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View Full Version : Free hard drive diagnostic tool?




djc6
Sep 23, 2008, 08:29 AM
I'm looking for a tool to simply try and read every sector of the hard drive in my iMac.

In the PC world, I simply download the diagnostic tool from the hard drive manufacturer's website, burn it to a cd, boot it and let it run for a few hours. However, I've tried the diagnostic CD from Western Digital (the mfgr. for the HD in my iMac) AND the Hitachi diagnostic CD (known to work with any mfgr. hard drive) and neither will work. Both boot up into DOS, but because of the lack of a BIOS, the software won't run. Specifically, both applications make use of the "A20 gate" (address line) which isn't present on a mac.

Any ideas? The diagnostic test on the Leopard install DVD seems woefully inadequate. It seems to do a few random seeks and thats it.



nando2323
Sep 23, 2008, 09:08 AM
Have you tried researching the different switches that you can use with fsck?

djc6
Sep 23, 2008, 09:18 AM
Have you tried researching the different switches that you can use with fsck?

I think I've found what I need. I burned the Ubuntu Linux install disk, and you can boot off of it as a Live CD without installing anything. Once started up, I opened Terminal where I can use the 'badblocks' program to read/write every block of my iMac's hard drive.

After a couple minutes it found a whole string of bad blocks, which doesn't bode well, and it isn't even 2% through the disk yet!

nando2323
Sep 23, 2008, 09:40 AM
oooh that sucks big time, hope you have a backup of your stuff.

operator207
Sep 23, 2008, 02:47 PM
oooh that sucks big time, hope you have a backup of your stuff.

I would hope so too, as badblocks is "read/write" -ing to his HDD. As in writing over data.

If you ever get into something like this, you could probably boot into the live CD, and use dump to dump the drive, with errors to an external drive. Then boot (with luck) to that drive. I had to do that recently to a server. The OS drive failed to mount cleanly, and could not read certain blocks. So I did a dump, took 8 hours for ~50gig of data, and booted from the new drive. It had to run an fsck, but was able to correct the errors. 8 hours of dump is short compared to all the compile and setup time it would take to get that particular server back online by reinstalling everything.

Syros
Sep 23, 2008, 02:48 PM
I think you can get TechTool Deluxe for free From here (https://support.apple.com/techtooldeluxe/main?id=dl)

FYI, the sn of your machine is required


update: I just learn that the TechTool Deluxe is
only available with an AppleCare Protection Plan,
sorry for that

djc6
Sep 23, 2008, 05:00 PM
I would hope so too, as badblocks is "read/write" -ing to his HDD. As in writing over data.

I have a backup on my Time Capsule, first time I've had to use it :) I restored it to an external firewire drive to make sure the restore worked before I went and did a write test on my iMac's internal drive. I have NOT been able to restore to my internal drive, but the external drive worked fine, and I can boot off of it.

dwcasey
Sep 25, 2008, 08:48 AM
I have a backup on my Time Capsule, first time I've had to use it :) I restored it to an external firewire drive to make sure the restore worked before I went and did a write test on my iMac's internal drive. I have NOT been able to restore to my internal drive, but the external drive worked fine, and I can boot off of it.

Glad to know it works that way.

Cox Orange
Feb 21, 2011, 03:58 PM
I know this thread is old, but if someone searches this in the future, I'd like to add information.

I very much like SMART Utility by Volitan. You have 5 times free, after that you must buy it.

It monitors bad sectors, lowest and highest temperature the drive got over the cause of time, power-on hours (how many hours the drive was on), and much more, I do not know how reliable it is.
It reported me "pre failing", that may be just a warning due to the load-cycles the manufacturer guarantees the drive to work (everything else was fine).
I had another drive where it showed me 4 bad sectors. So it seems it can display bad sectors at least adequately.

http://www.volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php