How To Test Your Hard Drive For Problems

The hard drive of your computer is of vital importance for the functioning of your system. This is due to the fact that the hard disk comprises all of your data, and is the place where your operating system and other programs are installed. Therefore, it is essential that you keep your hard drive healthy and free from errors. Discussed below are some good hard disk tools that you can use to test your hard drive for problems and repair them.

Hard Disk Diagnostic Utilities In Windows

In Windows, you can use many different methods to test your hard drive for problems and repair them. Some of the commonly used utilities in Windows XP are discussed below:

Error Checking Tool

The Error Checking tool helps you scan the hard disk for file system errors and bad sectors.

To use this feature, you need to close all files and programs that are currently in use on the selected volume. Otherwise, you can schedule the scan for the next time you start your computer. If you are checking an NTFS partition, all file transactions are logged, bad sectors are replaced, and copies of key information for all files are stored on the volume.

To run the scan, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click the hard disk volume you want to check and then select Properties.
  3. On the Tools tab of the disk properties dialog box, click the Check Now button in the Error-checking section.
  4. In the Check Disk dialog box, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start.


chkdsk is a popular hard disk utility that enables you to check and repair hard drive problems. You can run this command from Recovery Console­­- that can be opened by starting your computer with Windows XP setup CD/DVD.

Command Syntax

chkdsk [drive:] [/p] [/r]

  • Here, drive: represents the drive for which you are running the chkdsk command.
  • If you run the chkdsk without any parameters, the status of your disk will be displayed.
  • When you use /p a thorough check is run on your hard disk even if it is not marked to run the command. /p does not make any changes to the disk.
  • Using /r helps in locating bad sectors and recovering readable information from them.

Disk Cleanup

The Disk Cleanup utility helps you compress old files and get rid of unwanted data in the form of temporary Internet files and program setup files on the disk. You can launch this utility by navigating through Start > All Programs > Acessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.

Disk Defragmenter

Over time, the data stored on your hard disk gets cluttered and fragmented. This fragmented data increases the load on the hard disk and may even cause permanent damage to it. To prevent and repair disk defragmentation, you may regularly use the Disk Defragmenter tool to consolidate broken files. You can launch this utility by navigating through Start > All Programs > Acessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

Hard Disk Diagnostic Utilities By Manufacturer

One of the best ways to test your hard disk is to use a tool that has been developed by the hard disk manufacturer. You can download these tools from the web site of the hard disk manufacturer and run various tests on the disk to ensure that your disk is problem free.

You may also opt to use third-party free and paid hard disk diagnostics utilities, depending on your requirements.

In addition to these tools, you may also use a reliable registry cleaner tool, such as RegServe and antimalware tools, such as Spyware Cease and STOPzilla Antivirus to keep your PC free of registry and malware errors. This not only helps you reduce hard disk problems, but also enables you to maintain a high performance, error-free Windows computer.