Is Your Hard Disk Failing? Find Out Instantly.


Windows disk status toolYour hard disk, whether mechanical or solid-state (an SSD), holds all the files on your computer. Without it, the PC won't start up. Hard disks do sometimes fail, in which case you'll need to buy and fit a replacement. And, of course, copy all your programs and data onto it. Plus Windows itself. Which is why it's always sensible to keep good backups.

Modern hard disks use something called Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology, or SMART for short. It means that the drive regularly checks itself for possible errors and reports these to the operating system. By checking the status of your SMART data occasionally, you can find out whether your drive is at increased risk of failure. And, if it is, you can take extra steps to ensure you have backups and a replacement drive available.

Although there are plenty of free programs around that will report on your drives' SMART status, you can actually do it directly from Windows without the need to download or install anything. To do this, just open a command prompt by searching for the CMD.EXE program or the Command Prompt utility. Right-click it and choose Run As Administrator. You'll then be presented with a black screen into which you can type commands.

To check your drive status, the command you need is:


Press Return after typing the command. This will show you the model number and status of each physical drive in your system. Assuming the status is OK, then the drive is fine. Otherwise, look up the details of the status in your favourite search engine to find out more about the problems that are reported.

To exit the command prompt, type EXIT and press Return.

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My computer does NOT have a "Return" KEY on the Keyboard.
For anyone who ALSO cannot find the "Return" KEY on their Keyboard,
just use the "Enter" KEY. Since my Keyboard (And many others.) does not
have a "Return" KEY. I had to research the "Return" KEY to know what to hit.
So, the "Enter" KEY has the same function as the "Return" KEY ... Just hit
(I hope that this helps someone else that might also not know.)

P.S. GIZMO'S is the BEST!

You may see a longer load/start time or you may hear the disk re-seeking. That is an indication that you need to buy a replacement drive NOW. Hopefully ,you have a "Bare Metal Backup" and a recent Incremental or Differential backup to go with your last Full backup. If not you face reinstallation of all the software - then slave your failing drive and recover as much as you can before it quits entirely.

Aside from using this, what are some of the more common symptoms to look for, that indicate a hard disk may not be performing at maximum efficiency?