Hard Disk Sentinel
All about HDD Health & SSD Performance

Is a Western Digital Hard Drive Test Useful?

Worried about the health of your hard drive? Discover the benefits of Hard Disk Sentinel for diagnosing and repairing hard drives. Western Digital's Data LifeGuard Diagnostics (now the Western Digital Dashboard), can run some of the same tests, but may not be as useful. Both tools offer a range of features, such as quick tests, extended tests, and erasing functions, to ensure optimal hard drive health and performance. Read on to find out which tool is best for you and your systems.

Need to know how to check hard drive health? Western Digital and Hard Disk Sentinel are two great tools that can help. Western Digital’s Data LifeGuard Diagnostics (DLGDIAG) for hard drive identification, diagnostics, and repairs, can provide information about the drives’ serial and model numbers. Hard Disk Sentinel (HDSentinel) is a computer hard disk drive monitoring software from Heartfelt Development Services that can be used on many operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and DOS. Western Digital’s DLGDIAG can test your hard drive quickly with a SMART drive quick self-test and fix any bad sectors. HDSentinel can find, test, diagnose, and repair hard drive problems, report HDD and SSD health, and monitor performance degradations and failures. If you want to try Hard Disk Sentinel, click here for your free trial.

Both tools come with features to help you monitor physical disk information, view test results and more. As we go through what each tool offers, you’ll learn which one is best for you and your systems.

Features of Western Digital Hard Drive Test Tool

The Western Digital hard drive test can be useful for certain hard drives.

Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics is the perfect tool for diagnosing, testing, and repairing hard drives, providing precise information about the model, serial number, capacity, SMART status, drive letters, and file system of the drives. This tool provides a suite of tests to ensure definitive hard drive health and performance diagnostics, including a quick test, extended test, erasing function, and view test results option. With Data LifeGuard Diagnostics, users can quickly get precise assessments on the health and performance of their hard drive, receiving immediate notifications of any potential issues – ensuring high performance and stellar hard drive lifespan.

Features of Western Digital Hard Drive Test Tool

Western Digital Quick test

Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics tool is an ideal choice to quickly test for signs of hard drive failure. With this tool, you get the flexibility to test both Western Digital hard drives and drives from almost all other manufacturers. You can select Quick test to perform a SMART drive quick self-test. Through this test, you can easily view all the information about your connected hard drives, such as the model number, serial number, capacity, SMART status, drive letters, file system, and more. There is also an extended test, which is more thorough and takes longer, which performs a Full Media Scan to detect bad sectors if any. This is a great tool if you need to determine your drive’s health and condition quickly and accurately.

Western Digital Quick Test

Western Digital Extended test

Western Digital’s Data Lifeguard Diagnostics (DLGDIAG) provides users with an extensive test for hard drives with the Extended Test option. This option offers an in-depth analysis of a target partition’s data and is highly recommended for users seeking to identify and repair bad sectors. Not only does this option provide results on the SMART attributes of Western Digital drives, but with it the drive’s serial and model numbers are easily identified. This tool can significantly reduce the risk of data loss, making it a useful and reliable testing technology for any user.

Western Digital Extended Test

Western Digital Erase

Using Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics, you can erase an entire drive, non-boot drive, and external drive. This hard drive testing tool can quickly and safely erase all of your stored data and make the drive available for reuse with its Full Erase and Quick Erase options. You can also cache data or run tests on hard drives from almost all the manufacturers. This can also help diagnose errors and problems on non-boot drives, as it will perform a Full Media Scan to detect bad sectors and try to repair them or mark the damaged sector for not to be written to. Hard Disk Sentinel is also a great tool for this purpose, as it comes with the hardware self, random seek, and surface test options for hard drive repair, health check, and performance monitoring.

Western Digital Erase

Western Digital View test results

Data Loss Prevention for Hard Drive Testing! For your desktop drive, Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics and Hard Disk Sentinel both offer exceptional testing tools for hard drives. With Data LifeGuard Diagnostics, you can run four different tests – a Quick Test, Extended Test, Erase, and View Test Results – to identify and diagnose potential issues with Western Digital hard drives. Hard Disk Sentinel gives additional hard drive testing options with the added features of hardware self-tests, random seek tests, and surface tests. Plus, with the Panic Backup feature, you can back up your data in case of hard drive problems. Keep your data safe and secure with these powerful hard drive testing tools. To check hard drive speed, read this article.

Western Digital View Test Results

Features of HD Sentinel Hard Drive Test Tool

Hard Disk Sentinel is an essential monitoring tool for all computer users. It comes with multiple powerful features, allowing users to quickly and easily test, diagnose, and repair hard drive problems. HD Sentinel is compatible with many hard drive types, providing support for IDE, SATA, NVMe, SCSI, SAS, and USB hard drives. It’s available for many operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and DOS. Here are some of the features of HD Sentinel:

  • Physical Disk Information: View important physical disk information such as temperature, S.M.A.R.T attributes, manufacturer, model, serial number, disk width, and more.
  • Disk Performance: Monitor the transfer (read and write) rate information of your disk to compare the speed of various hard drives.
  • Hardware Self-test: Test the health status of the disk quickly or with details while your data remains safe.
  • Random Seek Test: Verify the noise level, track-to-track seek time, and temperature levels of your disk.
  • Surface Test: Read, write, or both to analyze and fix problematic sectors.
  • Panic Backup: Create backup projects to protect your data in case of any hard drive mishaps.

HD Sentinel Hardware Self-Test

Hard Disk Sentinel’s Hardware Self Tests offer a comprehensive solution to check the status of your hard disk in a quick or in-depth manner. The IDE, Serial ATA, SCSI, or SAS hard disk’s built-in self-tests allow you to verify the condition of various components, including the read/write heads, servo, electronics, and internal memory. The list of supported tests, along with the estimated time for each, can be found on the hard disk’s information page.

These self-tests are non-destructive and won’t affect the data stored on the hard disk. However, during the test, the disk may be slower and harder disk usage can prolong the test. The short self-test verifies the main components and takes just a few minutes. The extended self-test goes further by performing a complete surface scan and revealing any problematic areas, and is recommended to be run periodically, especially for hard disks with less than 100% health. The conveyance self-test, if supported, checks for any handling damage to the mechanical parts of the hard disk.

The results of the last self-test, including the date and any failing hard disk elements, are displayed on the information page. You can manually start the tests or schedule them automatically using the operations page (only in the Professional version).

HD Sentinel Hardware Self Test

HD Sentinel Random Seek Test

The Hard Disk Sentinel’s Random Seek Test is a useful tool for verifying the noise level, track-to-track seek time, and temperature levels of a hard disk, especially during excessive usage. This test is particularly useful after changing the acoustic level, as it allows for verification of how the new setting affects noise and seek time. The test can also be used to monitor stability and temperature increase during a longer period of high usage. 

It is important to note that during the test, the temperature can increase by 10-15 Celsius degrees compared to idle temperature, so it is recommended to use the test under control and cancel it if the temperature reaches a critical level. The test is safe and does not affect stored data, and can be used even if a hardware self-test stops with an error or is not supported by the hard disk. 

The unregistered version only allows for a short 2-minute test, which can only be run once on a single disk.

HD Sentinel Random Seek Test

Hard Disk Sentinel Surface Test

Hard Disk Sentinel is a powerful tool for monitoring the health and performance of your hard drive. One of its key features is the Surface Test, which provides a thorough analysis of the disk’s physical condition. The Surface Test can detect and report potential issues, such as bad sectors and read errors, before they lead to data loss or disk failure. By regularly performing a Surface Test, you can proactively take steps to ensure the longevity and reliability of your hard drive.

Here are the key benefits of Hard Disk Sentinel’s Surface Test:

  • Thorough analysis of disk’s physical condition
  • Detection of potential issues, such as bad sectors and read errors
  • Early warning of data loss or disk failure
  • Proactive steps towards ensuring longevity and reliability of the hard drive

By performing a Surface Test regularly, you can be confident in the health and performance of your hard drive. Read on to learn more about the details of this powerful tool and how it can help you protect your data.

Hard Disk Sentinel Surface Test

Hard Disk Sentinel Read test

The Read test is a simple yet effective method to verify the accessibility and readability of the disk’s sectors. It is completely safe as it does not affect the stored data in any way. The test only reads the disk surface and does not repair or fix any issues found. Unlike the Write Test and the Write + Read Test, the Read test does not perform any disk regeneration / repair, but it is designed exactly to reveal any (possible hidden) problems.

Hard Disk Sentinel Read test

Hard Disk Sentinel Write test

The Write test in Hard Disk Sentinel overwrites the disk surface with a configurable pattern chosen by the user. This process helps to identify and fix any weak sectors or hidden problems by reallocating bad sectors, improving the overall performance of the disk. On the Configuration page, users have the option to choose from several patterns, such as writing zeros, sector numbers, random data, or even a specific hex sequence or file. This customization allows for a more comprehensive analysis of the disk, ensuring that the disk’s spare area is used effectively instead of problematic sectors.

Hard Disk Sentinel Write + Read test

The Write + Read test, available in the Pro version only, is a comprehensive diagnostic tool for hard drives. It operates by overwriting the disk surface with a configurable pattern and then reading back the sector contents to verify their accessibility and consistency. The test is designed to analyze any weak sectors and identify any hidden problems, which can then be fixed through the reallocation of bad sectors, known as drive regeneration. The result of the test is a more efficient and optimized hard drive, as any problematic sectors will be replaced by the spare area.

Hard Disk Sentinel Read + WRITE + read test

The Read + Write + Read test is a feature in the Hard Disk Sentinel software that allows users to refresh the data area of a storage device without the need for a complete erase. The test involves reading stored data from each block, writing back the contents, and finally reading the information and comparing it with the original contents. This test can be used to restore sectors to their default status, but it is still recommended to backup important data before performing the test as data loss may occur due to factors such as power failure, overclocking, or memory problems. 

The test is available in the Pro version of the software, along with other features such as the Write test, Reinitialize Disk Surface test, and Disk Repair test. Each test has its own configuration options and it is possible to specify the order of blocks to be tested, repeat count, and unmount all logical volumes during the test.

Hard Disk Sentinel Read WRITE read test

Hard Disk Sentinel Reinitialize disk surface

The Disk Reinitialize test is a function in Hard Disk Sentinel that allows the hard disk drive to reallocate problematic sectors if necessary. The hard disk drive itself is responsible for reallocation, but the test may assist it in doing so. The Reinitialize Disk Surface test can be performed by selecting the drive in the Disk menu and choosing the Reinitialize Disk Surface function, and specifying the first and last block to be tested. The test may not always be necessary, and the disk’s overall health should be considered before deciding if it should be reused, especially in critical environments. This function performs industry and government standard data destruction (securely wipe of all data sectors, partition table, file system descriptors, unpartitioned space and so).

Hard Disk Sentinel Reinitialize disk surface

Hard Disk Sentinel Disk repair

Need to know how to fix a hard drive failure? Hard Disk Sentinel can be used to repair hard disk problems. It is important to follow the software’s suggestions for improving the situation by changing/improving data and power cables, verifying power supply, and improving cooling. 

After these steps, it is recommended to verify the hard disk’s status by using Hard Disk Sentinel’s deep analysis tests. If the hard disk surface test is successful without reporting any errors, even if the health is lower than 100%, these bad sectors can be manually acknowledged in Hard Disk Sentinel to clear the reported errors, restore the health to 100%, and eliminate the yellow exclamation marks. This is a “virtual” clearing of problems and new problems may be reported in the future. Hard Disk Sentinel should be used for constant monitoring and backup and full testing should be done if the health starts to decrease again. If the hard disk has a health of 0%, it cannot be repaired and a warranty replacement is required. 

Restoring the health of an SSD is more difficult, as the health of the SSD may gradually decrease with time due to writes to the SSD and limited memory cell tolerance. The wear-leveling feature tries to minimize this effect but cannot completely eliminate it. Learn more about HDD vs SSD in our article.

Hard Disk Sentinel Disk repair

Hard Disk Sentinel Temperature

Hard Disk Sentinel’s Temperature Monitoring page provides a way to monitor the current and historical temperature values of a hard disk. The page shows the current temperature, daily average, minimum and maximum values, and the temperature’s rating based on these values. In case of high temperature, the application may offer tips to avoid problems. The accuracy of the temperature sensor may be verified and calibrated if necessary, especially for older hard disks. The page also displays recent temperature values and provides a graph to view the average and minimum/maximum values over time. To learn more about safe hard drive temps, check out our helpful guide.

Custom yellow and red temperature thresholds can be set for each device, which will be used instead of the global thresholds set in the configuration. These custom thresholds can be useful, for example, to set higher thresholds for NVMe SSDs while keeping the default thresholds for hard disks. The “Custom temperature thresholds” dialog can be accessed by double-clicking on the current temperature bar on the top of the Temperature page.

Hard Disk Sentinel Temperature

Hard Disk Sentinel S.M.A.R.T.

Hard Disk Sentinel is an essential tool for PC hard drive enthusiasts, as it offers advanced S.M.A.R.T monitoring and features to repair various drive errors. With seven tabs for physical disk information and six different disk tests like hardware self-test, random seek test, and panic backup, Hard Disk Sentinel is perfect for diagnosing, identifying, and fixing hard drive problems quickly and accurately. It is also compatible with IDE, SATA, NVMe, SCSI, SAS, and USB hard drives, making it an ideal choice for any drive enthusiast. Whatever the issue, Hard Disk Sentinel’s advanced tools, tests, and repairs make it the perfect drive sentinel for whatever your hard drive needs.

Hard Disk Sentinel SMART S.M.A.R.T.

Hard Disk Sentinel Disk Performance

Hard Disk Sentinel offers real-time performance monitoring of disk activity. The software displays the amount of data read and written both in the current session and since installation, including daily average values. It also continuously monitors write and read speeds and calculates the current disk usage as a percentage. In case of a write operation, an orange LED and the current write speed are displayed, while a light blue LED and the read speed are displayed during a read operation. Hard Disk Sentinel calculates a theoretical maximum transfer rate based on the current transfer rate and disk usage, and graphs show the actual disk activity and average value. 

The software can be useful in various scenarios, such as monitoring disk activity during file transfers, checking disk usage and transfer rate on servers, or determining if a hard disk is slow or fragmented.

Please note that real-time performance monitoring is dependent on the operating system and performance counter objects in Windows.

Hard Disk Sentinel Disk Performance

Hard Disk Sentinel Alerts

Hard Drive Sentinel Alerts enable you to monitor your computer’s hard drives for any issues, such as physical losses, corrupted files, slow response times, and intermittent performance. Installation files can easily be downloaded from the official site, effortlessly allowing you to get the most out of your computer’s hard drive. With Hard Drive Sentinel, you’ll be able to easily identify when there are potential issues with your drive, and can even fix potential errors or corrupted files. What’s more, you can quickly and easily back up important data so that you won’t lose it if anything unforeseen occurs.

Hard Disk Sentinel Alerts

Hard Disk Sentinel Panic Backup

The Panic Backup feature in Hard Disk Sentinel Professional allows users to set up backup projects that will be executed when specific events occur, such as low health value or high temperature of a hard disk. The user can create a general project list or a specific list for each installed hard disk, and select which disk or the general list the project should apply to. The project execution can be set to start automatically or after another project has completed, and the user can opt to confirm the start of the project. The user can also disable a project by unchecking the Enabled option, and add new projects to the list as needed. Note that if a project is disabled, all projects that depend on it will not be executed.

Hard Disk Sentinel Panic Backup

So, which one gives you more information?

Both Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics and Hard Disk Sentinel are great tools for testing hard drives. Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics is designed for testing Western Digital hard drives, offering features like quick tests, extended tests, erasing, and viewing test results. Meanwhile, Hard Disk Sentinel can be used for many types of hard drives, including IDE, SATA, NVMe, SCSI, SAS, and USB, and provides features such as physical disk information, temperature monitoring, SMART checking, disk performance, alerts and disk tests. For those looking to backup their disk, Hard Disk Sentinel’s panic backup is an excellent feature. Ultimately, Hard Disk Sentinel offers more information, more tools, and more compatibility with multiple drives and operating systems.

Conclusion… monitor your HDD & back up your data!

Testing your hard drive’s health and performance is easy with the right tools. Western Digital’s Data LifeGuard Diagnostics offers quick and extended tests to check the SMART status of your drive and diagnose and repair any issues. Hard Disk Sentinel, on the other hand, provides detailed information about your drive as well as Hardware Self-Test, Random Seek Test, and Surface Test to check its performance. It also has a Panic Backup feature to backup your data in case of a failure. For casual and power users, Hard Disk Sentinel is the more powerful and effective choice.