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HDD Test and Diagnostic Software for Windows. Bad Sectors Fixing Tools
Written by: Ilia
Data recovery specialist, guest author, journalist.
Most veteran hard disks have errors, including so-called bad blocks. Some of them may cause sad things happening to your hard disk, and it’s only a matter of time.
Windows OS offers tools which test your hard disk for errors, and chkdsk mentioned here, is one of them. However, they are not designed for diagnostic and testing, so we want to introduce some other, more effective software to correct errors on a hard disk.
- HDD Regenerator – hard disk testing and bad sectors repairing software
- Hitachi Drive Fitness Test (WinDFT) – testing software for Hitachi hard drives
- Seagate SeaTools for Windows: hard drive performance test
- HDD Health: checks disks and reads SMART attributes
- HDDScan – testing hard drive for corrupted partitions
- CHKDSK – Windows utility for fixing errors and bad blocks
HDD Regenerator – hard disk testing and bad sectors repairing software
HDD Regenerator is a professional software for hard disk diagnostic, scanning for and repairing errors. The word “regenerator” gives you a hint to this program being able not only to find errors, problems and bad blocks but also to fix them. In other words, you can use it as a hard disk bad sector repair tool.
HDD Regenerator can be used as an adequate tool for corrupted data recovery. If some data can’t be read (or hard disk detected but not showing in my computer), Regenerator will help to get round bad blocks / clusters and read problem files.
To check HDD health there is a particular test. S.M.A.R.T data helps get additional information. HDD Regenerator includes the range of tools needed for that.
Other features of the hard drive regenerator:
- Supports FAT and NTFS file systems, yet during the test a filesystem doesn’t make any different
- Detailed statistics on the hard drive performance and health
- Creation of a bootable regenerating flash or CD/DVD as part of HDD Regenerator
- Prescan mode: quick scan of disk surface
- HDD monitoring in the real-time mode
- Data security: the program works in the read-only mode (except for bad blocks rewriting)
The PRO version of HDD Regenerator costs $79.99 a year. A free demo version allows recovering one bad sector for free.
Hitachi Drive Fitness Test (WinDFT) – testing software for Hitachi hard drives
Hitachi Drive Fitness Test is used to perform hard drive diagnostic and troubleshooting. This utility allows testing internal and external hard drives with the support of G-Technology.
- To perform the diagnostics you can select either Quick Test or Extended Test.
- You will see Pass or Fail status next to every test in TestLog.
- Reading of SMART attributes.
- Bootable CD image creation option. If you can’t boot from your hard drive, WinDFT can be started in LiveCD mode.
- Hitachi Drive Fitness Test performs testing without overwriting data on the disk.
Download Hitachi Drive Fitness Test
Seagate SeaTools for Windows: hard drive performance test
SeaTools from Seagate is a free HDD diagnostic, error repair tool and performance tester for Windows and DOS.
This utility enables you to detect some problems on HDD before turning to the repair service centre (in our reality you are likely to be offered a new disk to replace the once which doesn’t work, which means losing your data stored on it).
Note. This software is compatible not with all HDD models, it works only for Seagate hard disks.
Problems that Seagate utility can detect:
- Damaged filesystem of the HDD
- Bad blocks and reading errors
- Windows driver-related and system errors
- Desktop or laptop hard drive not detected
- Incompatible hardware
- Windows bootloader (MBR) problems on the disk
- Viruses, keyloggers and other malicious apps
SeaTools works the following way: a user selects tests for diagnostics and starts them, receiving a detailed report as a result. If the HDD test is passed, you will see the PASS mark, otherwise it will show as FAIL. You should take into consideration that HDD testing can take up to 4 hours. In order to save time you can select one of the three test modes.
Seagate SeaTools is able to scan hdd for bad sectors and even repair them by trying to do recovery or writing zeroes (this method allows ignoring problem sectors during reading/writing of the disk structure).
HDD Health: checks disks and reads SMART attributes
HDD Health is another free utility for hard disk testing and controlling a health status. It checks your hard drive for errors (SSD/HDD), its status and makes predictions (Health index).
The tool’s main window displays the following information:
- manufacturer, model, firmware revision
- current temperature HDD (SSD) (accessible via system tray)
- disk structure overall condition
- other attributes (Extended info menu)
Just as other diagnostic tools, HDD Health reads S.M.A.R.T technical info, which is good for specifying the current hardware performance. The software doesn’t include any other components for detecting errors and checking for bad blocks.
So the set of tools HDD Health offers comes in handy in case S.M.A.R.T. criteria are enough to check the hard disk health (and if the device condition is not critical). Fortunately, in the latest HDD/SSD disks S.M.A.R.T. technology is implemented.
Download HDD Health app for free on the developer’s page Panterasoft.
HDDScan – testing hard drive for corrupted partitions
HDDScan is a free hard drive diagnostic tool which also reads S.M.A.R.T., check SSD status and other parameters. Performing the disk surface test will provide you with a log file containing detailed information on the disk condition.
HDDScan supports various memory storage devices:
- RAID arrays
- HDD drives with IDE/SATA interface
- SATA/ATA SSD
- USB-flash drive
Some of the most useful HDDScan features are:
- Checking for errors which can’t be found by basic Windows utilities: bad blocks and bad sectors
- Hard drive testing (Reading/Verification/Erasing disk surface tests)
- Temperature monitor for all hard drives connected to your computer
- Export of any data as a customized report
CHKDSK – Windows utility for fixing errors and bad blocks
You don’t have to install external programs to check your hard disk for errors. Windows has a computer utility Check Disk designed for this.
CHKDSK appeared already in DOS, and is known as scandisk there. The utility both finds and repairs basic filesystem errors. As was said above, it is not meant to search for all types of errors and is not an HDD diagnostic tool.
However, using CHKDSK you can fix errors on data storage devices: not only hard drive but USB memory and SD cards (any device which has a bad block). Starting with Windows NT, it also fixes bad blocks (damaged partitions) marking them in a specific way. As a result, other tools ignore these partitions when reading/writing.