How to Determine the Speed of a Hard Drive

by Deborah Cohn

There are a number of online tests that offer limited information, but if you want details on hard drive speed, you can download some impressive freeware that will test your hard drive over time and give you a much better picture of your computer's performance.

Head to the the Speed Test Pro freeware site (see Resources below for link). Scroll down to the system requirement info and make sure you have the system required for the install, then download the freeware and install. You may need to restart your computer.

Open the program by either clicking on the "SpeedTestPro" desktop icon or clicking the "Start" menu, then "Programs," then "SpeedTestPro." You will see a graph that tracks the speed of different aspects of your computer's functionality. You will also see a control panel that lets you choose which you want to track and options that display the information to your preferences. The freeware version of this software offers limited choices, but still provides substantial data.

Click on the "Node" tab to see a list of nodes categorized into "Internet," "Hardware," and "System." Within these categories are data items you can track on the line graph, such as down-time and up-time speed, amount of virtual memory and disk activity. Not all data items can be tracked with freeware;, you may have to purchase the full version to get all the info you need.

Choose the node you want to track. The graph will automatically begin to track that particular aspect of your computer's functionality. You can change the display, look, feel and even colors of the graph to make it easy to read. You can choose to see the results in bits per minute (BPS), modify the data retrieval time, change the test file size and more.

Regard the graph after you have made your choices on the node type and the tracking options. You may have to wait a little while until enough data builds up to show results. In the freeware version, you can't show multiple nodes at once, so switch between node types to get all the data you want. In the full version, you can run multiple nodes, and the graph will reflect all the data with different colors so you can keep track.

Test your Internet connection speed by choosing the "Upload" node, which monitors upload transfer speed. For a more thorough test of the actual bandwidth speed, choose the "Speed Test" node. But be careful; you get only a 1/2 hour test with the freeware. Once you choose the Speed Test option, leave the program alone for the designated time, and let it collect the data.

Tip

  • check If you need further instructions or information, consult the manual on the Speed Test Pro website.

About the Author

Deborah has been creating and managing web content for over ten years. She has a BA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in screenwriting from The American Film Institute. Her writing has appeared in the Netbook web guides, and she has created and managed content for Yahoo, ABC.com, and dozens of websites ranging from web comics to IBM and GE.