How to test a new drive for defects?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
frny
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:09 am

How to test a new drive for defects?

Post by frny » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:32 am

I am about to get my new drive from newegg - In the past I would just connect it and start using it but I've seen many reports of bad sectors and issue on new drives.

What should I look for and what utility should I use to test it?

Thanks
(the drive is a samsung F2 1.5TB)

RoGuE
Posts: 540
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:11 am
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Contact:

Re: How to test a new drive for defects?

Post by RoGuE » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:13 am

frny wrote:I am about to get my new drive from newegg - In the past I would just connect it and start using it but I've seen many reports of bad sectors and issue on new drives.

What should I look for and what utility should I use to test it?

Thanks
(the drive is a samsung F2 1.5TB)
um..do a smart test?

SMART tests access information in the drive that gives you all sorts of usefull things..and can ultimately tell you if something's up.

among other tools, speedfan has a built in SMART test modual that works well.

EekTheCat
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Indonesia

Post by EekTheCat » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:06 am

I always run some type of surface scanner/eraser before even partitioning a new drive. Look up MHDD. Been using this command-based DOS tool for years. It's fast and it can also do low-level format and change AAM, but requires the target drive to be set as master.
Have also tried HDTune's surface scan, but am not overly impressed.

whiic
Posts: 575
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:48 pm
Location: Finland

HDDScan

Post by whiic » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:30 am

MHDD is too hardcore for plain analysis. What I use MHDD is to artificially create fake bad sectors around real bad sectors to create a "safety zone" and preventing data corruption if more bad sectors are born (as they are likely born nearby old bads).

Other than creation of artificial bads, i.e doing just analysis, I use HDDScan since it supports all (or at least most) valuable scanning methods:
- read scan
- write scan
- verify scan (= read scan, but data is not transfered to motherboard from HDD, less system load)
- short SMART test (various tests defined by HDD manufacturer, incl. mechanical testing and partial verify scan)
- long SMART test (like short SMART test but full verify scan)
- conveniance SMART test (don't really know what it does.... maybe an intermediate between the two)
- SMART offline data collection routine (tells the drive to begin autonomous self-testing).

First three tests are done by HDDScan manually accessing address space (not by executing SMART commands). You can detect slow sectors and determine where on the disk they are located. You can selectively overwrite parts of HDD, or you can for example retest the HDD selectively. If you find "slow" sectors, it's better to verify them by re-reading them, to rule out the possibility that peaks in system load or unwanted HDD access may have caused momentary dips is performance. Just copy-paste contents from the report tab, then manually enter Start LBA and End LBA so that potentially faulty sectors lie withing that range. (Faster than re-scanning the whole drive.)

Oh, and did I mention that it unlike MHDD which needs to be run on DOS, HDDScan runs in Windows? And that it's a single-file executable? And that it can configure AAM and APM features to obtain lower acoustic noise output for HDDS?

Yeah! It is that AWESOME.

Shamgar
Posts: 454
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:49 am
Location: Where I Am

Post by Shamgar » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:56 am

frny wrote:What should I look for and what utility should I use to test it?

Thanks
(the drive is a samsung F2 1.5TB)
There are a number of tools available to test HDDs.

Firstly, it makes sense to start of with Samsung's ES Tool for a Samsung drive. You can run it from a floppy disk after booting into DOS (the 1.44MB disk won't hold both). Or better still, run it from a bootable USB flash drive if you have one. If link doesn't work for some reason, just search for ES Tool at http://www.samsung.com

Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) has several HDD testing tools, including Samsung's ES Tool. Some versions are a little dated but they should still tell you what you need to know. Plus it includes many other useful diagnostic and system utilities. (Use them at your own risk though!) It can be run from a bootable CD or USB flash drive. Just follow the instructions on their website.

Other HDD tools you can use later on:

CrystalDiskInfo - information
CrystalDiskMark - benchmarking
HDDScan - information, benchmarking and adjustments
HD Tach - benchmarking
HD Tune - information and benchmarking
Hitachi Feature Tool - adjusting drive's parameters like AAM
Speedfan - information, as well as system hardware monitoring and fan speed control

Note: depending on your hardware, operating system, drivers and BIOS, you may or may not be able to monitor S.M.A.R.T. data in Windows of a SATA drive run in AHCI mode. You can work around this if the problem arises by running the drive/s in Native IDE Mode. On a motherboard with an AWARD BIOS, from the main menu page go to Integrated Peripherals / OnChip SATA Type / select Native IDE. Depending on the motherboard you have and its BIOS, the options may be slightly different or not even be there at all. If it is a recent board, it should be there and easy enough to find. Look it up in the manual as you should be doing anyway.

If the drive is or becomes dodgy, you can always RMA it within the warranty.

DanceMan
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada

Post by DanceMan » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:30 pm

What Shamgar said.

Use the manufacturer's test utility. UBCD has all of them.

Post Reply