Check, Maintain, and Clean Your Hard Drive With Free Tools

Hard Drive DiagThere’s no question that Hard Drives fail – I’ve had to deal with three failures, personally, in the past two years.

Fortunately, today’s Hard Drives rarely fail without a warning of failure given well in advance. All modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. that provides real-time analysis and the reporting of any developing problems and potential issues. The big question is: can you read the warnings?

The following free applications take the guesswork out of the equation, and they make it easier than ever to diagnose what’s really occurring inside the complex environment of the Hard Drive.

Active Hard Disk Monitor

Active Hard Disk Monitor is a freeware disk utility that checks and monitors the status of your hard drives to help prevent data loss. The system is based on the Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T).

The application can be launched automatically at Windows startup and monitor the system in the background. An icon in the System Tray can display the temperature for selected HDD(s).


Fast facts:

Hard Disk performance monitoring and control

Based on Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (or S.M.A.R.T.)

Able to scan and display bad sectors on a disk’s surface.

Displays current S.M.A.R.T. attributes

Can be launched automatically at Windows startup and monitor the HDD(s) in the background

Includes System Tray icon temperature status

Can generate event log and S.M.A.R.T reports

Download at:

Ariolic Disk Scanner

Disk Scanner is a tiny freeware utility to check the hard drive for read errors. Sometimes, you may notice, that some files on the disk cannot be read. This may happen for several reasons, but the most important one is the hard drive degradation, that may be the first typical sign of the disk failure.


Fast facts:

Read-only test of hard drive volumes for read errors

Scan hard disk, flash drives, USB hard drives, CD/DVD, floppy

Disk Scanner does not require a setup – it’s portable. Run it directly from CD or a Flash drive

See the check result at a glance

Works with hard drives, flash disks, CD, floppy

Simple user interface

Download at: Ariolic Software

Don’t forget, Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.

Western Digital Support



Please note that since Seagate purchased Maxtor, the download sites are identical.


Hard Drive Maintenance: Repair, Defrag and Disk Cleanup Tools

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

Hard Disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can degrade performance over time, and can lead to system slowdowns, computer crashes, slow startups and shutdowns.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program (updated December, 2009), is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free.

In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.


Fast facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in minutes

Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Download at:


Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner (updated January, 2010), can optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.


Fast facts:

Frees up valuable hard disk space

Advanced features to remove unused and old entries

Comprehensive backup feature

System tray icon

Privacy tool

Download at:

Disk Heal

Disk Heal 1.48 (updated August, 2009), is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive.

This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

disk heal

Fast facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

Download at:

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Diagnostic Software, Disk Cleaners, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Problems, Hard Drive Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

26 responses to “Check, Maintain, and Clean Your Hard Drive With Free Tools

  1. abhijit

    CCleaner and advance system care are my fav…….ab=nd paragon harddisk manager ….is complete utility …but not free …thanks bill gonna try them………

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Abhijit,

      Yes I quite like ASC as well. BTW, take a look at *Giveaway of the Day Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2009 Special Edition.

      Today only.

      Bill *

  2. Murphy

    Good , useful and … yes ….free tools 🙂
    Best regards !

  3. kingpin

    Hi Bill,
    I would like to know how Glary’s utility pro does well as disk clean-up,since it can remove spywares compared against CCleaner.Please also suggest about this new Anvir Task Manager.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Kingpin,

      Take a look at Anvir Task Manager Portable and Freehere on this site by guest writer Rick Robinette – great application.

      I’ve been recommending Glary Utilities for years – an absolute must have application. I wouldn’t count on it though for malware removal. CCleaner has an excellent reputation for good reason – it’s a very safe application for “average” users. Keep in mind 90% of users fall into this category.


  4. Hi Bill,

    I use Auslogics Disk Defrag, CCleaner and Glary Utilities. I haven’t had a single problem with any of them. You recommended every one of them and I must say they’re all extremely easy to use.

    Thanks Bill

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Paul,

      Like most users, I’m into easy. Software developers have finally realized, users don’t care how the technology works – just that it does. And with the smallest learning curve possible (if any). For years, we’ve heard about “intuitive interfaces”, which in reality, didn’t really exist. At last, we’re beginning to see truly intuitive interfaces. Developers who have focused on this aspect of software design, have seen their sales/downloads soar.

      Thanks for visiting.


  5. That”s right.
    CCleaner & Auslogics Disc Defrag-it”s very helpful programs.
    Auslogics-Bill i have right:”In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware”.
    Full agreement Bill 🙂
    Glary Utilities PRO (Giveaway of the Day promotion) it”s ok.
    At present take Paragon Hard Drive Disk Manager 2009 SE-Giveaway…
    And now…installation 🙂

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Robert,

      Thanks for that. Glad to see you got Paragon Hard Drive Disk Manager 2009 – pretty good application.


  6. Liam O' Moulain

    Hi Bill,

    I’ll give Disk Heal a try. Looks like it could be pretty handy.

    Thanks for this.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Liam,

      It is a handy little program, used in the right circumstances.

      Thanks for dropping by.


  7. RoseD1st

    Excellent info *thanks Bill! 🙂

  8. Mal

    I’ve been using CCleaner for years, wouldn’t be without it. Would be nice if they put in a scheduler in a future release, but oh well, it is free, can’t ask for anything.

    As for the previous poster asking about Anvir Task Manager, I’ve been using this for the last three months, and I love it. Lots of bells and whistles, but the bit I like the most is the ability to directly upload, from the task manager, suspicious files to Virus Total.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Mal,

      Now there’s the best idea I’ve heard all day – a scheduler in CCleaner!

      Like you, I’m very impressed with Anvir Task Manager and for the same reason. Saves a lot of aggravation.


  9. Ranjan

    Hi all,
    I must say, all are quite good utilities.. And the word ‘FREEWARE’ makes them even more better… 😉
    Well, CCleaner is also a very good app but I’ll remain glued with TuneUp Utilities since it has got everything packaged in a bundle and i’m using it since my pc was bought..
    And nevertheless, Anvir Task Manager is also an awesome app with features such as direct upload to virustotal, ability to quarantine a program from auto-start and much more. . . I’m using it too..

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Ranjan,

      Very interesting – I use both TunUp Utilities (fantastic program). and Anvir Task Manager (just used it last night, in fact).


  10. Ranjan

    Then you’d have must been amazed by this combo of TuneUp and Anvir…. Isn’t it..? 😉

  11. Achugh

    Hi Bill,

    I have been using CCleaner for sometime and it works fine without any hassle. Along with this, I use Defraggler from the same company, Piriform. Both are just wonderful products… have you tried Defraggler?


  12. Achugh

    Hi Bill,

    Back with one more comment – Active Hard Disk Monitor is also a wonderful tool – just tried it out. Even though it is a freeware but has much more potential…I like the features and specifically its SMART analysis. Thank You for wonderful information. I am going to implement this in all my systems.


  13. Hi Bill – thanks for the shout-out! This is a great list of freeware you’ve compiled. I’m curious to know how much of your PCs resources are used to keep Active Hard Disk Monitor running in the background.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey TuneUp,

      I don’t active run this application except during my normal 30 day test period, but I didn’t notice any abnormal resource usage. BTW, I run the paid version of TuneUp Utilities so this issue, and many more, are looked after by this terrific application.

      Thanks for visiting.


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