How to Test Hard Drive Health on Windows PC

If you regularly test hard drive health, you can avoid many serious problems in advance and find out the problem to fix your PC glitches. In this post, you’ll see some ways to check hard drive health.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Your hard drive is your computer's database, and it stores practically all of your important data. Most PC components may be replaced, but unless you have a recent backup, the irreplaceable data on your hard drive cannot be retrieved. When you feel your hard drive is reaching the end of its usable life, it's vital to check its health with Windows.

Thus, there are a few methods for doing a disk health check on it, allowing you time to either prolong its life or back up everything before the worst happens.

5 ways to test hard drive health

Way 1. Check hard drive health in BIOS

Step 1. Reboot your PC, and after it’s switched off and on again repeatedly, press Delete, F2, F12, or whichever buttons the boot screen tells you will take you to your BIOS.

Step 2. Once in the BIOS, the exact instructions will depend on your motherboard manufacturer. In the example, on MSI Mortar WiFi B550M in the BIOS, go to “Settings -> Advanced -> NVME Self-Test” to test the health of the NVMe drives.

MSI NVME Self Test

Way 2. Use PC/disk manufacturer's tools

If you’re using a computer with a hard disk produced by a big hard disk manufacturer, or a computer has a brand-developed tool, you can choose these tools to check your hard drive. For example, if you’re using a newer HP laptop, there’s a separate UEFI diagnostic tool that you can access by pressing F2 during boot.

You can go to “Component Tests -> Hard Drive” to run tests on one or more drives on the PC.

PC component test

And if you’re using a WD, Seagate, or Samsung disk, you can go to the official website to download its own tool to check your disk.

Disk management tool from manufacture

▶ Note: This kind of software is not compatible with other manufacturers' disks.

Way 3. Use CHKDSK in CMD

The Windows CHKDSK program is a built-in Windows utility that scans your hard drive for system problems and bad sectors. It also aids in the examination of hard disk health by displaying any faults.

It will search for and rectify minor issues, as well as notify you if there is a larger issue that it cannot resolve. You may use this utility to test hard disk health and, if feasible, repair damaged sectors and errors.

Step 1. Open “Search” and type cmd and choose “Run as administrator” under “Command Prompt.”

Step 2. Enter chkdsk at the prompt and hit Enter.

Step 3. You can also use chkdsk /f /r to fix bad sectors and recover any readable data if possible.

Another option is chkdsk /f /r /x, which dismounts the drive first.

CHKDSK commands

▶ Tip: You can visit Microsoft's official website to read a full list of parameters to use with chkdsk to check your hard disk health.

Way 4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. check

S.M.A.R.T. is a feature on modern hard drives that allows you to instantly assess their health status. Though this function should automatically inform you if there are any problems with your disk, you may manually check it if you suspect something is wrong.

Step 1. Open “Search” and type cmd and run it.

Step 2. Type: wmic diskdrive get model,status, and press “Enter”.

Then you can see the disks and their status.


Way 5. Employ third-party disk health checker

If your PC or hard disk doesn’t have a compatible tool, don’t worry, you can choose a third-party tool. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a free disk and partition manager for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista system.

Its hard drive health check function can test the health status of the disk by obtaining the S.M.A.R.T. information of the disk. If the disk health status is poor, the user will be prompted and the disk data can be backed up at this time.

What’s more, this software also offers a disk speed test function, PC cleaner and hard drive defragment features. After the hard drive health check, you can test its read/write speed, then scan and delete all junk files on your system and hard drive, then defrag your hard drive to improve its performance. These are all nice operations for your hard drive health.

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▶ Tip: Never defrag your SSD, it will damage your SSD.

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. When the program is successfully launched, it will automatically obtain S.M.A.R.T. information on all hard disks in the background.

Once it detects that the disk health status of one hard drive is poor, a red exclamation mark will be displayed on the disk icon. You can also right-click on one hard drive and choose Properties-->Health(SMART) to see detailed S.M.A.R.T. information on this disk.

Disk health

Step 2: There are 3 states of hard disk health.

State one: Good
The disk is in good condition and can be used with confidence.

Doog condition

State two: Caution
Except for the temperature, one or more attributes are close to the threshold. The disk still can be used normally, but it is recommended to back up the disk regularly.

Cautious condition

State three: Bad
One or more attributes are equal to or less than the threshold. The disk may be damaged soon and cause data loss. It is recommended to clone this disk and replace it with a new one.

Bas condition

You can click "View details" to see specific S.M.A.R.T. values, red text indicates that the value of the item is equal to or exceeds the threshold.


More about hard disk health

To help you know more about your hard drive and SSD, here we prepare more information.

1. How long do hard disks last?

In general, an HDD should survive 3 to 5 years on average, whereas an SSD should last about 5 years.

HDD relies on real moving parts, so it's more prone to damage and malfunction than SSDs. Dropping a device with an HDD may cause any of these components to fail, rendering the disk useless.

Although SSD is more stable than HDD, it has two important factors to significantly affect the lifespan of SSDs: the total number of terabytes written over time (TBW) and the drive writes per day (DWPD). In short, the time of data-erasing on SSD is limited. Once it reaches its limitation, years are not the biggest factor that ends your SSD life.

2. Common signs of a hard disk failing

In reality, you can receive some notice before your hard disk's health begins to deteriorate. These warning symptoms may surface only a few weeks before the hard disk dies, so act immediately and routinely back up your data. Some of the most prevalent symptoms are:

• Boot times are becoming more protracted.

System crashes, especially when they occur often.

• The Blue Screen of Death emerges, particularly if it occurs repeatedly.

• During starting, the BIOS generates errors.

• Files that are missing (which means segments are failing).

• Increased file loading times in File Explorer.

3. What can you do when a hard disk is failing?

There are some solutions that can prevent data loss when a hard disk is failing.

1. Make a backup of all critical files. If your hard disk is already failing, begin by backing up the most crucial data. The drive may not be able to perform a full disk image.

2. Work should be saved often. If you're attempting to squeeze every last drop of life from your drive, make sure you're frequently saving any open files to an external drive or a cloud-based storage service. Keep those vital data backed up in real-time, as someone who lost a week-long project due to a sudden disk failure.

3. Prepare another disk or device. You have two choices. You may purchase a new hard drive and install it on your present computer, which is perfect if your gadget is still relatively fresh. It may be time to consider a new computer for outdated devices.

4. Should I replace a new disk or buy a new PC?

Upgrading or buying a new PC is determined by the age of your computer. If your PC is only a year or two old, purchasing a new hard drive is far more cost-effective. Examine your other hardware for older PCs. If it's not compatible with the majority of modern programs and new Windows systems, it's usually preferable to update to a new PC if at all possible. Otherwise, you risk getting a new hard disk while other hardware fails or becomes obsolete.

If you just want to change a new hard disk, we suggest you clone your current disk to avoid reinstalling everything. After you find a proper new disk, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, this edition allows users to clone disks conveniently. And the cloning methods can even clone a larger disk to a smaller disk. During the procedure, you only need to follow the steps to click the mouse, no complex steps are required.

After you plug your new disk into your computer, we can start.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right-click the target HDD (here we choose disk 1) and select "Clone Disk".

Disk Clone Wizard

Step 2 In the subsequent window, two different disk copying methods are offered, choose one according to your requirements, and click "Next".

Quickly clone

Step 3. Now, select the SSD drive as the destination disk and you can tick "Optimize the performance of SSD". Then click "Next" to continue.

Select destination disk

Step 4. In this window, you can edit partitions on the SSD drive if you choose "Clone Disk Quickly" in step 2. Also, you can keep the defaults and hit on "Next".

Edit size

Step 5. Finally, click "Apply" on the main interface.


▶ Note: If the source disk is MBR while the target disk is GPT as shown in the above instruction, you need to ensure your motherboard support UEFI boot mode, since you will have to change the boot mode from BIOS to UEFI after cloning, otherwise, your Windows will not boot up successfully. And the reverse is also true.

Now you can wipe your old disk to reuse it as your data disk or if it doesn’t work well, you can dispose of your old hard drive.

To sum up

To test hard drive health, you can try 5 ways in our post. If you need an all-around disk check and manage your hard disk, you can choose AOMEI Partition Assistant to help you. It has many helpful features. In addition, if you’re using Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2)/2003, you can choose its Server Edition to manage your Server computer conveniently.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.