HDDScan – free HDD diagnostic utility

/ Ver. 3.3 /

HDDScan is a freeware utility for hard drive diagnostics (RAID arrays, Flash USB and SSD drives are also supported). The program can test storage device for errors (Bad-blocks and bad sectors), show S.M.A.R.T. attributes and change some HDD parameters such as AAM, APM, etc.

HDDScan can be useful for performing the regular "health test" for your drive and predicting its degradation, so you will be able to prevent data loss and backup your files before you will have to contact the data recovery service.

Additionally, software can be used as the hard disk temperature monitor and reading/writing benchmark – performance graph is displayed for every test.


Don't miss our new article: Data Recovery for Dummies

Capabilities and requirements:

Supported storage devices:
  • IDE (ATA) and SATA HDD.
  • External USB drives and all major USB boxes (see Appendix A).
  • FireWire or IEEE 1394 HDD (see Appendix A).
  • RAID volumes made of ATA (IDE) / SATA / SCSI HDDs (surface tests only).
  • USB Flash (pen drives) – surface tests only.
  • SATA / ATA SSD – solid state drives (NEW).
Storage device tests:
  • Verification in linear mode – helps to determine if your drive needs data rescue, has recoverable errors or in its perfect shape.
  • Reading in linear mode – simpler, but faster disk check.
  • Erasing in linear mode.
  • Reading in Butterfly mode (synthetic random read).
  • Reading and analyzing SMART parameters from ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire HDD.
  • Reading and analyzing Log Pages from SCSI HDD.
  • SMART tests running on ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire HDD.
  • Temperature monitor for ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire/SCSI HDD.
Additional features:
  • Reading and analyzing identity information from ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire/SCSI HDD.
  • Changing AAM, APM, PM parameters on ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire HDD.
  • Reporting defect information on SCSI HDD.
  • Spindle start/stop function on ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire/SCSI HDD.
  • Reports can be saved in MHT format.
  • Reports can be printed.
  • Skins support.
  • Command line support.
  • SSD SMART and Identity reports (NEW).
  • PC with CPU 1.5 GHz and RAM 256 Mb.
  • OS Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2 or SP3, Windows Server 2003 (with restrictions), Windows Vista (NEW) or Windows 7 (NEW).
  • The program shouldn’t be run from a read-only device/media.

User interface

Main view

Pic.1 Main view

Control elements:
  • Select Drive drop box - contains list of supported storage devices in a system. List contains models and serial numbers of devices. Icon defines possible device.
  • S.M.A.R.T. button – generates S.M.A.R.T. attributes report.
  • Tasks button – shows pop-up menu with tasks
  • Surface Tests element – opens Test selection windows (see Pic.2)
  • S.M.A.R.T. element – same as S.M.A.R.T. button click
  • S.M.A.R.T. Offline Tests – activates submenu with Short, Extended and Conveyance S.M.A.R.T. tests.
  • Temperature Monitor element – starts temperature monitoring task.
  • Features element – activates Features submenus.
  • Identity Info element – generates Identity information report.
  • Skin selection – opens dialog to select skin.

Test selection window

Pic.2 Test selection window

Control elements:
  • Start LBA field – determines first logical sector number for testing.
  • End LBA field – determines last logical sector number for testing.
  • Block Size field – determines block size for testing (in logical sectors).
  • Test radio buttons – select type of the test.
  • Add Test button – adds test into a tests’ queue.
Tests capabilities and limitations:
  • Can be started only one test at a time. Author wasn’t able to get stable test results with two or more simultaneous tests.
  • Verify test may have restriction on Block Size with 256, 16384 or 65536 sectors because of Windows limitations.
  • Verify test may work in improper way on USB/Flash devices.
  • In Verify mode device reads block of data into internal buffer only and checks for consistency, there is no data transferring through interface connector. The program measures operation time for each block. The program tests blocks one by one from minimum to maximum.
  • In Read mode device reads block of data and transfers it thorough interface. The program reads block of data into temporary buffer and measures time of operation for each block. The program tests blocks one by one from minimum to maximum.
  • In Erase mode the program prepares block of data field with special pattern and number of logical sector. The program sends the block of data to drive and drive writes the block (All data in the block on drive will be overwritten and gone forever!) The program measures operation time for each block. The program tests blocks one by one from minimum to maximum.
  • Butterfly Read mode is similar to Read mode difference only in blocks’ order. Blocks are tested by pairs. The first block in the first pair will be Block 0, the second block in the first pair will be Block N (where N is number of last block for testing). Next pair will be Block 1 and Block N-1. Test ends in the middle of testing area. The program measures operation time.

Test Manager window

Pic.3 Test Manager window

This window contains test queue. All test, S.M.A.R.T. test and Temperature Monitor tests go right to the Test Manager. Manager allows deleting tests from queue; some test could be paused or stopped.

Double click on a task to open task information window.

Pic.4 Task information window example

Test information window

This window contains information about test. Test could be paused or stopped and report with results can be generated.

Graph Tab:

Shows testing speed for each block. Information is showing as a graph.

Pic.5 Graph tab

Map Tab:

Shows testing time for each block. Information is showing as a map.

Pic.6 Map tab

Report Tab:

Contains information about test and each block with testing time more than 50 ms.

Pic.7 Report tab

Identity information

Report contains information about physical and logical parameters of HDD. Report can be saved as MHT file.

Pic.8 Identity information example for ATA/SATA HDD

Pic.9 Identity information example for SCSI HDD

S.M.A.R.T. report

Report contains information about performance and "health" of your HDD or SSD (appropriate SMART attributes). Green icon means that attribute value is normal. Yellow icon marks important attributes which may indicate malfunction. Red icon shows abnormal attribute values.

Report can be saved as MHT file.

Pic.10 SMART report example for SATA / ATA HDD

Pic.11 S.M.A.R.T. report example for SCSI HDD

Pic. 11a SSD SMART report example

SSD SMART Monitor report

Pic. 11b Solid State Drive S.M.A.R.T. attributes

SSD S.M.A.R.T. attributes

Temperature monitor

Monitor allows evaluating HDD's temperature. Temperature is indicated on the Task bar and in an information window. Pic.12 shows temperature for two drives.

Pic.12 Temperature monitors on the Task bar

For ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire drives the information widow shows two values. The second value is shown on the Task bar.

The first value indicates temperature from Airflow Temperature attribute; the second value indicates temperature from HDA Temperature attribute.

Pic.13 Temperature monitor for ATA/SATA HDD

For SCSI drives the information window shows two values. The second value is shown on the Task bar.

The first value indicates maximum allowed temperature for HDD; the second value indicates current temperature.

Pic.14 Temperature monitor for SCSI HDD

S.M.A.R.T. tests

The program allows running three kinds of tests:
  1. Short test – lasts about 1-2 minutes. The test inspects drive’s main schemas, scans small part of drive’s surface and checks sectors from the Pending-list (such sectors may have read errors). This test recommended for quick drive testing.
  2. Extended test – lasts 0.5-2 hours. The test inspects drive’s main schemas and scans the whole drive’s surface.
  3. Conveyance test – usually lasts several minutes. The test inspects drive’s main schemas and logs which may indicate inaccurate transportation or storing.

Pic.15 S.M.A.R.T. test information window

Additional features

The program allows changing some parameters for ATA/SATA/USB/FireWire HDD:
  1. AAM – this function changes drive’s acoustic. If this function is enabled drive’s noise may be decreased by smoothing HSA’s seek operations. HDD could lose some performance.
  2. APM – this function allows power savings by temporary decreasing spindle’s rotation speed (including complete stop) when drive is in idle.
  3. PM – this function allows setting spin-down timer. If drive is in idle spindle will be stopped after the time set in the timer. If any program requests HDD access timer will be reset and spindle will spin up.
  4. Disable Seagate PM – theoretically should turn off some Seagate drives spin-down timer but I was unable to find drives where this command would work.
  5. The program can also start or stop spindle immediately. If any program requests HDD access drive’s spindle will spin up.

Pic.16 Features window for ATA/SATA HDD

The program can show defect-lists and start or stop spindle for SCSI drives.

Pic.17 Features window for SCSI HDD

Skin usage

Program uses AlphaSkins component which allows user selecting new skins for application.

You can download skins from here - http://www.alphaskins.com/asdwnld.php

You can find a manual how to create your own skin on that site too.

Create Skins subdirectory in the directory where HDDScan.exe file is located. Download and copy skins to that subdirectory. Open Skin Selection dialog. Press Select Skin button and choose desired skin. Program will create main.ini file that file will store information about current skin. If you delete main.ini file program will use default internal skin - WLM. Skinned mode checkbox can disable or enable skin usage (enabled by default)

Pic.18 Skin Selection dialog

The program can build a command line to control certain parameters of the drive and to keep this line in the bat or cmd file. When you run such a program file is called in the background, changing the parameters of the drive in accordance with specified and closes automatically.

Pic.19 build a command line window

Appendix A: USB and FireWire HDDs

If USB/FireWire HDD is supported by the program, tests, S.M.A.R.T. capabilities and additional features may be executed on the drive.

If USB/FireWire HDD is no supported by the program, only tests can be executed.

USB/FireWire HDDs supported by the program:

Storage device Controller chip
StarTeck IDECase35U2 Cypress CY7C68001
WD Passpopt Unknown
Iomega PB-10391 Unknown
Seagate ST9000U2 (PN: 9W3638-556) Cypress CY7C68300B
Seagate External Drive (PN: 9W286D) Cypress CY7C68300B
Seagate FreeAgentPro Oxford
Vantec CB-ISATAU2 (adapter) JMicron JM20337
Beyond Micro Mobile Disk 3.5" 120GB Prolific PL3507 (supported only USB)
Maxtor Personal Storage 3100 Prolific PL2507
Maxtor Personal Storage (USB2120NEP001) In-System ISD300A
SunPlus SPIF215A
Toshiba USB Mini Hard Drive Unknown
USB Teac HD-15 PUK-B-S Unknown
Transcend StoreJet 35 Ultra (TS1TSJ35U-EU) Unknown
AGEStar FUBCP JMicron JM20337
USB Teac HD-15 PUK-B-S Unknown
  Prolific 2571

USB/FireWire HDDs which are probably supported by the program:

Storage device Controller chip
AGEStar IUB3A Cypress
AGEStar ICB3RA Cypress
AGEStar IUB3A4 Cypress
AGEStar IUB5A Cypress
AGEStar IUB5P Cypress
AGEStar IUB5S Cypress
AGEStar NUB3AR Cypress
AGEStar IBP2A2 Cypress
AGEStar SCB3AH JMicron JM2033x
AGEStar SCB3AHR JMicron JM2033x
AGEStar CCB3A JMicron JM2033x
AGEStar CCB3AT JMicron JM2033x
AGEStar IUB2A3 JMicron JM2033x
AGEStar SCBP JMicron JM2033x
AGEStar FUBCP JMicron JM2033x
Noontec SU25 Prolific PL2507
Transcend TS80GHDC2 Prolific PL2507
Transcend TS40GHDC2 Prolific PL2507
I-O Data HDP-U series Unknown
I-O Data HDC-U series Unknown
Enermax Vanguard EB206U-B Unknown
Thermaltake Max4 A2295 Unknown
Spire GigaPod SP222 Unknown
Cooler Master - RX-3SB Unknown
MegaDrive200 Unknown
RaidSonic Icy Box IB-250U Unknown
Logitech USB Unknown

USB/FireWire HDDs not supported by the program:

Storage device Controller chip
Matrix Genesis Logic GL811E
Pine Genesis Logic GL811E
Iomega LDHD250-U Cypress CY7C68300A
Iomega DHD160-U Prolific PL-2507 (modified firmware)
Iomega Prolific PL-3507 (modified firmware)
Maxtor Personal Storage 3200 Prolific PL-3507 (modified firmware)
Maxtor One-Touch Cypress CY7C68013
Seagate External Drive (PN-9W2063) Cypress CY7C68013
Seagate Pocket HDD Unknown
SympleTech SympleDrive 9000-40479-002 CY7C68300A
  Myson Century CS8818
  Myson Century CS8813

Appendix B: supported SSD drives

Support of any particular solid state drive depends mostly on its SSD controller.

Solid state drives, supported by HDDScan:

SSD Drive SSD Controller Chip
OCZ Vertex, Vertex Turbo, Agility, Solid 2 Indilinx IDX110M00
Super Talent STT_FTM28GX25H Indilinx IDX110M00
Corsair Extreme Series Indilinx IDX110M00
Kingston SSDNow M-Series Intel PC29AS21AA0 G1
Intel X25-M G2 Intel PC29AS21AA0 G2
OCZ Throttle JMicron JMF601
Corsair Performance Series Samsung S3C29RBB01

SSD drives, which are probably supported by HDDScan:

SSD Drive SSD Controller Chip
OCZ Vertex2, Agility2 SandForce SF1200
OCZ Vertex LE, Vertex 2 Pro SandForce SF1500
Corsair Force F100 Series SandForce SF1200
Xceed Lite Unknown


Author: Artem Rubtsov Support: R.LAB