Please Help: How to check if HDD inside Windows 10 PC is damaged?

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  1.    #1

    Please Help: How to check if HDD inside Windows 10 PC is damaged?

    I really need help here!

    My problem:

    I've been using this hard drive that Windows 10 runs on for about 4 years now and I just want to check if the HDD is healthy.

    I'm just VERY worried that this hard drive has physical problems and is about to die.

    How can I check if this hard drive has physical problems?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,944
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    The best tool in my opinion to get a comprehensive report on your disk health is Speedfan (now v4.52) direct download from

    Download SpeedFan - Access temperature sensor in your computer

    main site Download SpeedFan - Access temperature sensor in your computer

    Free to download and use, once installed, it runs as a service from the notification area of the taskbar, measuring chip temperatures from various sensors on your system.

    Click on the icon there (it may appear as a fan, or a system temperature in blue), and the UI will popup:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Once you have run the S.M.A.R.T. test for your selected hard disk from the tabbed interface, which gives a list of the SMART disk parameters observed, there is a button to perform an in-depth analysis, which gives you a report of the state of your disk in your default browser, in plain English, with recommendations based on the findings:

    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3. Posts : 26,439
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit

    Sea tools for Windows is software made by Seagate that can be used on any drive and will perform SMART, short, and long generic tests.
    How to use SeaTools for Windows
    HD Sentinel will perform SMART tests providing images and data
    Hard Disk Sentinel - HDD health and temperature monitoring
    Crystal Disk will perform SMART tests providing images and data
    CrystalDiskInfo - Software - Crystal Dew World
    14 Free Hard Drive Testing Tools (June 2017)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    #4

    I forgot to say I'm running Windows 10 Pro.

    I've got HD Tune 2.55 (free version) installed and I'm about to do an "Error scan" now.

    Will the "Error scan" that HD Tune runs tell me if my HDD is fine?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    #5

    The error scan is running, but I'm just not sure if I'm doing the right thing or not???

    This is what my PC is displaying now: hd tune error scan —
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    #6

    +1 for Seatools. Have you run a full scan with CHKDSK?
    Last edited by Steve C; 13 Jun 2017 at 01:13.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7.    #7

    This may sound low-tech, but ...
    If you're fearful that the drive will soon fail, how about just buy a new drive?

    They're so cheap anymore. I added a SECOND 2 tb drive to my new desktop for around $70. Cheap!

    Buy it. Install it. Copy everything from the old drive before it croaks. Done.

    And disassemble the old drive to get a nice shiny platter (it makes a nice coaster, or a make-up mirror for the misses) and some killer magnets.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    #8

    NiceAndShy said: View Post
    The error scan is running, but I'm just not sure if I'm doing the right thing or not???

    This is what my PC is displaying now: hd tune error scan —
    Other than being 4 years old, you didn't say why you're worried about the HDD (e.g., file/data errors, whining or clicking noises, etc), but probably the previously mentioned S.M.A.R.T. info is probably the most important thing to check.

    The version of HD Tune (v2.55) in your screenshot is fairly limited but if I recall correctly, it has basic S.M.A.R.T. info on the Health tab, which can't be seen in your screenshot. (I've used v2.55 a few times years ago, but didn't re-install it now to check).

    The Error tab in your screenshot has to do with bad blocks found on the drive, and it appears none were found in the portion of the HDD checked so far. If there were, those can often be marked by Chkdsk (see below) so they will no longer be used. If numerous bad blocks are found, and especially if new ones keep occurring after previous ones have been blocked from usage, the drive probably should be replaced. FYI, HD Tune provides a 15-day free trial of their current Pro version 5.60, which is much more sophisticated and definitely includes S.M.A.R.T. info, probably with more detail and usefulness than the free v2.55.

    But several other good free products can do what you need and have already been mentioned above. I have personally used Speed Fan (the first option suggested above by Fafhrd) for years. SeaTools suggested by above by zbook should also do the job, and the 14 Free Hard Drive Testing Programs describes several more in sufficient detail to help you learn a lot more about this whole area. (There are also links to individual in-depth reviews of several HDD testing programs listed at the bottom of that page, with descriptions and pros & cons for each.) HDDScan is one of the programs reviewed there, and I recall being favorably impressed when I tried it out last time I needed to check an HDD a couple years ago (seems like a freeware alternative to HD Tune).

    For a simple view of S.M.A.R.T. info on your HDD (and a thorough description of nearly all aspects of your system), Piriform Speccy is a good alternative. Watch for adware/other offers during installation of the installer version, but the Portable version found on the Builds page has the advantage of no being fully portable and having no included adware. Here's an example of the relevant S.M.A.R.T. attributes portion of the Storage section of the Speccy results for the HDD in the Win7Pro laptop I'm working on right now:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Not all S.M.A.R.T. attributes are equally crucial and the acceptable parameters for each are a judgment call for many attributes (see S.M.A.R.T. info discussion here), but it is obviously reassuring if all attributes are rated 'Good' as seen here. :)

    If you suspect any file system errors, run Chkdsk from a command window (requires a reboot if the drive is your Windows system drive). Check online for how to do this (and for Chkdsk command line switch options) if you're not already familiar with how to do this (the first Google listing in my search looks like a good place to start). BTW, Windows will sometimes schedule itself to run Chkdsk at reboot if it finds file system errors during usage (doesn't happen very often in my experience). If you watch during reboot, you'll see Chkdsk running before Windows loads, and a brief summary report of findings and repairs will appear on screen (one of the command line switches can be configured to save a copy of the report in a text file).
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Posts : 1,287
    Windows 10

    All my recent HDDs have failed in some random way with the electronics or mechanics. No indication of impending failure by SMART data, or by doing the occasional surface scanning.

    Essentially it's a random failure, so you have to have a backup.

    I reckon about 5 years for a typical HDD but some have failed before that.

    After 4 years I would seriously just buy a new one and install it when you have to re-install Windows for any reason.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    #10

    Helmut said: View Post
    All my recent HDDs have failed in some random way with the electronics or mechanics. No indication of impending failure by SMART data, or by doing the occasional surface scanning.

    Essentially it's a random failure, so you have to have a backup.
    That's a good point: there are not always clues/symptoms of impending HDD failure, especially if it's due an electronic component failure on the drive controller board. But if you have a well-maintained backup or imaging procedure, you can continue relatively safely with an older, non-symptomatic drive, even a much older drive than yours. (I meant to include in my previous post the suggestion to FIRST do a complete backup or image as soon as feasible while your existing HDD is still working, if you don't already have a current one.) On the other hand, unexpected failure can also (rarely) occur on an otherwise asymptomatic newer drive, so a regularly maintained backup and/or imaging plan is really always your best bet even with newer drives.

    If your existing drive tests out OK with some of the mentioned test programs, and if you maintain a good backing/imaging plan, you can probably continue as is, and just re-check the drive every 3-6 months.

    But even if your existing drive tests out as OK and you have a good backup system, if you can easily afford a replacement drive, a couple of other factors to consider are the peace of mind of a new drive and the convenience of making the swap on your own preferred time schedule rather than waiting for (and worrying about) a failure and forced swap (possibly with unexpected complications) at an inconvenient time. (As an examples of unexpected complications, consider unexpected incompatibilities or settings for new drive, unexpected failure of backup/imaging system to successfully transfer existing system/data to new drive, etc. Most such complications are much easier to deal with if you attempt to make the swap before your existing HDD fails, so the existing HDD can still be used if necessary while trying to sort out the complications. In fact, even if you already maintain a good backup/imaging procedure, if you have never actually restored your system/files from your backup/image, one of the best things you can do is a test restore to another HDD just to be sure the backup/image is sound, and the restore process works as expected.)

    Finally, if the testing procedures and suggestions mentioned above don't resolve things and you have any symptomatic reasons for concern about the HDD besides simply its age (e.g., noises, erratic file problems, etc.), please include those in your next post
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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