How to Perform a Hard Drive Health Check

Your hard drive is the soul of your computer, and you may rely on it to store important data.

How to Perform a Hard Drive Health Check

If it becomes corrupted for whatever reason and you haven’t performed a backup recently, there’s a chance your data could be wiped. To lower the risk of this happening, it’s good practice to keep an eye on the health of your hard drive.

Continue reading to learn four different ways of doing this on Windows 10.

Use BIOS

You can check your hard drive’s health without booting Windows.

All computers include a Basic Input Output System (BIOS) or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) program that enables the operating system to connect to the computer’s firmware. Every time you boot your computer, that software will load initially, bootstrapping Windows and allowing you to run computer diagnostics before your computer boots. This method can be used if your computer does not boot into Windows or the hard drive is inaccessible.

The process to run a hard drive pre-boot diagnostics will vary depending on the manufacturer. Therefore, you’ll need to check your manufacturer’s website for instructions on accessing and running the pre-boot system diagnostics for your PC.

In the meantime, for an idea of how it’s done, here’s how to access the pre-boot system via Dell and Lenovo.

Dell:

  1. As your computer is trying to boot up, keep tapping the “F12” key until the boot menu displays.
  2. From the “screenHP,” select “Diagnostics.”

Lenovo:

  1. As your computer is booting, repeatedly tap the “Esc” button until you see the boot menu.
  2. Hit the “F2” key to start “diagnosticsRefer.”

Use Windows CHKDSK Tool

Windows CHKDSK, one of the built-in tools, will scan your hard drive for system errors and bad sectors. It checks for the health of your hard drive by highlighting any errors. As well as scan for problems, if possible, it will fix them and let you know if there is a problem it can’t handle. Follow these steps to use the tool:

  1. Open “Search” and type “cmd.”
  2. Beneath “Command Prompt,” select “Run as administrator.”
  3. Type “chkdsk” at the prompt line to run a basic scan, then press “Enter.”
  4. You can also use “chkdsk /f /r” to fix bad sectors and recover any readable data if possible.
  5. To dismount your drive, first enter “chkdsk /f /r /x.”
  6. Click here for a complete list of Microsoft commands using the CHKDSK tool.

Use WMIC

Windows Management Instrumentation Command (WMIC) is a command-line interface for performing admin tasks such as checking the health of your hard disk. Use a Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) feature that enables the hard drive to automatically monitor and provide basic conclusions for your hard drive’s status alone. You’ll need to install a third-party app for additional information.

How to check your hard disk status using WMIC:

  1. Press the “Windows” + “R” buttons together to open a run command window.
  2. Type “cmd” then hit the “Enter” key.
  3. Right-click the command prompt display, then choose “Run as administrator.”
  4. Type “wmic” in the command prompt window, then press “Enter.”
  5. Type “diskdrive get status,” then press “Enter.”
  6. If the report status is “OK,” you have a healthy hard drive.

Use the HDD Manufacturer’s App

Most hard drive manufacturers will develop an app to monitor the hard drive’s performance and health. You can download the app via the manufacturer’s website. Follow these steps to find out who your hard drive manufacturer is:

  1. Press the “Windows” + “R” buttons.
  2. In the run command window, type “msinfo32” and press “Enter” for the “System Information.”
  3. Click on the plus (+) sign to expand the “Components” option.
  4. Locate “Storage” and press the adjacent plus sign to find “Disks.”
  5. Select “Disks” to find your hard drive’s manufacturer and model.

Once you’ve confirmed the manufacturer, go to their support page to find the hard drive utility.

FAQs

How to Tell if There Is Something Wrong With My Hard Drive

Usually, before your hard drive starts to fail, you’ll receive some early warning signs. These signs may only appear a few weeks before your hard drive is in real trouble. In that scenario, act fast and back up your data regularly.

Some of the common early warning signs include:

• Gradually longer boot times

• Regular system crashes

• Regular occurrence of the blue screen of death

• BIOS errors upon startup

• Missing files means segments are failing

• “File Explorer” takes longer to load files

Keeping an Eye on Your Hard Drive’s Health

The hard drive is one of your computer’s main components. It not only stores the files you save but also contains the code needed for the operating system. Even though you can replace it if it has an incurable problem, your data won’t be replaced unless you keep regular backups.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to find out how healthy your hard drive is, including asking via built-in tools like CHKDSK and WMIC. The manufacturer will also have a dedicated diagnostic tool available on their website.

What else do you do to keep on top of your computer’s overall health? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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