At a Glance
- Lightweight, tests performance, scans for errors, retrieves S.M.A.R.T. info
- No write tests in the free version
Gather S.M.A.R.T. and performance data as well as check for errors with this handy hard drive utility.
In the world of hard drive information utilities, HD Tune is a
gem. A venerable one at that–it’s been around for years and no one
has come up with anything better–except of course for its
developers, who also sell a Pro version.
The free version of HD Tune is adequate for most purposes and
gives you a rough estimate of your drive’s performance, scans your
disk for errors, and retrieves the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring,
Analysis, and Reporting Technology) info from your hard drive. Said
S.M.A.R.T. info (often reported by your BIOS at boot time) can tell
you if your hard drive is about to give up the ghost.
HD Tune is old-school in its simple tabbed dialog interface. You
select the drive you want to test or query from a drop-down menu,
then select either the Benchmark, Info (general drive information
such as make and model), Health (S.M.A.R.T. info), and Error Scan
The HD Tune benchmark consists of simple read tests performed
across the hard disk surface starting from the outside of the disk
and moving to the inside. You’ll notice the drop in throughput
(bad) and access times (good) as the head moves towards the inside
of the disk. You can run the benchmark on an SSD but you might as
well stop a quarter of the way through–an SSD can access any part
of its memory in the same amount of time.
I’ve used this free utility for years, and while it won’t give
you a lot of specifics about hard drive performance, or give you
any insight into possible operating system bottlenecks, the results
are valid and always comparable to those I’ve garnered with more
granular test suites.
Said Pro version costs $35 for individuals and includes write
tests, file tests, better logging, more stats, and a few other
tricks. If you do any serious work testing hard drives, it’s well
worth it. For most users, this free utility is more than
Note: This file is free for personal use only.
Business users must purchase HD Tune Pro ($35 for a single user,
more for an entire company) instead. This link takes you to the
vendor’s site, where you can scroll down the page (past the Pro
version download) to download the latest version of the free
–Jon L. Jacobi