It is frustrating to deal with a computer that freezes, does not start, or has unreadable data. These problems can be caused by a number of problems and it is not always easy to identify the cause. One of the problems you need to check is whether there are bad sectors on your hard drive.

Defective sectors

Bad sectors occur when part of the hard disk can no longer be written to or read from. When you save something to your hard disk, the data is stored in multiple sectors, which may or may not be side by side. If a sector that contains information about this file is damaged, it will be impossible to access the file without errors.

Bad sectors on the hard drive lead to poor performance and overheating of the computer because it is very difficult to read data from a hard drive with many bad sectors. You may also lose important files or get a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error when these areas are causing problems on your computer.

Free software for scanning bad areas

Using free software to locate and repair bad sectors is not an ideal solution. Many of them have limited functionality and can set limits on the number or size of files that can be restored. However, if you want to start with some free trial to see if you can fix the problem without spending a lot of money, one of these tools can help you get started.

1. Seagate SeaTools

Seagate offers two free hard drive testing software: SeaTools Bootable and SeaTools for Windows. The bootable version is more complete, but SeaTools for Windows is easier to use.

Performing tests and making repairs with SeaTools is quick and easy. You can get started with just a few mouse clicks.

SeaTools for Windows performs several basic tests that can help determine the condition of your hard drive, and all kinds of internal drives can be tested, as well as external drives connected via FireWire or USB. The program tests most hard drives, regardless of manufacturer. It also contains useful information about the drive, such as its serial number, capacity, speed, cache size, and firmware check.

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2. Macrorit Disk Scanner

Macrorit disk scanner is an easy-to-use program that scans your hard drive for bad sectors. It installs quickly because it’s completely portable and you don’t have to install anything.

Bad sector software Macrorit

Much of the Macrorit screen displays a visual representation of the progress of the scan and clearly indicates any damage. The program is updated frequently and works on many Windows operating systems.

A useful feature of Macrorit Disk Scanner is the display that shows how much time is left to scan.

There is a paid version of this program that has more features or requires more than occasional personal use.

3. GSmartControl

You can download GSmartControl For Windows as a portable or regular installer. It works with all versions of Windows up to XP. It is also available for Mac and Linux.

Gsmart Bad Sector software

GSmartControl can perform three different hard drive tests and give you detailed results from the drive’s overall health rating.

  • Short self-test: A two-minute test that detects a completely damaged hard drive.
  • Extended self-test: A seventy-minute test that checks the entire surface of the hard disk for errors.
  • Self – testing of means of transport: A five-minute test that is claimed to detect damage that occurred during a player’s carriage.

It also provides information about your meter, such as the number of power cycles, the multi-zone error rate, and the number of calibration attempts.

4. HDDScan

HDDScan is a free hard drive testing program for all hard drives, regardless of manufacturer. This is a portable program and does not need to be installed.

HDD scanning software for the bad sector

It is very easy to use, but does not include help texts or advice on using different options. HDDScan supports most player interfaces and appears to be updated regularly. You can use HDDScan on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP, and Windows Server 2003.

You never know when a problem like bad sectors will affect your machine, so back it all up. If you have problems with your machine and suspect bad sectors on your hard drive, these free checks can be a useful first step.

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