Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Software for testing disk drives?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Nashville, TN usa
    Posts
    198

    Default Software for testing disk drives?

    Do you guys have any suggestions for software (preferably free) that does a good job of checking drives for possible bad sectors, and for checking to see if a drive may be working its way to a failure? I have started to have trouble with random KPs, usually when playing video files and frequently (but not always) just after locating to a different spot in the file. I haven't finished diagnosing by moving video files to a different drive to test, but thought I might start by checking this drive first.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    Professional Mixing Services

    Dual 1GB G4 MDD / 1GB RAM / OS 10.4.11 / UAD-1 / MOTU 1296 + 2408MKii on PCI-424 / MTP-AV / Acard RAID / LogicPro 7.2.3 / LogicControl / DSP-Quattro 2 / ProTools LE 6.9.2 / TriToneDigital's HydraTone, ValveTone, PhaseTone, ColorTonePro, AngelTone / ElementalAudio's complete line / U-he's Zebra2, Filterscape, MfM2

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Boise
    Posts
    988

    Default

    I hate to state the obvious, but, back it up first. If you have done that, then, I don't know any for free. Drive Genius will check sectors and block the bad ones. I don't think any software will predict drive failure, but sure as sunshine someone will prove me wrong, but I've never heard about it.

    KP's could be RAM too, I think that software to test RAM is memtest and is free.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    on the landline, Mr. Smith
    Posts
    7,784

    Default

    There is an older tool that is still around (and being kept up to date) called Speed Tools, that can do several different sort of HD tests, including for bad blocks. Not free, though a free version is distributed with some hardware. Similar to Drive Genius, but other benchmarking and load testing tools too. I have seen it rebranded as another tool......though I can't recall the rebranded name.

    One free option: clone your system to a backup up, confirm it is good (boot to it), and erase the HD using the security feature. This will write zeros to the entire drive, which will map out and retire all bad blocks.

    Things to consider:

    - Zeroing a drive takes a long time (depending on the size, could be a few hours, or more)

    - If Disk Utility cannot get past a bad section, it may lock up, and you have to force quit. Doing this can sometimes kill a drive. Not bad if you think about.....if it is going to die, better now then while you are working, lose data, and have to replace it anyway.

    - Zeroing a drive stresses it pretty hard, and the host machine a bit too. It will be notably warm, and you can't cancel once started.

    All in all, likely the best stress test out there, and free.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Nashville, TN usa
    Posts
    198

    Default

    Thanks for the responses. It appears that Memtest is no longer free ($1.39 via paypal), but Rember is, so I'm in the process of using that to run RAM tests. So far it all checks out ok.

    This isn't my boot drive. It's a fairly large external backup disk. I used to own Speed Disk, back in the OS9 days but refused to pay what seemed to be a too hefty fee to 'upgrade' to their OSX version when that came out.

    So we'll see what the tests for RAM look like when they're done. Not quite sure where to go from here, but I'll figure it out. I just thought you guys might know of some magical and easy way to test the physical space on the drive, since I have some suspicion that may be the problem. I guess the real test would be to clone the drive's contents to another disk and see if the KPs continue or not. That could take a while to determine, since the KPs are fairly random (not associated with a specific file).

    Thanks for your suggestions and comments.
    Professional Mixing Services

    Dual 1GB G4 MDD / 1GB RAM / OS 10.4.11 / UAD-1 / MOTU 1296 + 2408MKii on PCI-424 / MTP-AV / Acard RAID / LogicPro 7.2.3 / LogicControl / DSP-Quattro 2 / ProTools LE 6.9.2 / TriToneDigital's HydraTone, ValveTone, PhaseTone, ColorTonePro, AngelTone / ElementalAudio's complete line / U-he's Zebra2, Filterscape, MfM2

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Grangeville, ID USA
    Posts
    9,119

    Default

    Memtest is actually built into the Unix operating system code. Rember is a GUI that uses Memtest since the Unix code Memtest by itself has to be accessed using Terminal commands. I'll bet anything you find called Memtest that you have to purchase is a waste of money.

    I stopped being a fan of Speedtools when they stopped answering tech support calls LONG ago. I have absolutely no use for them.

    Zeroing a drive is a great test.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Nashville, TN usa
    Posts
    198

    Default

    Update:

    RAM tested ok.

    After Unclemac mentioned HDST, I got to thinking... I checked and found that I still have the old OS9 version installed, so I booted into OS9 (first time a years!) and ran it on the suspect drive. No errors. I realized I had let my main boot drive get bloated and really full, so I got rid of several gigs worth of old stuff. That may have been the problem. I'll check now to see if the problem persists.

    Another issue which may be related: Lately SystemUIserver will frequently lock up on me. Does anyone know what might cause this? I'll be surfing along then suddenly will appear to have no wireless connection.. open Activity Monitor and find SystemUIserver is either 'not responding' or is locked in at 100% of processor 1.
    Professional Mixing Services

    Dual 1GB G4 MDD / 1GB RAM / OS 10.4.11 / UAD-1 / MOTU 1296 + 2408MKii on PCI-424 / MTP-AV / Acard RAID / LogicPro 7.2.3 / LogicControl / DSP-Quattro 2 / ProTools LE 6.9.2 / TriToneDigital's HydraTone, ValveTone, PhaseTone, ColorTonePro, AngelTone / ElementalAudio's complete line / U-he's Zebra2, Filterscape, MfM2

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    on the landline, Mr. Smith
    Posts
    7,784

    Default

    Ah, here it is: DiskTools Pro. As I said, this appears to be a licensed/rebranded version of SpeedTools.

    Have used recent version of SpeedTools, and it was useful, with no apparent issues or problems.

    One note: though it can defragment files, it does not appear to defragment hard drives. So although the files appear to be defragmented (rewritten into contiguous blocks on the HD), they are not moved to be put in a an optimized order, closer to the fastest part of the drive, and removing open blocks between them, like most defragmentation tools do. Useful, but an important limitation.

    I find SpeedTools somewhat useful......though I admit I doubt I would buy this utility, when zeroing a drive is easy and fee. Testing throughput can be done with a variety of paid and free tools, like this. As mentioned, the defrag tool is nothing to get excited about.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •