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6 free sites to check your hard drive

Your computer’s hard disk drive (HDD) works diligently at storing and protecting your data, including files, operating system, and software. Although rarely visible, unless it is an external drive, this workhorse is consistently performing its duties. That is until your computer starts crashing.

Maybe you have seen your PC blue-screen and reboot, or your system takes an unusual amount of time to open a folder. Possibly the hard drive is producing strange noises you have never heard before, or you have noticed files seem to be disappearing.

If any of these events have occurred with your computer, whether it be Windows or a MAC, these signs are indicative of a failing HDD. When your hard drive dies, which it will eventually, without a proper backup, your data can perish as well. To prevent this demise from happening, here are six free sites that will help detect issues with your hard drive.

Hard drive testing programs for a Windows operating system

PassMark DiskCheckup

Although Windows OS has tools such as Error Checking built-in, there are alternatives that may provide greater insight to your problems. For example, this HDD test that works for most hard drives using Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2008/2003. It’s easy to use with two types of self-tests: short (5 minutes) and long (up to 45 minutes), and can be configured to email you when specific events occur.

In addition, DiskCheckup can help predict HDD failure by tracking Self-Monitoring Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) attributes such as spin-up time, the number of start/stops, hours your system is powered on and the hard drive temperature. Unfortunately, DiskCheckup cannot scan SCSI or RAID devices and is not free for commercial use.

HD Tune

HD Tune works with several types of storage devices including internal, external hard drives, solid state drives, and memory cards. The program is easy to use and offers useful tests such as a benchmark read test, run & error scan.

As with DiskCheckup, HD Tune can help determine the health of your hard drive using (SMART). Although earlier versions of this tester only support Windows 7/XP/Vista and 2000, the latest edition, HD Tune Pro 5.70 works with Windows 10. Only personal and home use are permitted.

Macrorit Disk Scanner

Checking for bad sectors on your system’s hard drive is easy with Macrorit Disk Scanner. It is fully portable and does not require installation. This scanner works well on several operating systems including Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Home Server, and Windows Server 2012/2008/2003.

It also provides a visual depiction of the scan’s progress and indicates if HDD damage is detected. Features are limited in the free version which is for personal/home use. Macrorit Disk Scanner scans only one disk at a time and includes external links you may inadvertently click.

Hard drive testing programs for a Mac operating system

While there are plenty of HDD testing programs for Windows, options are available for Mac including the latest Mojave OS.

CleanMyMac X

Ideal for verifying and repairing the startup disk, CleanMyMac will scan, clean and optimize your system, by freeing up disk space. In addition, this software can remove outdated caches, incomplete downloads, and Mail/Photo/iTunes clutter. Although there is a free trial version, the full version requires purchase. It costs $34.95 for one Mac license.

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

If you work with high-quality videos, this app is for you. This easy-to-use test will quickly measure and certify your disk performance.

Upon initialization, Disk Speed Test will write test your drive using large blocks of data. It will continue to test writes and reads from your HDD allowing the user to evaluate performance and readability over time. Available in the Mac App Store, this test is free and works on OS X 10.10.10 or later.

IStat Menus 6

IStat Menus 6 is a system monitoring utility for the macOS menu bar. Notifications of events include CPU and GPU usage, memory, disks, battery, networks sensors and more. In addition, the app provides SMART status monitoring, detailed disk I/O and other read and write indicators. There is a free seven day trial with subscription required after.

Saving your files from a failing hard drive

If your HDD is failing and not salvageable, it is essential you backup all your files. Kim recommends IDrive. Tap or click here to see why having IDrive cloud backup services could prevent this issue ever happening again.

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