When you get a brand new hard drive or you suspect something’s wrong with your current one, you should check for errors. The best way of detecting various internal errors is using free hard drive testing software. Don’t worry about paying for premium diagnostic tools because all hard drive manufacturers have their own.
In this article, we’re going to check the best free hard drive testing programs. However, before you start using any third-party software, it would be a good idea to use Microsoft’s chkdsk tool. It’s reliable enough for most hard drive problems and every Windows system has it installed by default.
1. Western Digital Dashboard
Western Digital Dashboard replaced the deprecated Data Lifeguard Diagnostic tool. It has a much more modern look and it’s very user-friendly. Take note it’s available for Windows systems only.
The WD Dashboard will automatically detect your Western Digital drives. If your PC has multiple drives, you can select each one from a drop-down menu. The program will display general information about the drive, like model number, drive health, temperature, capacity, and remaining lifespan. You can also monitor real-time performance. Check your hard drive’s read and write speeds.
WD’s free hard drive testing software also comes with drive tests, firmware updating capabilities, and an option to erase your drive.
2. Seagate SeaTools
Seagate, another popular drive manufacturer, developed SeaTools for Windows, Linux, and DOS. The DOS version will run faster and can fix bad sectors, but it’s quite difficult to use. That said, the Windows and Linux versions offer all the features you need to test your hard drive. SeaTools also supports hard drives from other manufacturers.
The user interface is somewhat outdated, but it’s intuitive and you don’t need any tech know-how to test your drives. You can check for driver corruption, system file corruption, and much more. Just select your driver and test it.
Despite the name, this free hard drive testing software also supports SSD drives, Flash USB drives, and RAID arrays servers.
HDDScan can detect bad blocks and bad sectors, it can monitor various drive parameters like temperature, and it offers several types of tests. You can easily perform generic health and read/write tests, and see whether your hard drive is degrading or malfunctioning. HDDScan also works with almost all drive models.
DiskCheckup is a free hard drive diagnostics tool that works with almost any drive. You can monitor SMART attributes and predict when a hard drive is about to become unreliable. You can check your hard drive’s spin-up time (if you have an HDD), monitor temperatures in real-time, and execute short or extended tests.
DiskCheckup can also detect the Host Protected Area and Device Configuration Overlay, which are hidden areas on your hard drive. You can remove them to see data that is normally inaccessible to users.
Take note DiskCheckup is free only for personal use. For commercial use, you need to purchase a license.
5. Samsung Magician
Samsung Magician is a Windows program for SSD management. It allows the user to easily update an SSD’s firmware, monitor drive health and performance parameters, and it can run diagnostic scans as well. The downside is, it only supports Samsung SSDs.
The UI is probably the best we’ve seen in any free hard drive diagnostic software, so testing your SSD is a user-friendly process that doesn’t require technical expertise. If you have a Samsung SSD, Samsung Magician is one of the best options.
GSmartControl is a free drive inspection tool that works for any brand of HDD or SSD. You can download it for Windows, macOS, as well as Linux.
The user interface is easy to navigate for beginners. You can quickly inspect SMART data to get an idea about your drive’s health. GSmartControl tells you everything you need to know about the drive’s identity, hardware specifications, and gives you performance statistics as well.
What’s great about GSmartControl is that you can leave it running in the background to run a quick drive analysis every few hours without impacting your PC’s performance.
These free hard drive testing software tools are the best for running regular diagnostics and monitoring your drives in real-time. There are other free tools out there that were once popular, but we can’t recommend them anymore because many of them support only the older Windows versions up to Windows 7. The ones on our list will work with Windows 10 and 11 as well.
If you discovered an awesome free hard drive testing program, please let us know in the comments!