How to Check Hard Drive Health – The Top 6 Best Methods for Windows

The hard drive is the place that stores a great amount of essential data on your computer. It can not be replaced like many other computer components unless you have a recent backup, and its lifespan will gradually shorten along with constant reading and writing. For such reasons, it is crucial to check your hard drive’s health regularly to maintain its health. This article will introduce the top 6 best methods to check the hard drive health on Windows.

Method 1: the CHKDSK Tool

The CHKDSK is a built-in Windows tool that can scan your hard disk to find system errors and bad sectors. Additionally, it can be used to check hard drive health by showing you any errors and fixing problems if possible. 

  • Open the “Start” menu search for “cmd” or “Command Prompt” and right-click to select the “Run as Administrator” option.
  • Type ” chkdsk ” in the Command Prompt window and press the “Enter” button. Then the program will run a basic scan.

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P.S. You can also use the command chkdsk LETTER_OF_DEVICE: / f / r” to fix any bad sectors or recover lost data if possible. Besides, if you would like to dismount the drive first, please use the command ” chkdsk LETTER_OF_DEVICE / f / r / x “. The full list of commands can be viewed on the Microsoft CHKDSK page.

Method 2: the WMIC and the S.M.A.R.T. Tool

In the Command Prompt window, there is another command to check your hard drive health: WMIC . As a quick built-in feature of Windows, WMIC is a command-line interface that allows you to perform many different administrative tasks, including checking hard disk health. It will use the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) feature of hard drives to confirm their status and draw a simple conclusion. 

  • Also, start by entering the Command Prompt window. You can open it by the way mentioned in Method One, or by pressing the “Windows” and “R” buttons to open the “Run” window.
  • Type in “cmd” and click “OK” in the “Run” window.

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  • When you are at the Command Prompt screen, type in “wmic diskdrive get status”  and then press Enter. You will see the status of your hard drive after a few minutes. If it shows “OK”, that means your hard disk is in good condition. But if you receive “bad”, “unknown”, or “caution”, there is probably something wrong with your hard drive and you should adopt other methods to fix it, such as using specialized software. However, it should be noted that those messages may be an error if the WMIC is having trouble in getting the status of the hard disk health. To make a confirmation, you will have to type a new command.

(Graph Source: the Web)

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Method 3: the HDD Manufacturer’s Tools

Most major hard drive manufacturers offer free tools to monitor and check your hard disk health and performance, providing you with the most accurate information. But before using these tools, you should confirm the manufacturer of your HDD.

  • Go to the “Start” menu and open “Device Manager”.
  • In the Device Manager window, click “Disk Drives” to see the list of your storage devices.

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Method 4: the BIOS Tool

In general, every computer has a program named BIOS that enables the operating system to connect with the computer’s firmware. You can perform tests on hard drive health in the BIOS, preventing any interference from the operating system. So this method is preferred when the computer does not boot into Windows or cannot access the hard drive.

  • Reboot your computer and after it is switched off and on again several times, press the “Delete”, “F2”, and “F12” buttons, or whichever buttons that the boot screen informs you of being able to enter the BIOS. Different motherboards have different buttons to take you to your BIOS. You can set your Windows to boot directly into the BIOS as well.
  • When you are in the BIOS, you need to find out the test itself. For most BIOS versions, you can press “Settings” first and then click “Advanced”. After that, select “NVME self-test” to test the health of NVME drives. Note that the extract instruction depends on what motherboard you are using. In many HP and Dell computers, the option can be found in Diagnostics instead.

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Method 5: Defrag and Optimize

Windows provides a program called disk defragmenter that can detect the fragmentation level on the hard disk and help reorganize fragmented data. Using this tool will enhance disk health and improve overall computer performance.

  • Type “defrag” in the search box of the “Start” menu, and open “Defragment and Optimize Driver”.

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  • Select your drive and click “Optimize” to scan fragmented files and optimize the drive for better performance.

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P.S. If you are using an SDD, this method is not recommended because it may result in wear and tear on the drive.

Method 6: the Error-Checking Tool

The in-built Windows file explorer is also can be employed to check hard drive health. Although it fails to give you a detailed analysis, it can provide a quick result with simple steps.

  • Open the “Windows File Explorer”, right-click on the drive you’d like to test, and choose “Properties”.

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  • Select the “Tools” tab and click the “Check” option.

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  • Click on “Scan Drive” and a quick scan will start on your selected drive.

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  • As the scan finishes, you will receive a pop-up that suggests your hard drive’s health.
  • Conclusion

Checking on the hard drive’s health regularly is essential to maintain it in good health. The above are the top six methods recognized by many people in checking hard drive health on Windows, and you can make a choice according to what you like. Besides, preparing data recovery software like ONERECOVERY in the computer is also important because occasionally hard drives will fail without any signs, leading to sudden data loss.