How to check your computer’s hard drive for failure

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Did you know there’s a free program you can run, and it will check your computer’s hard drive to see if it’s showing any signs of failure?

Crystal Disk Info


Disclaimer: This software is not foolproof, it’s just one of the best at detecting signs of hard drive failure.

The program I’m referring to is called Crystal Disk Info. It’s actually the hard disk checking program that many computer techs use, especially when the test is being done remotely. You can check the website here. The download you want is the Standard Edition (3.8 MB).

It’s super simple to run this software and do this test. In fact, when you run the software, you are actually doing the test so the first thing you’ll see is the test result, telling you if your hard drive has any issues. It looks like this:

Crystal Disk Info


The “health status” indicator is the primary thing you want to look at. There are 3 main possible statuses:

Crystal Disk Info


You can probably guess that the one you really want to see is “Good”. If that’s the case, you’re all set and you can just close the program. If you don’t have a backup, get one. Your hard drive can go from good to bad very quickly.

If you see “Caution”, this means that your hard drive is showing early signs of failure. I always see this as a friendly warning or alert. If you have important files or folders on this computer, you should make sure they are backed up. Then you should plan on at least replacing the hard drive. Depending on the age and condition of the rest of the computer, it might make sense to just replace the whole computer. There are several factors to consider in this decision (I can help with that).

If you see “Bad” that means that the hard drive is on its last legs and could finally crash at any time. If you are able to get a backup from a drive such as this, consider yourself lucky and go ahead and save whatever files you can. Then, make the decision to replace the drive.

When you install Crystal Disk Info, at the end it gives you the option to create a desktop icon. I recommend doing that so that you notice it sometimes. When you think of it, just click to run the program and do a quick check on the hard drive. Can’t hurt to do it once a week, but you could even do it every day if you wanted to. Just don’t assume that you’ll have time to do a backup AFTER you find out the drive is failing – because sometimes there is no warning.

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January 23rd, 2017

Hm from experience while the S.M.A.R.T status would clearly indicate major issues,personally I prefer to run the built in self-test(BIST) named short self test available in either manufacturer diagnostic utilities or use a freeware program named GSmart control if it’s a 3rd party machine(this utility has both windows and linux versions).which is a much more through check for failure when compared to smart status.As an additional bonus the utility also shows results of previous tests which are stored on the hard disk itself.
A fellow computer tech.