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I'm having hardware troubles, with BSODs and whatnot. I've tested my RAM using Memtest86+, and I'm looking for something similar to check my hard disks.

My DVD-drive isn't very reliable, and I never paid much attention to it, so I'd need software that's either able to run from a USB stick, or as a Windows program straight up.

Must haves

  • Able to check my Crucial M4 SSD and Western Digital HDD.
  • Either runnable from USB stick or as a straight up Windows 8 compatible program.
  • Simple to use, i.e. a simple "Run all tests" button will do fine (analogous to Memtest86+).
  • Gratis.
  • One-time use software (i.e. I don't need "monitoring" software that auto-updates, etc).
  • Some level of certainty that the tests are broad (i.e. tests for a wide range of problems).

Nice to haves

  • Able to check any kind of SATA3 disk, both SSD and plain old HDDs.
  • Open source and/or great reputation.
  • Noob-friendly to download/start.
  • Hardware-noob-friendly feedback. I'm tech-savvy, but not a hardware guy.

I've tried using the Windows 8 built in tool for checking the HDD (right click the drive, select properties, Tools tab, Error checking), but it was done very quickly and gave no feedback other than "all is well".

So, what would you recommend? Is there a "Memtest for HDDs" out there?

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3 Answers 3

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You can use HD Tune Pro

  • has a trial version so it is gratis as a one-time use software
  • able to check my Crucial M4 SSD and Western Digital HDD. (first-hand experience since I have both)
  • simple to use
  • I've been using it for years, always happy with it

Error scan (quick and slow scan):

enter image description here

Health:

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Speed map:

enter image description here

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  • 1
    +1, thanks for your suggestion. The app worked as expected, even though it did not find my issue (for which I can't fault it). However, I can't quite accept the answer, as the free trial doesn't equal gratis: if I have HDD trouble again in -say- two months from now I can't use this tool again as the trial will have expired. Thanks though!
    – Jeroen
    May 9, 2014 at 6:06
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You can use Ariolic Disk Scanner (mirror):

  • gratis

  • portable

  • lightweight (1 MB)

  • has error scan (only slow scan: no quick scan available):

    enter image description here

    enter image description here

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    I have used this tool, and found it to be a good one. The only downsides I found are not with the actual application, but with how Ariolic has made it available: to my knowledge, the only way they make it available is to download the executable via CNET's "Download.com". It doesn't appear to be open-source (maybe I'm mistaken, or that will change in the future), so there is no way to compile it yourself. I can recommend it to people for whom the lack of source code and the requirement of downloading it from CNET aren't problems. Apr 28 at 7:06
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    @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket mirror outside CNET Apr 29 at 4:35
  • Thanks Franck. I'm trying to better understand the Wayback Machine link you provided. Is the file on that page simply one you uploaded? May 1 at 9:40
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket yes May 1 at 9:42
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I use victoria from http://hdd.by

Unfortunately its russian, and even if you want it you need google translate to figure out how to download it.

However, the upside is it shows you block by block how many millisecond each block takes to read. There are 4 or 5 categories, and the software will let you see the same SMART data as even one else.

So if you monitor the drive as it scans, you will see how many slow/weak sectors exist. The more you have the closer you are to by a new hard drive. The sectors often take longer as the drive has to do ECC error correction.

The default timeout is 10,000 or 10 seconds and I usually downgrade that to 2000 because 10 seconds is way to LONG to read a single block. Even 2 seconds is being generous.

On a brand new drive ALL your sectors should be in the 1st or 2nd category.

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