14 Free Hard Drive Testing Programs

An updated list of the best free hard drive test software programs

An illustration of a hard drive being tested to determine if there is anything wrong with it.

 Jon Marchione, Lifewire 

There are many free hard drive testing tools available to help you determine what, if anything, is wrong when you suspect there may be a problem with a hard drive.

Tools like Windows Error Checking and the chkdsk command are included in your Windows-based operating system already but some others, like those below, are available from hard drive manufacturers and other developers.

Important: Depending on the issue found, you may need to replace your hard drive if it fails some part of one of these hard drive tests. Follow any advice given in the program or see Get More Help for information about contacting me for advice on what to do.

Note: Many excellent Commercial Hard Drive Repair Software programs are available as well. Be sure to first try the free hard drive diagnostic software options below before paying for any program!

Screenshot of Seagate SeaTools for DOS
Seagate SeaTools for DOS.

Seagate SeaTools is free hard drive testing software that comes in two forms for home users:

SeaTools for DOS supports Seagate or Maxtor drives and runs independent from your operating system on its own CD or USB drive, making it highly reliable.

SeaTools for Windows is a program that installs on your Windows system. You can do basic and advanced testing of any kind of drive — internal or external — from any manufacturer.

For those looking for SeaTools Desktop, SeaTools Online, or Maxtor's PowerMax software, please note that the two tools above have replaced all three. Seagate now owns the Maxtor brand.

Seagate SeaTools Review and Free Download

Seagate's SeaTools programs are excellent programs. They're used to test hard drives by professional computer services but are easy enough for anyone to use.

The Windows version of SeaTools works with Windows 10 through Windows XP.

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Screenshot of HDDScan v4.0 in Windows 8

HDDScan is a free hard drive testing program for all types of drives, no matter the manufacturer.

There are several tools included in HDDScan, including a SMART test and a surface test.

HDDScan v4.0 Review & Free Download

The program is very easy to use, is completely portable, supports almost all drive interfaces, and seems to be regularly updated.

You can use HDDScan in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2003.

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Screenshot of DiskCheckup in Windows 7

DiskCheckup is a free hard drive tester that should work with most hard drives.

SMART info like reading error rate, spin-up time, seek error rate, and temperature is displayed, as well as the ability to run a short and extended disk test.

Details in the SMART section can be configured to send an email or display a notification when their attributes exceed the manufacturer's recommended threshold.

Hard drives that have a SCSI or hardware RAID connection are not supported and can not be detected by DiskCheckup.

DiskCheckup v3.4 Review & Free Download

DiskCheckup works with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2008/2003.

Screenshot of GSmartControl

GSmartControl can run various hard drive tests with detailed results and give an overall heath assessment of a drive.

You can view and save SMART attribute values like the power cycle count, multi-zone error rate, calibration retry count, and many others.

GSmartControl can run three self-tests to find drive faults:

  • Short Self-test: Takes around 2 minutes to complete and is used to detect a completely damaged hard drive.
  • Extended Self-test: Takes 70 minutes to finish and examines the entire surface of a hard drive to find faults.
  • Conveyance Self-test: This is a 5-minute test that's supposed to find damages that occurred during the transporting of a drive.

GSmartControl v1.1.3 Review & Free Download

GSmartControl can be downloaded for Windows as a portable program or as a regular program with a normal installer. It works with Windows 10 through Windows XP. It's also available for Linux and Mac operating systems as well as included in a couple of LiveCD/LiveUSB programs.

Screenshot of Windows Drive Fitness Test
Windows Drive Fitness Test.

Windows Drive Fitness Test is free hard drive diagnostic software available for use on most drives available today.

The download link below installs the Windows Drive Fitness Test software to the Windows OS, but you can't use the program to scan the drive that has Windows installed.

Windows Drive Fitness Test v0.95 Review & Free Download

Unfortunately, only USB and other internal hard drives can be scanned with Windows Drive Fitness Test.

You can install WinDFT to Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Screenshot of Samsung HUTIL
Samsung HUTIL.

Samsung HUTIL is a free hard drive diagnostic utility for Samsung hard drives. HUTIL is sometimes called ES-Tool.

Samsung's HUTIL tool is available as an ISO image for burning to a CD or USB drive. This makes HUTIL operating system independent and a better testing tool, in general, than those designed for use within Windows. It's also possible to run HUTIL from a bootable floppy disk.

Samsung HUTIL v2.10 Review & Free Download

Note: HUTIL will only test Samsung hard drives. HUTIL will load and find your non-Samsung drive but you will not be able to run any diagnostics on the drive.

Because Samsung HUTIL is a bootable program, you'll need a working hard drive and OS to burn it to a disc or USB device. 

Screenshot of Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows
Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows.

Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic (DLGDIAG) is free hard drive testing software designed for Western Digital branded hard drives only.

The Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic software is available for download in both a portable Windows program as well as a bootable, ISO file and allows for a number of hard drive tests. See the installation instructions from Western Digital in the link below for details.

Western Digital DLGDIAG Review & Free Download

Note: DLGDIAG for DOS will only run diagnostics on Western Digital hard drives, whereas the Windows version works with drives from other manufacturers as well.

The Windows version works on Windows 10 through Windows XP.

Screenshot of Bart's Stuff Test v5
Bart's Stuff Test.

Bart's Stuff Test is a free, Windows-based hard drive stress test.

There aren't a lot of options in Bart's Stuff Test and it's not as thorough as some other tests on this list.

Bart's Stuff Test v5.1.4 Review & Free Download

All things considered, Bart's Stuff Test is a decent addition to your hard drive testing arsenal, especially if you're having problems testing with an ISO based tool above but want something besides the Windows default tool.

Bart's Stuff Test is said to work only with Windows XP through Windows 95. However, I tested the most recent version of Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues.

Screenshot of Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool
Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool.

Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool is a free hard drive testing tool designed for Fujitsu hard drives.

The Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool (FJDT) is available in both a Windows version and an operating system independent, bootable DOS version. Unfortunately, the bootable version is designed for floppy disks — an image that works with a CD or USB drive is not available.

Two tests are available with Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool, a "Quick Test" (about three minutes) and a "Comprehensive Test" (time will vary based on hard drive size).

Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool Review & Free Download

Note: Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool will perform hard drive tests on Fujitsu drives only. If you have any other make of hard drive, try one of the manufacturer independent tests listed toward the beginning of this list.

The Windows version of Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool should work in all versions of Windows, from Windows 10 to Windows 2000.

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Screenshot of HD Tune v2.55 in Windows 7
HD Tune.

HD Tune is a Windows-based hard driver tester that works with any internal or external hard drive, SSD, or memory card.

You can run a benchmark read test with HD Tune, check the health status with Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART), and run an error scan.

HD Tune v2.55 Review & Free Download

Only Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000 are said to be supported, though I was also able to use HD Tune in Windows 10 and Windows 8, too.

Screenshot of Free EASIS Drive Check
Free EASIS Drive Check.

Free EASIS Drive Check is a hard drive tester that has two main testing utility built-in — a sector test and a SMART value reader.

The SMART test can list over 40 values about a hard drive while the sector test checks the surface of the media for reading errors.

The report of either test can be read straight from the program when complete, configured to be sent to you by email or printed off.

Free EASIS Drive Check v1.1 Review & Free Download

Free EASIS Drive Check is said to work with Windows 2000 through Windows 7, but I was able to use it properly on Windows 8 and 10 as well.

Screenshot of the Error Checking (chkdsk) tool in Windows 10
Error Checking (chkdsk) in Windows 10.

Error Checking, sometimes referred to as scandisk, is a hard drive testing tool that comes with Microsoft Windows that can scan your hard drive in search of a wide range of errors.

How to Scan Your Hard Drive Using Built-In Error Checking in Windows

This tool can also attempt to correct a number of hard drive problems.

Screenshot of Macrorit Disk Scanner v4.3.1
Macrorit Disk Scanner v4.3.1.

Macrorit Disk Scanner is a very simple program that checks for bad sectors on a hard drive. It's easy to use and you can start using it in no time since it's fully portable and doesn't need to be installed.

The majority of this screen is used as a visual representation of the progress of the scan and clearly indicates if there's damage.

One thing in particular that I like about Macrorit Disk Scanner is that you can see how much time is remaining before the scan is over, which some hard drive scanners don't show. Also, you can choose to automatically shut the computer down when the scan completes.

Download Macrorit Disk Scanner v4.3.1

The operating systems that can run Macrorit Disk Scanner are Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Windows Home Server, and Windows Server 2012/2008/2003.

Screenshot of Ariolic Disk Scanner v1.7
Ariolic Disk Scanner v1.7.

Ariolic Disk Scanner is very similar to Macrorit Disk Scanner in that it's just a read-only scan of a drive to check for bad sectors. It has a minimal interface with only one button, and is easy to understand if any parts of the drive contain bad sectors.

The program is completely portable and just over 1 MB in size.

Download Ariolic Disk Scanner v1.7

One thing that's different than Macrorit Disk Scanner is that Ariolic Disk Scanner lists the files where read errors occurred. This sounds like a useful feature but I, unfortunately, was unable to confirm it because my scan returned no errors.

I tested Ariolic Disk Scanner in Windows 10 and XP only, but it should also work with other versions of Windows.