How To Check Hard Disk Health In Windows 10 /7 /8.1

Checking the health of the hard disk is essential to understand if it is about to break. Prevention, as the saying goes, is better than cure. It is always a good practice to keep some diagnostic tools at hand to make sure that your hardware configuration is in excellent health. Particular importance must undoubtedly be kept with regard to the hard disk (or hard disks), the place where all our most important data are usually stored.

Whether it is a mechanical disk or an SSD, it is essential to ensure that they continue to function properly and to realize well in advance when a disk is subject to wear, so that it can be replaced in time without having to face the irremediable data loss.

The tools that allow you to check the health of the hard disk are numerous. In this guide we will focus on Windows and a program that, in a few seconds, will be able to give a complete picture of the situation.

It is CrtstalDiskInfo, available for Windows (from Vista to 10) both in the installer and portable version.

My advice is to download the portable version of the program, so as to have it available at any time – even on a USB stick –  without installing it on the operating system.  

The installable version is almost the same,  however since it is an ad-supported program you could run into the involuntary installation of toolbars and the like if you do not pay particular attention to the setup program.

In all cases the two versions are equally valid; you can download CrystaldiskInfo both portable and installer using the link below:

DOWNLOAD | CrystalDiskInfo – Installer

DOWNLOAD | CrystalDiskInfo – Portable

NB: CrystalDiskInfo is part of our portable diagnostic suite.

In case you are looking for a method to perform the same operation on Linux you can consult our dedicated article.

How to use CrystalDiskInfo

Once extracted (or installed) the program you will simply have to start the relative executable (present in the archive for the portable version or on the desktop, in the Start menu or in the Start Screen for the installer version). After a few seconds you will have an account of the health of your disk.

Notice how all the details related to your disk are present (firmware, serial number, Interface, drive letters and supported functions), the health status of the disk (which can be “Good”, “At Risk” and “Dangerous) and all the details relating to its operation (the number of reading errors, the reallocated sectors, navigation errors (seek), uncorrectable errors and so on).

In general:

  • a disk in “good” condition is a fully usable disk that should be checked sporadically, except for power surges or sudden computer shutdowns (in this case it is advisable to re-scan);
  • “at risk” disk is a usable disk which, however, should be checked often, in order to avoid the onset of malfunctions and the consequent loss of data;
  • “dangerous” disk is a disk that can hardly be used but that could stop working correctly at any moment; in this case it is recommended, if you are not able to purchase a new support, to make at least a backup of important data;

If the disks were more than one, you can exchange between the views using the small panel at the top (note how my second disk is “At risk” due to the high number of reallocated sectors).

The program also allows you to set customized alert thresholds, to set statistics updates on a regular basis and much more.

In short, CrystalDiskInfo is a tool to be kept definitely at hand and to be consulted in case of suspicions, taking care to limit its execution to a minimum if you analyze an SSD.