There was once a time when I was a naive kid on a desktop who never even considered that I’d have to keep up with the health of my hard drive. Jumping from the world of video games to the Internet, what do you expect? Blowing a little harder on the connector pins of my NES cartridges was what I’d consider to be the pinnacle of maintenance at that point.
Since then, much has changed! I’d guess that I’ve been through about a dozen HDDs, failing from every reason from poor temperature management to scrambled disk writes during a power failure. When you spend both your work and play time online, it’s one of the worst feelings ever to know that your hard drive has died on you.
CrystalDiskMark and CrystalDiskInfo both offer a lot of hard disk diagnostics that you can use to make sure such a tragedy never happens to you.
CrystalDiskMark is one of the best free disk benchmarking utilities out there. CDM (as we’ll abbreviate it from here) allows you to measure your disks sequential read and write speeds. You’re able to select from random write speeds and pick test data (random, 0fill, or 1fill) that you’ll benchmark your disk under. It’s very easy to use.
The interface is as simple as you see it in the screenshot above. To begin testing for a read/write speed, just click on one of the green boxes. I recommend that you test for all by default, as it offers the most information about your disk.
Above the column headers, you’re also able to change your number of test runs, test size, and test drive.
Above, you can see some example benchmark results for my (rather bloated) hard drive. Of course, to be able to interpret these results as anything meaningful would mean you need a little bit of knowledge of disk read/write speeds. That can be looked more into using Google. CDM does the hard part, in providing results to you in an efficient way.
Under the File menu, you can change the data you’re testing. The Language menu allows you to translate text within the application to practically every major language in the world. The Theme menu offers some nice aesthetic differences. Below is the wine theme.
CrystalDiskMark comes available as a hard installation or portable application. A version for 64-bit systems is included in either package. The source code and a special Shizuku edition is also available, which only offers visual differences.
In short, CrystalDiskInfo offers everything that CrystalDiskMark doesn’t, for your HDD, SSD, or USB drive.
CrystalDiskMark offers benchmarking while CrystalDiskInfo provides a complete overview of all connected drives. Using CrystalDiskInfo, you’re given the following important disk information:
- Disk Temperature.
- Power On Count & Hours.
- Spin-Up Time.
- Seek Error Rate.
- Power Cycle Count.
- Spin Retry Count.
There is plenty more, as you can see in the above screenshot.
CrystalDiskInfo gives you a good peek at your drive and allows you to make judgment on if you need to check your disk for any errors in the near future. It comes packed with S.M.A.R.T. information and plenty of other more advanced diagnostics under the Function menu. Seeing extra drives (apart from your default) is as simple as clicking on them in the menu across the top, as you can see with my I drive.
Running a little hot, aren’t we? Like CrystalDiskMark, CDI is also available as a hard installation or portable application.
What do you guys think about these two tools? Both are definitely tucked away in my portable application toolbox and do their jobs just as expected. Let us know in the comments!