Test hard drives for bad sectors with Hard Disk Validator

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 30, 2018

Hard Disk Validator is a free portable program for Microsoft Windows devices to test any connected hard drive for bad sectors and related issues.

Failing hard drives are quite the problem. While it is possible to mitigate data loss with the creation of regular backups, it is also necessary to find a suitable replacement for the drive, connect it to the PC and migrate data to it.

Hard drives are made up of sectors that data gets written to and checksums that should match the data of a sector. The checksum data does not match the data of the sector in bad sectors; this can be caused by power outages, unexpected restarts, failing hard drives, and other issues, for instance the one that throws "The memory could not be written" error messages.

Hard Disk Validator may be used to run a series of checks on hard drives to find out of they have bad sectors or are becoming less reliable in other areas.

You can run Hard Disk Validator directly after you have downloaded the archive to the local system and extracted it. Note that it requires an older version of the .Net Framework, and that it may be installed during setup on newer versions of the Windows operating system.

We have reviewed comparable programs in the best. Check out HDDScan, Disk Scanner, or HDD Guardian to name just a few.

Hard Disk Validator

hard disk validator

The program interface is straightforward. Select one of the connected drives at the top, and then one of the available test scenarios on the right. Note that the developer suggests to run only read tests on the operating system drive. He suggests to either connect the drive to a secondary PC to run the test, or boot into a recovery environment to run it from there.

As always, it is recommended to create a backup of the entire hard drive before you use Hard Disk Validator.

You may run the following four operations:

  • Read -- tests read capabilities. Will test all sectors of the hard drive to find bad sectors.
  • Read - Wipe Damaged - Read -- Same as above. Only difference is that the program attempts to overwrite bad sectors to read again from them to verify if they are okay.
  • Read - Write - Verify - Restore -- Writes test patterns to disk to verify them to make sure sectors are okay. Restores the original data afterward.
  • Write - Verify -- Same as above but without the restoration of the original data.

Tests take different execution times with read being the fastest. The program displays all sectors of the hard drive and uses color codes to indicate the status of the sector. Green means everything is okay and red that the sector is damaged.

Closing Words

Hard Disk Validator is a program that you run when you suspect that a hard drive may be failing, or for verification on a regular schedule. There is no option to schedule scans so that you have to run the program manually whenever you want to verify hard drives.

The program reveals bad sectors of hard drives to you and may be used to fix them if the issue has not been caused by hardware failures.

Now You: Do you check your drives regularly?

software image
Author Rating
4 based on 5 votes
Software Name
Hard Disk Validator
Operating System
Software Category
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Luc said on August 5, 2018 at 3:31 am

    Launched Hard Disk Validator 1.0.7 in “Read + Write + Verify + Restore Test” mode. It crashed with a .Net error. The disk is no longer recognised by Windows as valid, with a message that it requires formatting.

  2. Simon said on August 3, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Went to landing page, spent 20+ minutes looking everywhere,
    but could not find the actual program file. The only zip file that I
    could find to download (HardDiskValidator-master) contains raw programming
    files, but no exe file. How do I download this
    program from that landing page?


    1. Hayley said on August 4, 2018 at 10:10 am

      The actual download link is under the GitHub releases tag, here: https://github.com/TalAloni/HardDiskValidator/releases/latest
      Make sure to select the top file, rather than the source code. :)

      1. Simon said on August 5, 2018 at 1:21 am


  3. Brent Jones said on July 31, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you, Martin. I was looking to do HD tests. Tried one from Windows and it caused minor errors. I’m going to transfer everything to an SSD. Any suggestions? Don’t defrag an SSD, right?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 31, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      New versions of Windows handle SSDs well so no need to run extra defrag software unless you require its extra functionality.

  4. Brent R Jones said on July 31, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you, Martin. I was looking to do HD tests. Tried one from Windows and it caused minor errors. I’m going to transfer everything to an SSD. Any suggestions? Don’t defrag an SSD, right?

  5. George said on July 31, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I found some of the comments odd, particuarly the guy who stopped using a piece of software because it was no longer being updated. If it does the job, on the os you’re running, why would you care?

    I still use TrueCrypt and see no reason to change. In fact there are resons to stick with old stuff, if it is no longer updated then dev is not under pressure to create back door (obviously not the case if its open source) , no errors created by updates (and we’ve all had that) and if the sheep have stopped using a piece of software then it is no longer a target for “the bad people”.

  6. Anonymous said on July 30, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Ha! I was just thinking the same thing about using chkdsk /r Isn’t that the same thing?

  7. Emil said on July 30, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I use Parted Magic to run the actual drive self tests… quite a different thing. I think this here for windows is just some very outdated snake oil ;-)

  8. ilev said on July 30, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Are any of these drive tests apps better than running : chkdsk x /f /r ?

    1. Q said on July 31, 2018 at 10:02 pm

      The tools are for different things. The CHKDSK utility is used to check file systems; whereas, Hard Disk Validator is used to test the physical disks.

    2. isaac newton said on July 31, 2018 at 1:26 am

      yeah they are better. One thing about these test apps is that, they do better internal checks.

  9. Tony said on July 30, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Martin. What version of .NET is this going to install?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 31, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      It requires the .Net Framework 3.5.

      1. Tony said on August 3, 2018 at 9:09 pm

        Thanks Martin.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      I’m not at home right now but think it was .Net Framework 3.

      1. Tony said on July 31, 2018 at 3:31 am

        Thanks Martin. Can you confirm the version number when you get home?

  10. Paul(us) said on July 30, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    I personly right now are using Acronis Drive Monitor (Drive health monitor utility) and the WD Caviar Blue – SE – SE16 (Western Digital SATA II) (hard disk plate test) and for years I had SpeedFan.
    Another favorite of main is the freeware stress test tool HeavyLoad 3.4.. But this one is on the way out because there is no maintenance anymore for quite some time.
    The freeware program Speedfan I just threw out because I convinced that the project has been abounded because for quite a while ((2015-02-22) there are no updates anymore.

    I have a question concerning (I know 100 % sure is impossible) how sure are you Martin (Or anybody else) that during the test and repair procedure:
    Read + Wipe Damaged + Read
    or the procedure
    Read + Write + Verify + Restore
    there will be no damage to any other data on the system or the hard disk (Incl boot section) surface?

    1. EP said on August 1, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      @Paul(us): what version of Speedfan do you have? I have Speedfan 4.52 which was released in mid-2016 and is working well.

      1. Hayley said on August 4, 2018 at 10:20 am

        Update: It turns out my issues were due to a conflict between Speedfan and BattlEye anti-cheat software, which is implemented in a number of popular games like PUBG, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, etc. BattlEye straight up disables SpeedFan, so if you’re using it for temperatures or fan control, it can cause crashes, system hangs, or even hardware damage. The reason for this block is because security exploits exist for the driver SpeedFan relies upon. I’d avise being cautious if continuing to use it.

      2. Hayley said on August 4, 2018 at 9:54 am

        I’m still using Speedfan also, but I’ve found it’s gotten inconsistent over time. Sometimes I’ll launch it and it won’t display all temperatures, or some will be glitched. Additionally, a number of users of Ryzen processors have noted that it fails to work with certain motherboard configurations. Two years is quite some time in the computing world, after all. I hope it gets an update soon, but it might be getting time to move on.

  11. Anonymous said on July 30, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Is there a checker for ubuntu?

    1. Anon said on July 30, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      Yes, GSmartControl (among others). It’s in the repos as well.

      sudo apt install gsmartcontrol

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