you need to do is launch the program, and you will see all the information about your hard disk(s) in the main interface. The tool will also check the hard disk health after every 10 minutes (by default) and alert you if there is anything wrong.
There are also other third-party hard disk health-checking tools like Hard Disk Sentinel and HDDScan. These are much more advanced with loads of extra features, but for an average user, CrystalDiskInfo should work perfectly.
Hard Disk Sentinel
Hard Disk Sentinel (HDSentinel) is a multi-OS SSD and HDD monitoring and analysis software. Its goal is to find, test, diagnose and repair hard disk drive problems, report and display SSD and HDD health, performance degradations and failures. Hard Disk Sentinel gives a complete textual description, tips and displays/reports the most comprehensive information about the hard disks and solid-state disks inside the computer and in external enclosures (USB hard disks / e-SATA hard disks). Many different alerts and report options are available to ensure maximum safety of your valuable data.
No need to use separate tools to verify internal hard disks, external hard disks, SSDs, hybrid disk drives (SSHD), disks in RAID arrays and Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives as these are all included in a single software. In addition, Hard Disk Sentinel Pro detects and displays status and S.M.A.R.T. information about LTO tape drives and appropriate industrial (micro) SD cards and eMMC devices too.
Hard Disk Sentinel monitors hard disk drive / HDD status including health, temperature and all S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) values for all hard disks. Also, it measures the disk transfer speed in real-time which can be used as a benchmark or to detect possible hard disk failures, performance degradations.
Hard disk problems
Generally, the Hard Disk Cases pages describe very common situations (bad sectors, weak sectors, communication problems, spin up problems, etc.), how to fix issues by Hard Disk Sentinel – and avoid, improve the situation in general.
When new problems found with the hard disk drive, the health value starts to decrease and the graph on the bottom shows how it changes with time (shows the lowest health measured for all days since Hard Disk Sentinel first recognised the hard disk/SSD). If the health drops below a certain limit (can be adjusted in Configuration -> Thresholds/tray icon page), the tray icon starts blinking, giving a visual alert for the problem.
Hard disk tests, verify, reveal and fix problems
From the Disk menu, it is possible to adjust hard-disk specific features and perform a different kind of hard disk tests.
Note that most tests are available only in the registered version of Hard Disk Sentinel Professional version only.
How does Hard Disk Sentinel work?
Hard Disk Sentinel runs in the background and verifies SSD / HDD health status by inspecting the SMART status of the disk(s). If an error is found or unexpected behaviour is detected, it warns the user about the current situation and also can perform appropriate actions (for example, start an automatic backup).
Usually, hard disk health status may slowly decline, from day today. The SMART monitoring technology can predict HDD failure by examining the critical values of the disk drive. Compared to other software, Hard Disk Sentinel detects and reports every disk problem. It is much more sensitive to disk failures and can display better and more detailed information about hard disk expected life and the problems found (if any). This is a more sophisticated way to predict failures than the “traditional” method: checking S.M.A.R.T. attribute thresholds and values only. For more information, please read how hard disk S.M.A.R.T. works and why Hard Disk Sentinel is different.
The software displays the current hard disk temperature and logs maximum and average HDD temperatures. This may be used to check the maximum temperature under high hard disk load. For the importance of the hard disk operating temperature, see the Frequently Asked Questions. See the list of Features of Hard Disk Sentinel Professional or our products for hard disk monitoring.
Do I need Hard Disk Sentinel?
If you are using a computer equipped with at least one hard disk or solid-state disk and you want to ensure that your data will be available any time, then the answer is YES. Hard Disk Sentinel is specially designed to
- if you are using multiple hard disks / SSDs / hybrid drives (SSHD) in your computer (IDE / Serial ATA (S-ATA, e-SATA) / NVMe / SCSI / SAS / USB hard disks) or in an external enclosure (check the hardware compatibility pages for the list of compatible hardware)
- you are using a mobile / removable rack or enclosure with hard disk inside
- if you are using a notebook computer
- Are using server or desktop computers with high disk load
- you want to maximize system stability, HDD performance and overall integrity, receive HDD alert on high temperature or low health
- you do not want to lose your sensitive and valuable data, do not want to pay for HDD recovery
It is much better to avoid HDD failure than use HDD recovery. Be alerted and prevent HDD data loss with HDSentinel! Be your HDD life healthy.
You can use the above-mentioned tools to check hard disk health in your Windows PC. If you don’t need extra details, then the Windows built-in tools should work great. Otherwise, it is recommended to download a third-party hard disk health checking tool.
CREDIT: maketecheasier & hdsentinel
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