Program to test hard drive?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by drake, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. drake macrumors 6502a


    Jul 5, 2005
    Wondering if there are any programs out there that will test a hard drive in a Macbook, other than the Disk Utility provided. Want to check SMART status, for any dead sectors, etc.
  2. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    Other than OS X's Disk Utility, the only other app I know of which performs this type of function is SmartReporter - it might do the trick for you... :cool:
  3. drake thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 5, 2005
    Thanks. I was thinking along the lines of a Seagate Tools, WD Diagnostic that works for OS X.
  4. Cox Orange, Feb 21, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

    Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    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.

    PPC and Intel.

    Unfortunately it works only for internal drives. There is SMART AP by InXtron/Macpower that can give you a SMART report of external drives, but it only works with the manufacturers own drives.
  5. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
  6. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    The shame is, there is actually no software for Macs that can check for bad sectors et cetera on external drives!
  7. gunterwagner macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2011
    bad sectors on external drives

    Well, there is TechTool Pro, which amongst other things does exactly this (checking for bad sectors on any internal or external drive), but unfortunately this is a quite expensive program.
  8. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    looks good. Unfortunately again nothing for 10.4-Users and it is not for free.

    Under your link it says requires Intel 10.5 and under cnet it says it was for PPC and Intel 10.5 and up. The version number is the same.
    If I had 10.5 installed, it would be interesting, whether this is really for Intel only or not.
  9. Flotsch89 macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2012
    Disk really broken?

    hi guys,

    thanks for the recommended software. I just tested SMART Utility because my second internal disk isn't working anymore and I can't format it using Disk Utility. Well, looks pretty bad as you can see in the screenshot.
    However, is the disk really physically broken our is there any chance to repair or format it again? I just bought the disk two weeks - that sucks! :/


    Attached Files:

  10. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    I don't have much faith in using SMART status to monitor a drive. If you experience a single head crash, many of those utilities will start providing what looks like an "imminent doom" status, even though the drive may still be correctable and work for years. I don't believe SMART monitoring actually reports where the failures on a surface scan are, just that they exist.

    For me, nothing beats a real surface scan. I think the two best tools on the market for that are TechTool Pro and Scannerz.

    TechTool Pro:


    Each of these has its plusses and minuses. TechTool Pro has SMART monitoring in the program, and it can perform a somewhat crude surface scan. It also has a lot of other features.

    Scannerz does drive and system testing only. I think it does a more thorough job of scanning and that's really all it does, but then again it's a lot cheaper.

    The nice thing about either of these is that they can both tell you where the drive problems are. If a drive has bad sectors in a limited region, the drive can be reformatted and the bad sectors reallocated to spares. I've seen drives like this last for years, but SMART tests continue to report "imminent doom." If the drive has severe damage, so much that it will eat up all the spare sectors and still not be fixed, you can often partition out the bad region of the drive and put the drive right back into use. I know of one guy that did this on a drive on an iBook G4 w/100G drive and he's been using it like this without problems for about 4 years.

    I think the trick to do this on a single volume drive is to create a volume that ends before the damage begins, create a volume that starts and ends right before and after the damaged region, and then a final partition for the rest of the drive. After you do this, highlight and delete the volume containing the bad sectors. You end up with a two volume drive, but hey, it's usable!
  11. MacRobert10 macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2012
    I'd second Scannerz any day. Although that company seems to like to make a big deal about it being able to help you isolate things like cable faults, bad connections, and even logic board problems, it can point out actual hard drive problems that are missed by TTP, and I assume the others as well.

    A neighbor asked me to test out his external FireWire drive because he was getting spinning beach balls when using it. He forked over $99 for TTP and it told him everything was OK. I scanned it with Scannerz and it picked up several blocks of consistent but serious irregularities. In Scannerz-ese, as far as the surface of a platter goes, an irregularity is a sector or sectors that are readable (they won't fail a test) even though they're taking abnormally long (in this case, some were taking up to 15 secs to read). I believe TTP and other similar tools see this as a "non-problem" because there's not an actual I/O error created.

    We reformatted and zeroed the drive which apparently remapped the bad sectors out, rescanned it with both TTP and Scannerz, and it appeared fixed.

    I don't know what causes semi-failing sectors to exist, maybe it's a partial head crash, maybe it's just a bad media. I think Windows users often refer to these types of sectors as "Brown sectors."

    Maybe someone more knowledgeable can elaborate. I should add that TTP is sort of like a Swiss Army knife with many tools rolled into one, whereas Scannerz is more or less laser focussed on one task, but very good at it.
  12. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    That happened with TTP and other old products because it didn't generate an I/O error. Simple scanning products like TTP look only for I/O errors. That's not really a good thing because if you had an intermittent break in a cable, like a FireWire or USB cable you could get the same result, even though the drive is in good shape.

    The bad thing about a weak sector, that Scannerz sees as a type of irregularity, is that the drive itself may not mark or re-map the sector if the amount of time is within what the drive sees as "acceptable bounds." On some old drives this can be seconds. Now picture this sector being holding a cache file for something like Safari and it needs to be read many times in a few minutes - a spinning beach ball fest, for sure.

    Tools like TechTool Pro and Drive Genius are "Swiss Army Knives" in that the do many things, most of them reasonably well, whereas tools like Disk Warrior, Scannerz, and all the SMART reporters available are quite specific and they focus on going above and beyond the others in what they specialize in. If I were to put together a kit for my own use, it would have Disk Warrior for indexing and recovery problems, Scannerz for tracing hard drive and hardware problems, and smartctl (smartmontools). Of course SMART monitoring on most external drives on OS X is impossible.

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