I think my Hard Drive is faulty, how do I test it?

If your computer or laptop is freezing, or perhaps you are getting the dreaded “Blue Screen Of Death”, then there is the possibility that your Hard Drive is faulty.

Many people who call me with a Computer Problem tell me that they have re-installed Windows, but withing a few weeks or months, their PC is freezing and misbehaving again.

If this is the case, then there is a high probability that you have a faulty Hard Drive.  Specifically, Bad Sectors on the Hard Drive.

So what are Bad Sectors I hear you say.

To understand that, you need to understand how a Hard Drive is constructed.

Hard Drive Internals

Inside a traditional Hard Drive.
Click on image for larger view.

Looking at the image to the left, you will see that inside a Hard Drive there are several “Platters”.

Each of these Platters is coated with a magnetic material.

You will also see an “arm” which houses the pickup head that reads the magnetic changes (data).

The head is less than a hairs width in height above the platter surface.

If that magnetic material starts to break down, either naturally or from a Head Crash because it has be knocked heavily, then the result is Bad Sectors.

Bad Sectors will cause the Hard Drive to have difficulty reading or writing data, causing the PC or Laptop to misbehave, either freezing, crashing, slowing down, or just generally not doing what it’s supposed to do.

So how do you test your Hard Drive to find out if you have Bad Sectors?

Well first off, identify the manufacturer. Then visit their website and look for their support area. In here you will usually find Diagnostic Software that is available for download. If available, download the ISO file so you can burn a bootable disk.

As an example, the Seagate Diagnostics ISO is available here.

Once you have burnt the Disk, reboot your PC or Laptop and boot from the newly created disk.

You will normally have the choice of a Basic test or a Long test.

I always do the Long test.

Well that’s all there is to it. Run the test and see what it shows up 😉

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