Knowing your health of hard disk is much needed in order to maximize the speed of process in the system
What is Hard Drive?
A hard disk drive, hard disk, hard drive or fixed disk is a data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information using one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks coated with magnetic material.
Your PC’s hard disk holds all your important data, and any damage to it can put your data at risk as well. Unfortunately, a hard disk has a limited lifespan, and sooner or later it will get corrupted/damaged. So depending on it for all your precious data isn’t really a good option.
You need to make sure all your important data is backed up before anything happens to your hard disk. For this purpose, you need to keep a tab on your hard disk health, so you can back up all your data if you suspect a faulty hard disk. In this post we will show you different methods to check hard disk health and get the required information.
A smart approach
The most important technology used in checking a hard drive is ‘SMART.’ (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). Almost all modern hard drives now support SMART analysis tools in order to check the physical condition of the media. According to a study conducted by Google several years ago, two out of three hard drive crashes can be predicted using such an analysis. SMART tools include 10 critical indications that can be interrogated and when this failure is indicated, it can be flagged as a “Possible Indicator for an Impending Electromechanical Failure”. In addition, SMART tools cover about 30 other attributes, which can be queried and serve as indicators to predict any impending failures. This will help you in deciding whether or not your hardware needs to be replaced to avoid potential data loss.
One of these possible attributes is the SSD indicator “SSD Life Left”. It shows the approximate SSD remaining lifetime with respect to program/erase cycles or flash blocks that are currently available. This can come in very handy to monitor the health of your Solid State Drives.
1. Windows CHKDSK Tool
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.” Now click on the “Tools” tab, and then click on the “Check now” button.
A dialog 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.
2. Use WMIC
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 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 a hard disk with WMIC, press the “Windows + R” button to open the Run dialog. Now, type
cmd and click on “OK” to open the Windows Command Prompt.
and hit Enter. When the WMI interface is ready, type
diskdrive get status
and press Enter again. You will see the status of your hard disk after a short delay.
3. 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 read/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 min (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 anew HDDScan. These are much more advanced with loads of extra features, but for an average user CrystalDiskInfo should work perfectly.