For most desktop users, the hard drive is an integral part of the computer, where movies, series, music libraries, pictures and backup data are stored. However, do you know how healthy your hard drive is?
Apart from the cooling fan (pump) and possibly the optical drive, the hard drive is the only component that has removable elements. If you were to rank the components by importance, the hard drive and SSD would be at the top, because they store data – the most valuable parts of any computer.
However, as a mechanical component, hard drives are subject to wear and are not vibration resistant, which can cause them to fail and thus lose data. As SSDs slowly began to gain priority, hard drives were suppressed as secondary storage devices that still had a much more cost-effective value for money than SSDs.
Due to the lower speed, but the larger capacity, we mainly record data on hard drives that do not need to be loaded super fast – multimedia (movies, series), backups, installations, drivers and the like. What you need to keep in mind is that hard drives are much more sensitive than SSDs, but also that, like any electronics, hard drives shorten their lifespan as time goes on and you need to monitor their health to you know if your data is secure.
This is not a big problem for new computers, but if you have a computer that is several years old, it is not bad to pay attention to the health of your hard drive, so here are 4 ways to do it.
The Windows operating system comes with useful tools for keeping the system in top condition and solving a wide range of problems, and here is how they work.
WMIC is an acronym for Windows Management Instrumentation Command, a command line tool that gives you information about your system, including hard drive health.
Open the Start menu, type CMD to open the Command Prompt, right click select the СRun As Administrator option. In the new space type “wmic” and press Enter, after which you should get the message wmic: root \ cli> which means that you have activated the WMIC tool. Now just type diskdrivegetstatus and press Enter again.
The message you want to get is Status OK, everything else like “bad”, “unknown” or “caution” should be a concern and a sign that it is time to transfer data and replace the hard drive.
The other acronym for Check Disk does exactly what its name suggests, checks the condition of the disk and helps to eliminate any problems. CHKDSK is an advanced tool that checks disk sectors and marks those that do not work as bad before attempting to extract valuable data from them.
CHKDSK is available in almost all versions of the Windows operating system and because of its useful function this tool has remained on modern systems such as Windows 10 and 11.
To check the status of your computer’s hard drive, open Command Prompt as in the previous case, type the command Chkdsk / f and press Enter. Check Disk checks the status of the disk you are currently on Command Prompt: if you are on C: \ Users \ USERNAME> and type the command, Check disk will check the condition of disk C, but if you switch to another partition with the command D: and then type Chkdsk / f the check will be performed on the disk where the partition D is located
If it is a system drive, you will get a message that it is not possible to check because the disk is used and you will be asked if you want to do this the next time the system is reset with the command Y or N if you do not want to.
3. Tool from the disc manufacturer
Hard disk drive manufacturers have useful free tools that you can use to check the status of your drives. Whether you have a Western Digital, Samsung or Seagate hard drive, you should go to the manufacturer’s website and find a tool to check the status of the drive.
If you’re not sure which hard drive you have and you do not want to open the case and untangle the cables to see it, there is an easier way to find out. Open the Start menu, enter “device manager” and open the mentioned application.
In the new window, look for the section called Disk drives and click on the arrow in front of the name. Copy the disk name into a Google search and you will find your disk, and then you can find the appropriate tool on the manufacturer’s website.
4. External programs
Without much investment in which external disk check and maintenance programs are good, as there are hundreds, we will mention just a few. They are an ideal solution when you “hit the wall” with the possibilities of built-in tools, and you need something more.
Some of the better free tools are HDDScan and Hard Disk Sentinel.
HDDScan checks the status of the disk and possible problems with monitoring SMART computer values and disk temperature. It is equipped with tools that enable advanced health checks, as well as a simple interface that is simple enough for most users.
The application does not require installation and it is enough to unzip the zip file and launch the exe file. From the options you have information about the health of the drive, various tests of reading and writing data with the option of secure data erasure, as well as tools for checking the status of important parameters.
Hard Disk Sentinel is available in free and paid versions, and there is an option to try the full version for a period of time to see if you need it.
As an HDDS scanner, Sentinel reads the SMART values of your hard drive: temperature, rotation speed, data retrieval errors, data reading. Hard Disk Sentinel also offers data transfer speed information, which you can use as a performance measurement test.
Monitor the health of your drive until it’s too late
While this may seem complicated to the average user, tracking the health of your drive or disks allows you to prevent sudden data loss. Of course, there are other factors that affect the operation of the computer, and other components that can also cause a problem, but it is good to know which component works well.
The thing to keep in mind is that there is no safer thing about backup data security – so make a backup, and once a month remember to transfer important data to an external drive or cloud, so you do not regret it later.