How to check the health of your disk drive in Windows

Today I’m going to walk you through how to check the health of your disk drive. A very common cause of data loss is disk drive failure. This is something we have covered before here at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey but is so important it is worth going over again. As the main data storage medium for our customers, we get to see all kinds of hard drives in all kinds of states.

I’ll show you how to check your drive status so you can pre-empt drive failure before you lose any data. You can then replace the drive and copy your data across and hopefully, you will never need Dave’s Computers’ data recovery services.


Most newer hard drives will use Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting (SMART) which is built into the drive’s firmware. This is designed to monitor drive status and alert you if any errors occur. Your computer may have software pre-installed that will alert you of any issues or you can use Windows Event Viewer to see them.

If you suspect your drive has problems by it slowing down, losing data or saying it cannot read or write, it’s time to check it out.

  1. Type ‘cmd’ into the Windows Search box, right click Command Line and select Open and Administrator.
  2. Type ‘wmic’ and hit Enter.
  3. Type ‘diskdrive get status’ and hit Enter.

You will see a very simple return under Status. If everything is fine, you will see OK in the window. If there are potential problems, you may see ‘Pred fail’ or other message, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

  1. Download the standard Crystal Disk Info tool from here.
  2. Install and start the program and give it time to run its tests.
  3. Select each disk in turn to see detailed stats.

If you see Good, your drive is fine. If you see Caution or Bad, you need to back up your data in case you lose it. The drive is still repairable but vulnerable to data loss.

Repairing a bad drive

If all you see are read or write errors, you can potentially fix those yourself. From within Windows, you can use the built-in disk checking utility. Mac have their own Disk Utility which can achieve the same goal. The process takes a long time, a few hours on average, so run it when you have the spare time.

If you closed the command line window from above, we need to reopen it.

  1. Type ‘cmd’ into the Windows Search box, right click Command Line and select Open and Administrator.
  2. Type ‘chkdsk /r’ and hit Enter.

Leave the process to run without doing anything on that drive. So if you see errors on your main C: drive, run it overnight without touching your PC. If it’s a secondary drive, you can use your PC but don’t read from or write to that drive.

If the disk utility finds any errors it will try to fix them itself. If you’re fortunate, further tests will be clear. If you’re not, you may need to consider bringing the disk to us here at Dave’s Computers or replacing it.