Quickly Check Hard Drive Health


hard-drive-failureHard drive failure can undoubtedly be one of the most disastrous hardware issues faced by PC users, often resulting in lost data or an unusable operating system. However, almost all hard drives these days include a feature called SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting) Technology which monitors connected hard drives for errors.

Periodically checking your hard drive health is not a bad idea, especially older drives, and while there are lots of free and premium SMART based tools which provide a wealth of information, if you just want a quick and easy way to check your hard drive(s) status without needing to download any additional software, here’s how:

Using Command Prompt to Check Hard Drive Status

First off, you’ll need to open an elevated command prompt – in Windows 8.1 and 10, simply right click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin):

winX-command prompt admin option

In Windows 7 – open the start menu, type CMD into the Start menu search box. When CMD appears at the top of the list, right-click and choose “Run as Administrator”.

Now, in the elevated command prompt, type in the following command (or better still, copy and paste): WMIC DISKDRIVE GET MODEL,STATUS  – then hit Enter.

You’ll receive and instant status report for all connected drives, including external USB drives:


command prompt-check drives

Hopefully, your results will look very similar to mine in the above screenshot – all OK. If you do happen to receive an error message or code, look them up online. *NOTE: because different manufactures often use different parameters you may need to include the make of the drive in your search term.

Most importantly of all, as we always urge here at DCT, make sure to backup everything regularly and often. Regular backups are the best and probably only viable precaution for hard drive failure. If your drive suddenly fails catastrophically, you’ll be very glad you did.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a more reliable and thorough examination of your hard drive(s) health, this free and portable software called CrystalDiskInfo is, in my opinion, among the very best: CrystalDiskInfo Downloads

crystaldiskinfo-download portable

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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