The Windows operating system ships with a native disk scanner that you can use to scan a hard drive partition for errors and issues. You can run it by right-clicking a partition in Windows Explorer, selecting Properties, switching to the Tools tab and clicking on the check now button there.
The program can be configured to "try" and fix file system errors, an option that is selected by default, and to scan for and attempt to recovery bad sectors on the drive as well.
The first question that may come up is why you would want to use a third party tool if the Windows operating system ships with its own program for that.
There are quite a few answers for that. For one, a third party tool may provide you with better options or better performance.
Macrorit Disk Scanner is a free third party hard drive scanner for Windows. It is dead easy to use and ships with a couple of advantages over Check Disk.
For one, it is possible to select any hard drive or partition connected to the PC from its interface. It can scan the whole disk or partition, or only a select part of it. The latter option provides you with the means to speed up the scan by limiting the scan area on the disk.
Once you start a scan you may notice that it runs faster than the Check Disk scan. It may not be as obvious, especially not if you have not run Check Disk for a while though.
The program runs a scan on the disk highlighting healthy sectors in green and ones with errors in red. Statistics displayed at the top highlight the overall scan speed per minute, the number of errors that have been found, and other information about the selected disk.
The program saves the scan report in a log file on the system, so that you can access it at any time.
While it scans the device for errors, it does not offer to repair them which limits its use somewhat. It may still be useful thanks to its faster scanning speed. One option that you have is to use the program to scan the disk for errors. If you do not find any, you are done. If you find errors, you may want to run Check Disk to see if they can be repaired.
The only other option that the program makes available is to shut down the system after the scan.
If you are looking for a fast disk scanner then this program may fit the bill for you. It is free, compatible with all recent versions of Microsoft Windows - both client and server - and supports major storage device types such as IDE and SATA HDD and SSD, SCSI, FireWire, hardware RAID, flash cards and a lot more.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.