A hard drive is the most integral part of storage system on the computer. All the computer information from Operating system to your personal files reside on hard drive.
Hence it is extremely rewarding to know how to run diagnostics on your hard drive and regularly check hard drive for its health.
As there are two types of hard drives that are majorly in use today: hard disk drives and solid state drives. While we primarily focus on HDD or traditional hard disk drive in the following write up, some ways presented blow to check hard disk health may also be applied for an SSD.
After applying the below methods to check hard drive health, follow the steps in the last section in case you need to recover files from hard drive before it fails for good.
If you have lost data on a hard drive that is predicted to fail or is malfunctioning, use Remo Recover: the advanced data recovery software. With an systematic approach Remo Recover carefully understands the bad sectors and recovers files form hard drive. This makes Remo data recovery software most suitable for failing hard drives.
4 free methods to check hard drive health
- Run CHKDSK in Windows 7/8/10 to check for hard disk health:
CHKDSK is a basic Windows hard drive diagnostic tool that checks the integrity of hard drive. It is also capable of repairing certain problems in the hard disk drive like bad sectors, file system errors, unfound clusters and file directory errors. As these issues occur only in a traditional hard disk drive that has moving parts it would not be beneficial to run it on an SSD. Here a tutorial on how to run CHKDSK on a hard drive:
- Once the computer has booted click on Windows button and in the search box type in cmd
- Right click on the best match suggestion that says command prompt and select Run as administrator
- In the command prompt window type in chkdsk C: command and hit enter, replace C with any other drive letter to scan corresponding volume
- After three stages of running scan on HDD the below report is shown
- If the final report is shown as seen below your hard drive is healthy
However if there is any reported error type in the command chkdsk C: /r to repair any file system errors or bad sectors. If this doesn’t solve the hard drive malfunction refer to recover files from hard drive section.
- Check hard drive health using WMIC command [S.M.A.R.T]
WMIC stands for Windows Management Instrumentation Command Line, it is a command interface that lets the operating system access and notify the information of and hard ware through S.M.A.R.T feature.
This self monitoring analysis and reporting technology (S.M.A.R.T) is a feature that enables hard drive to automatically monitor hard drive status, however with WMIC command we can know the status of hard disk drive alone.
Any additional information requires a third party application to be downloaded on the computer.
- Press on Windows button and type in cmd
- Right click on command prompt displayed as a suggestion and select Run as administrator
- In the command prompt window type in wmic as shown below and press enter
- Now type in the command diskdrive get status and press enter
- If the reported status is OK then the hard drive is healthy
If the reported status is Unknown, Caution or Bad refer to the last section on how to recover files from hard drive.
- Check hard drive health without booting into Windows
Every computer has a software program called BIOS or UEFI which enables the operating system to connect with the firmware of the computer. As the computer boots this software program initially loads followed by Windows.
BIOS /UEFI enable you to run diagnostics on the computer even before the computer boots. This diagnostics can be used if the computer is not booting into windows or the hard drive is inaccessible.
The procedure to run pre boot diagnostics on a hard drive varies depending on the manufacturer. Hence check with your manufacturer site to find and run preboot system diagnostics if you don’t find it below.Dell and Lenovo : Keep tapping F12 as soon as the computer is trying to boot until you see the boot menu and select Diagnostics form the screenHP: As the computer is trying to boot repeatedly tap on Esc button until you see the boot menu and hit F2 to begin diagnosticsRefer the last section on how to recover files from hard drive in case the computer is not booting up.
- HDD manufacturer application
All the manufacturers of hard drive develop applications to monitor minute details of hard disk drive including health. Hence you can download the application from the hard drive manufacturer’s website.Follow the below tutorial to know the installed hard drives manufacturer:
- Press Windows + R on keyboard
- Type msinfo32 run command and hit run to see the system information
- From the system information windows displayed expand the Components by hitting on “+”
- Find Storage and hit adjacent “+” to find Disks
- Click on Disks to find manufacturer and model of the disk drive
You can use the above information to find an application and check hard drive health
Recover files from hard drive or backup if the hard drive is fount not healthy or failing?
If all or one of the above ways to check hard drive health returns failure/ unknown / bad result, the primary goal is to savage as much data on the hard drive as possible.
- If the computer is booting up and the hard drive is being detected, you can and backup all your data onto an external hard drive.
- Once you have backed up all your data, check if any file system failure or bad sectors have caused any data loss
- If you have lost data, recover files from hard drive using data recovery software
- If you have an unbootable computer remove the hard disk and connect it to another computer to access and recover files from the hard drive
How to recover files from hard drive if it is found not healthy?
Loosing you precious data can be very disheartening. It might mean losing your favorite pictures, documents or any other important files.
Fortunately you can always get back lost data as long as the hard drive is being detected and left unused after data loss.
Six simple steps to recover files from hard drive
- Click on Download and install Remo Recover
- After launching the hard drive file recovery software, select Recover Files and click on Scan after choosing the drive that needs file recovery
- Now select the drive and select partition that needs data recovery on hard drive
- A scan of the hard drive takes place and the recovered files from the hard drive is listed
- Double click on each file to preview and test if the software could recover files from hard drive
- Mark the check box of the files you wish to recover and save them after getting a license key
Tony Landry is a Web Content Editor at Remo Software. He loves to write, edit, and manage content for users trying to troubleshoot and fix problems on Windows, Outlook, storage drives and Cloud storage networks.
He has published more than 200 articles in Remo Software blog. He actively engages in research and problem-solving techniques to consistently generate great web content. Fixing various hardware problems on computer and storage devices along with a great knack for fixing Outlook errors, Tony is also the fun-time IT guy for all his work friends. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys cycling.