How to Check Computer Hard Drive Health

Today’s premium computers typically include solid-state drives, called SSDs. Solid-state drives offer several advantages over traditional hard disk drives, commonly referred to as HDDs. Older or cheaper computers may only come with an HDD.

Why Computer Your Hard Drive Needs a Health Check

The primary benefits of SSDs include reliability, speed, silence, and size. Benefits of HDDs include larger storage capacity and a lower price than SSDs.
SSDs work more like flash drives, so they don’t have moving parts. They can still degrade in time but should last longer than HDDs. In contrast, traditional hard drives work similarly to old-fashioned record players. They have multiple moving parts and more potential failure points. Examples of an HDD’s components include:
  • Spindle: The spindle rotates the platter, which looks like a round disk.
  • Read/write arm: This component holds the read/write heads and moves over the spindle.
  • Accentuator: This small motor drives the read/write arm.
Because of the moving parts, HDDs tend to fail eventually, possibly resulting in data loss and sometimes making an older computer not worth fixing. Still, HDDs cost less than SSDs and generally offer greater capacity.

How to Perform a Hard Disk Drive Health Check

A computer hard drive will often start making noises or operating very slowly. These symptoms indicate that it’s time to conduct a health check and proactively ensure copies of essential files reside on backup storage. On the positive side, computer users can take advantage of several options to check the health of their drives.

Use Built-In Drive Checking Utilities

The computer’s built-in utilities can provide quick answers for HDDs. For instance:
  • Windows: From the Start Menu, type “cmd” to see a command line. Then enter this text: wmic diskdrive get model,status. This command will display the drive’s status as “OK” for a good drive or “Pred Fail” for a drive that’s about to fail.
  • Mac: From the Disk Utility Tool, click the drive. The screen should display a status of “Verified” or “Failing.”

Use the Manufacturer’s Tool to Check Hard Drive Health

Computer users who know the name of the drive’s manufacturer can check the brand’s website to see if it has a disk utility tool available.

Use a Third-Party Tool

Some third-party tools can check the health of the hard drive and offer more information about its status than the built-in utilities. For Windows machines, try free software called CrystalDiskInfo. Mac users can use the free trial of DriveDX, but the software costs $19.99 after the trial expires.

Get Better Protection for Computers

Quality computers and components should last for several years. Of course, sometimes the unexpected will happen, like accidents, power surges, and premature wear. Meanwhile, manufacturer’s warranties only protect against defects for a short time. If a hard drive fails, the manufacturer might not consider it a defect.
To ensure prompt access to certified technicians in case of defects or wear, purchase an Upsie extended warranty for computers after buying a new or refurbished PC. Upsie’s laptop warranties also cover accidental damage. Highlights of Upsie computer warranties include:
  • 24-7 access to live claims reps by phone
  • Local or postage-paid, mail-in repairs
  • Protection against component and screen problems
Upsie charges less than other warranty companies and offers broader protection and more convenient access to qualified repair shops. If the company determines that they can’t reasonably fix the problem, they will offer a replacement. Spend time finding the perfect computer and then make the prudent choice to cover it with Upsie.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.