John Carrona - BSOD analyst

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Hard Drive Diagnostic Procedure RSS Feed Subscribe to the RSS feed Originally Added to Website:  14 Sep 2009
Last updated:  19 Aug 2017
Renamed old page to hddiag2.html; revised this page to make it a bit simpler

This is an abbreviated version of the old page.  There is more detail on the old page.
The old page is located here:  http://www.carrona.org/hddiag2.html
I am no longer updating the old page.


BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP - it's important to backup before you test the drive.  We're testing the drive because we suspect it might be failing.  If it does fail, it may not give any warning that it's going to fail completely - so it's important to backup first.  FYI - backup from a physically dead hard drive will run $1500 to $2000 from most professional data recovery centers.

Please understand that there are no hardware diagnostics for SSD's.  What we have is SMART - and it's a predictive tool, not a hardware diagnostic.
Furthermore, I frequently find failing drives (both HDD and SSD) that have passed SMART, yet have failed hardware diagnostics or device replacement tests.
In other words, the only sure test for an SSD is to try another drive (either ad SSD or an HDD).  If you try another drive and the problem goes away - then it's likely that the drive was at fault and needs replacing.


Drive testing (download links below):
If you have a HDD (Mechanical drive with a rotating platter(s))
  -if you have a BIOS based system
- run Seagate Seatools for DOS (Long Generic test).  Boot from disk to run it.
- run Seagate Seatools for Windows (Long Generic test) if you can get into Windows.
  -if you have a UEFI based system
- run Seagate Seatools for DOS (Long Generic test).  Boot from disk to run it (will have to disable SecureBoot and enable CSM/Legacy mode).
- run Seagate Seatools for Windows (Long Generic test) if you can get into Windows.
- connect the hard drive to another working computer, and run Seagate Seatools for Windows (Long Generic test).

The Long Generic test is needed because the other tests only spot-check the drive.
Also, the Fix All test will wipe the sectors that need fixing - so all data in them will be lost.
- if it's an OS sector that's fixed, then the OS may not even boot.  If it does boot, it may be so damaged that it won't even work.
- if it's a data sector that's fixed, then the data will be erased without a chance to recover it.

If you have an SSD (Electronic drive with no moving parts)
  -if you have a BIOS based system
- run the GSSmartControl utility on the Ultimate Boot CD.  Boot from disk to run it.
- run HDTune/Crystal DiskInfo SMART test if you can get into Windows.
  - if you have a UEFI based system
- run the GSSmartControl utility on the Ultimate Boot CD.  Boot from disk to run it (will have to disable SecureBoot and enable CSM/Legacy mode).
- run HDTune/Crystal DiskInfo SMART test if you can get into Windows.
- connect the hard drive to another working computer, and run HDTune/Crystal DiskInfo SMART test.

If uncertain, follow the UEFI instructions for HDD or SSD.


Links for downloads (links good as of 18 August 2017):
Seagate Seatools for DOS (free):  http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/seatools-dos-master/
Seagate Seatools for Windows (free):  http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/seatools-win-master/
Ultimate Boot CD (free):  http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
HDTune (free):  http://www.hdtune.com/download.html (not the Pro - the free one is the 2nd one down, just plain HDTune)
Crystal DiskInfo (free):  https://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-e.html





© 2017 - John D. Carrona
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