All modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. technology that provides real-time hard Drive analysis, including the ability to report on developing problems and potential issues.
The big question is: can you read the warnings S.M.A.R.T. technology provides? If you understand what – Reallocated sector count – Value 200, Threshold 140, Raw Value 0, means – you’ll have no need for either of the following free tools. But, if all that’s gobbledygook to you – you’ll find these tools a great addition to your utilities toolbox.
Your Hard Drive is the workhorse of your computer, and either on of these free tools can make it easier than ever, to diagnose what’s really happening inside it’s complex environment.
PassMark Software, whose applications including BurnInTest 6.0 and PerformanceTest 7.0 , we’ve recommended here previously, offers a well laid out, free hard drive application, that’s worth considering.
DiskCheckup, utilizing S.M.A.R.T technology, will allow you to monitor the SMART attributes of your hard drive. Best of all, if the application detects a potential problem, you’ll get advanced warning through either a standard “warning window”, or (now this is cool), an email message.
Bonus: DiskCheckup can track changes to S.M.A.R.T attributes over time, and make a extrapolated ‘prediction’ as to the failure date of the HDD.
Setup, and application configuration are novice user simple, and the GUI presents an uncomplicated environment.
Everything you might want to know about your HDD – including drive geometry, serial number, model number, media rotation rate, and a broad list of supported features. Click on graphic to expand.
The configuration window offers very few, but nevertheless, important choices.
DiskCheckup provides a wealth of information on S.M.A.R.T attributes. Click on graphic to expand.
If you’re not familiar with interpreting the data generated by the application – you can relax. The application includes a well laid out help file.
System requirements: Windows XP, 2003 Server, 2008 Server, Vista and Windows 7.
Download at: PassMark Software
DiskCheckup is free for personal use. Company licenses can be purchased for $15 USD per license.
HD Tune is no slouch when it comes to analyzing S.M.A.R.T. information from your Hard Drive. The gathered information, which includes data on the Hard Drive’s attributes as well as the Hard Drive’s health, is presented in an easy to understand format.
HD Tune’s additional functionality includes the ability to scan for errors, and a Benchmarking utility which you can use to give your Hard Drive a workout, and then analyze the results.
Drive information screen. Click on graphic to expand.
The HD Tune Health screen provides a no nonsense assessment of your HD’s S.M.A.R.T attributes. There’s nothing ambiguous here – it’s either OK, or not. Click on graphic to expand.
If you’ve ever wondered just how well your hard drive performs, then you’ll appreciate the Benchmark test included in HD Tune. Here’s an example of a test I ran for this review. Click on graphic to expand.
Checking your HD for errors is quick and painless. Click on graphic to expand.
The available settings are minimal – as they should be. Click on graphic to expand.
System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7.
Download at: HD Tune – (scroll down for the free version).
HD Tune is free for personal use only.
Note: Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.
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