Check the Health of Your Hard Drives and Storage Devices with this Free Disk Scanner

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The hard drive on a PC is a crucial component and it pays to keep an eye on its health. There are a variety of programs designed to check or monitor the status of hard drives. (For example, see this list.) One kind of test involves scanning disks for bad sectors and errors. A free program of this type is Macrorit Disk Scanner. It was recently updated to version 2.9.0 and I thought I would take a look at it.

Although Windows comes with a native tool called Check Disk (chkdsk.exe), some PC users prefer third-party utilities. This one is very easy to use and is said to do quicker scans than Check Disk. The developer’s site is here. There are three download links on the page. Two larger ones are from the well-known download sources CNET and MajorGeeks. Beware of the CNET link, which is a bundleware link. You can use the MajorGeeks link but I prefer the small third link just below the MajorGeeks link. This third link downloads a portable version from the developer. This is a 2.68 MB EXE file that can be run from any convenient location. All current versions of Windows, 32- and 64-bit, are said to be supported. There is no disk repair function in the program.

The interface to Macrorit Disk Scanner is straightforward and an example is shown in the graphic below. A scan will show healthy disk sectors in green and bad ones in red. A feature of the program is that it can scan a wide variety of storage devices. According to the developer, the following devices are supported - DE HDD, SATA HDD, SCSI HDD, FireWire HDD, SSD, USB HDD, External HDD, Hardware RAID, Floppy drive, USB flash drive, Compact flash card, Secure Digital card, Memory card/Memory stick, Micro card, Zip drive, IPod.

Macrorit Disk Scanner

Although this utility is said to be faster than Windows Check Disk, a large drive of several terabytes is still going to take some hours for a complete scan. An unattended scan can be set to automatically shut down the computer when scanning is complete. Another feature of the program is the ability to only scan specified areas, saving some time. The program saves scan reports to a log file on the system for future reference.

If you need to keep track of the health of a lot of storage devices, this free utility could be something worth considering.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

By the way I like Gizmo for the free pearls of wisdon. I direct many readers to Gizmo. My Mom
at 70 loves the Gizmo site and Leo Notenboom's
too. She is getting pretty Tech Savvy. My Dad,
cannot find the "Enter" keys.

I do not see the Point of using this neat app seeing it fixes nothing. You still have to use a Utility to fix or by-pass bad sectors or Tracks. Windows has a decent one (Built on chkdsk c: /f /r). Is one long process and does not auto shutdown, but works fine and fixes bad sectors. I had a errors in my Bitmap and the Windows one fixed me up. But Thank you Gizmo for suggesting Major Geek for downloads, as it true CNet downloads is full of bundeled malware crap. I do not use CNet anymore due to this fact. I used Softpedia but my Antivirus on demand says it is registy malware and I manually remove it with regedit.

I like this type of program to do a quick surface scan test. They show if there are bad sectors developing on your drive. While its true you can fix these, it can take a very long (days) time to do so. And even then, your data may be unrecoverable.

So is it worth it to repair a drive, when you know that it is failing? Drives are cheap and so are imaging programs (Macrium Free).

When I see a drive failing, it gets replaced right away. Frequent disk imaging and a good backup program make swapping drives much easier.

Nice program, very simple and straightforward.

Interestingly, when it tries to access C:\Windows\System32\mda_ntdrv.sys, Qihoo 360 TS pops up with a trojan alert (Win32/Trojan.Adware.37e) but this is the only flag shown in Virus Total (1/57).

https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/82e5421289acd75b5c16b02fca4e77679ebfb...