Software to Fix a Hard Drive

by Tiffany Garden

Hard drive errors can manifest in a variety of ways, such as inaccessible drives or corrupted files. Hard drives may not fail catastrophically if an error occurs, but a bad sector on the drive can cause intermittent problems as the drive is used. Data loss is a common side-effect of a hard drive having problems. Third-party and operating system tools are available to identify and fix some hard drive problems.


Chkdsk is a disk checking utility included with Windows operating systems. Chkdsk is run from within Windows or on a command prompt. It scans the hard drive, checking for and repairing any errors that it finds. If Chkdsk encounters bad sectors, it attempts to recover them. For physical drive failures, this may be impossible, but generally Chkdsk fixes many minor hard drive problems.

Disk Utility

Disk Utility in Mac OSX has a section named First Aid. First Aid performs the same function that Chkdsk for Windows does. The utility scans the hard drive and can repair errors that it detects during the scan. Disk Utility can be ran within OSX for drives that are not your primary boot drive. The Disk Utility First Aid scan needs to be run from your OSX installation DVD if you think a problem has occurred with the main boot drive.

Third Party

Third-party alternatives to First Aid and Chkdsk exist. Many third-party disk scanners use Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) readings to determine whether a problem exists with the drive. S.M.A.R.T is included on most hard drives produced today. The statistics and warnings that come from S.M.A.R.T. are interpreted by third-party software or software from the hard drive manufacturer. These readings can warn of impending drive failure or deficiencies.

About the Author

Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.

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