Is my harddisk drive (HDD) brick Dead or Sick or ?    Symptoms?                           
                 Just run the tests covered here , BIOS HDD test, or Linux is better.
                 RUN the S.M.A.R.T tests now, as seen here,  I do this first. (for sure any HDD over 5 years old !) FIRST!
History:
Some fast facts about S.M.A.R.T technology : (I do not cover IDE drives they are obsolete)

This began with the last years HDD made with IDE (P.A.T.A) drives built to ATA-4( IV) in 2001 spec,(and most SATA drives 2003 on) example: Seagate ST32001a (2GB) drive.
Many of the older IDE drives, the S.M.A.R.T features were optional in 2001, you must run S.M.A.R.T program to see it does have it, But most 2001 drives are dead now, so is a moot point.
Top PCs' like HP Enterprize grade have a crude HDD test in BIOS page. Look for this first, then run it, it  is a crude test, but if fails it never LIES !
The BIOS many have  S.M.A.R.T enable/disable feature there so set that to Enable first. (most modern PCs this is on full time or already)
 


HDD means Hard Disk Drive,  most SSD do not fail.. not 20+ years old,  SSD means solid state Drive, (as in motor free) SSD uses this technology.
All HDD fail, not one lasts say a decade (be rare if used daily)  less on Laptops that get bumped easy.
Know too that SSD have  different S.M.A.R.T pages,  with new data fields, (I will not cover SSD ever here...) (Google that or wiki it)
HDD have many single points of failure, as does the whole PC.
  1. The BIOS  pages show the HDD0 is missing,  well it is and is dead HDD. (more proof below) (assumes CMOS RTC battery is not dead)
  2. Total death by the  motor inside not spinning ( power on, ear to case hear this) a silent HDD is a dead bad HDD. (RIP)
  3. or you hear the head click madly and loud over and over,  the click of DEATH. (not to be confused with tiny normal tick sounds ear to casing) A skill set to learn is this.
  4. If you hear it spin, and if you hold it in your hand (desktop test easy) we can feel the gyroscopic action as it fights you as you attempt to move it in your hand,  all  signs of a good HDD signs so far...
  5. If  S.M.A.R.T TESTS FAIL:  a drive has bad sectors? , see S.M.A.R.T Parameter (metric) C6  must be at 0 or the HDD is bad.
  6. The S.M.A.R.T 05 parameter must not exceed Threshold, if yes, the HDD is bad, mine below is 154 and over 140 that means the spare clusters are now USED up, and the drive is BAD .
  7. Head crashes, (dropped PC?) and now is damaged beyond repair.  A 3 foot drop running can do this.  This SCREECHING  sound can be super load even like the sounds of bats flying out of hell.
  8. If the OS disk files are corrputed only and S.M.A.R.T is happy, then  chkdisk may work, but you may have a corrupted OS now. (so reload windows. or what ever you want, even load Linux Ubuntu V17+
  9. Do know that any PC with the power rails wrong, (VRMs out of control for any reasons, even that old silly Laptop battery still connected?, well gee it comes out first. (run on AC power only!)
Once the HDD is proved not sick , we then do windows repairs that I never cover, after all Microsoft.com covers that endlessly,  extensive as do other top sites on Windows.  (but reloading does fix it and is a 1 line answer)
There are many symptoms of HDD failure. (besides the above) (HDD0 missing in BIOS pages is one of the most common)

The PC or OS Runs slow, Windows told you HDD is bad, or won't boot, or boots only half the time, or you run S.M.A.R.T tests every month and it fails, or Windows BSOD;'s on you.
Windows 10 actually monitors S.M.A.R.T pages of all HDD and will flag this and tell you when the drive is SICK ( learn that  any drive with S.M.A.R.T failing will get worse, and is hopeless to use it, it is time to buy a NEW HDD.)

If we think the HDD seems alive we then test it. (it's not hard do this at all)

One way to test any drive is moving it to the non failing system. (means not be booted to it, to the bad drive? under test) We use and external eSata case (with power pack) to do  this magic.
Most folks at this moment think to  BACKUP ALL DATA  if possible NOW.

It is for sure too late to clone your drive now.( now with corrupted windows files scrambled or HDD bad or virus infected)
 
Symptoms of bad HDD are ,  BEEP (or blink) codes tell you HDD dead or OS will not boot or startup files missing. Or says hit F2 or F12 or  F10 or ESC to enter BIOS over and over. (each maker of PC uses a different Fn key)
See all HDD  tests below: (and losts of causes) First things First !

A hard disk works like this, an electric motor, a media platter, a set of heads, and a head servo actuator and a SATA comm chip. (any of these can fail).
You are here because MS WINDOWs  fails to boot,  and you found your BOOT USB sticks or CD/DVD  disks all boot and  all work, but HDD 0 does not.
If Windows is dead, you can not run CrystalDiskInfo
unless you have say a boot CD or USB stick with W7 PE  media.
That leaves  BIOS testing or Lunix boot media tests. If the below fails the HDD IS BAD.  Most cheap toy grade PC do NOT have  service or diagnoitic page. (best is not buy cheap made PCs, no?)
The DELL PC's have a DST test. Drive Self tests.
At the Dell BIOS splash screen, press the <Ctrl> + <Alt> + <D> keys at the same time! DST ,may also be corrupted, HDD BAD, so run Linux above.
As seen on an ACER PC. IMO all PCs need this feature. (can even be run on blank new or used HDD !)

HP BIOS page. (crude tests only)

W10 only (or W8) this cures fastboot errors, by doing real cold boot.
This can fix windows 10 Windows 10 it's worse turn off fast boot.)

If windows is dead Jump to here.( run linux tests, run S.M.A.R.T and the full linux DISK tests)
If the drive kinda  works great, but windows complains, and S.M.A.R.T Tells you it's out of SPARE sectors, then  it's time for a new SSD or HDD. Believe it. the HDD is DEAD.
After then New HDD is installed, reload the OS.
or fresh load Windows:

Other HDD bad symptoms are vast and  quite endless.


OEM HDD tests?
Seagate has answers here.
 


If windows runs a bit,  then get this and run this next Crystal Disk Info.

If the HDD tests ok and was infected, we erase the HDD first.  then reload the OS fresh.
Below is a list of  things any one can do, and may help.


The HDD can be tested all these ways, let me recap all ways:  (when I mention STICK below that means "USB flash memory stick, a.k.a. Thumbdrive, flash key, etc)
  1. RUN the HP built in BIOS HDD test. (inside the BIOS screens)  (it is only a rudimentary test, but if this fails and BIOS shows it missing , the drive, it is a bad dead drive)
  2. You can run recovery mode as above, but  go to command prompt via advanced options. and run CHKDSK from there.  chkdsk C: /f /r /x
  3. Move the HDD to another PC as a second drive, you can then run extensive HDD tests there, endless apps to do that  for over 30 years. (run S.M.A.R.T, run, virus scans, look for missing windows or HP restore parititons.
  4. Keep the drive there and run S.M.A.R.T if the PC boots at all run S.M.A.R.T APP. (see if drive is overheated,  my 3 run at 93f (78f from) so is 15f rise, my ssd runs 93f too. so we know this is normal (lots of  DT case fans in mine)
  5. Next is line 05,  note here this HDD is end of life,  ran out of spare Redundant sectors so can never again self heal itself. Line C6 shows, the bad bad news. Raw C6  not 0 is a bad HDD.
  6. Last we run LINUX LIVE or above, and run APP there called DISK.  ( I run UBUNTU 17 and boot it and click "TRY" me, then click top left botton on desktop and type DISK in the box !)
  7. If the PC  runs ok, run Crystaldisk now for free. if not then run BIOS disk check ,if that passes (its toy grade too) then run Chkdisk, if that  toy test passes run Linux S.M.A.R.T test and last run the LINUX full disk scan.
  8. If the PC does not run good at all, (BSOD;s) do the BIOS test, then see CMD.exe below, and last the linux tests.
Microsofts, CMD.EXE and Chkdsk 
Keep and open mind, HDD have vast failure modes!
 

 
ALL modern HDD have spare sectors used to Autorepare bad sectors,and all HDD later in its life run out of  them and is now a Bad HDD. (at this point CHKDISK is  pure fooly, why?
It is true that ChkDsk command may force and instant S.M.A.R.T scan but this is not true on all versions if Windows.
Do you remember the good old (not) days if simple IDE drives 2000 year or older, well ChkDsk was super important then , lacking drives with S.M.A.R.T features, then.
The S.M.A.R.T drives self repair themselves, so that Windows never sees any errors ever, but once that happens Windows will get upset and tell you it is bad, CHKDSK is mostly useless now. (as sectors go bad a higher rate)
If the HDD is bad are you going to run CHKDISK every  day? every hour?, no, I rest my case. (in fact this is the S.M.A.R.T drives JOB not yours)
In most cases now Windows always tells you in advance the HDD is going bad, that is because windows checks S.M.A.R.T status all the time, and knows when the HDD is bad, (or EOL, end of life , no more spare sectors)
See what MS.com says about  ChkDsk


HDD school: (As simple as I can make it...)!
The HDD  its called a rotating memory on  disk with flying heads,  it has platters and R/W heads and a S.M.A.R.T BRAIN, on mount Everest the heads can not fly with no air, so CRASH. (same on the moon too.)
If you bump any HDD hard enough running  the heads can crash.  (with power off, bumps are mostly harmless below 2 foot drop) running is a whole other matter. (a 3 foot drop is 100G's  so.... out of spec that is)
The drives S.M.A.R.T brain inside knows all HDD made grow bad sectors its whole normal life span, so the designer puts in spare clusters (usually in the form of spare cylinders you can not reach deep inside)
A drive can run for 10 years, and not run out of spares cylinders. (for sure kept cool and not bumped/dropped , ever) folk crying one band of drive maker is no good are wrong, you let your HDD overheat and is your fault.
Yes some brands of GREEN drives, are junk. (short lived) I will not say their names.
As bad sectors grow, the HDD brain immediately and logically and fast ,swaps in new sectors for the old bad and is cured now. The OS sees no errors now. (in and instant) But you will see Parameter 05(hex) increase from 0.
SSD's do similar self healing  and also spread the wear. (SSD are more rubust and have longer life spans, seems to me)
When the spares run out , you hit the brick wall of death NOW. See Parameter ID 5  this is the max spares allowed, as does parameter C6 =0 is good not  zero is bad.
In this drive is 140. (x4096 = 573,440 bytes. or 1/2  megabyte.) Think 1/2 a floppy for spare space.
Windows can not stay running with any Bad HDD.  (the corrupted files cause  that)  NO PC runs with corruption and this file corruption lands in RAM and BSOD' hit.
The same holds true running SFC  to cure this corruption. (folly) (short lived, success)

 WINDOWS IS DEAD ! or HP's  F11 dead or F9 key shows no drive there? (those are HP power on hot keys, other PCs have there own keys for this, RTM read their manual)
 If  not backed up  it's maybe too late (if lucky) move HDD to another PC as 2nd drive and backup your data, if you can't,  your data is a  goner.

BTW: by the way Windows 7/8/10 all tell you in clear warnings, live words from the OS screens (popups) when the bad HDD runs into bad sectors, (warning it will get worse fast!) or it BSOD's
Installing any OS to a bad HDD is just pure endless pain, wasted of time, and grief, don't do that and be more happy... (IMO) The cure (prevention) is next.
If windows 10 goes dead,  turn off  fast boot. Now it might boot, and you can do tests.

I  run this LINUX CD/DVC/STICK.  and run DISK TEST and S.M.A.R.T tests that why.
HOW TO TEST THE HDD WITH THE LIVE BOOT LINUX OS is  here.


CrystgaldiskINFO ( free program that runs in windows) If you Windows is not dead now, this is the fastest way to get S.M.A.R.T data.
The below is  running on a sick PC, the windows is acting up, slow or whatever, but this Crystal Disk Info , program shows, the HDD is TOAST C6(hex) , not 0 is toasted, and bad. 118 is horrible bad.
05 and C6 are wrong.!
This drive is allowed to run, longer, will go far far worse. and DIE DEAD.. and is HOPELESS to try.
 As you can see windows below  runs (you be lucky) and S.M.A.R.T prog. runs, in all cases if windows is dead, you can't get here with WINDOZ DEAD.
 So run LINUX LIVE BOOT instead. (boot it, pick "TRY" me , on its desktop click the top left KEY Icon , and search DISK and bingo see  ICON of  DISK and  wrench and this same test is there)
To be sure  nothing beats this method below or Linux same, to find errors. (all real servers watch this  constantly via its RAID controller (S.M.A.R.T)) This Page below, must show 05 not run out and C6 at zero, or the drive is bad.
Note too ,it is not overheating.
The same page above, can also be seen in Linux Ubuntu 17 live demo DVD/USB stick,  running this.
We run Linux live for 2 reasons,
 1: Your windows is dead and BSODs and reason2 , and most disktest utilities, in the system are toy grade (not w10 , it is S.M.A.R.T aware at all times)
 
I own a HP server that checks this data every hour, from a RAID controller and if it sees  05 or C6 go bad, it sets and fails  the HDD status lamps (LED), I'M BAD... I will soon go HARD FAIL.
Replace me now or doom is soon.

Facts on HDD:  Why not to drop any HDD or the Laptop /Notbook)
Most good hard drives, have a head landing zone, (why damage a data track?) and have park lock, (why wreck a head while the drive is on the UPS truck ?LOL)  (all this is covered in the drive spec, see mine here)
Heat kills most HDD, owners pay no attention at all to heat, and not check  the temperatures (C2 above) and heat kills all things , electronics , and more.  Try to have working fans in the PC case and win.
The heads in the HDD fly, just like a glider air plane does.  So the head never touches, the data tracks directly or both will be damaged, so avoid hitting the drive or dropping it.(directly or in directly)
The head fail to fly over 10,000 feet,  (inside and regular air plane with pressurized cabin is ok) but climbing mount everest or here,  is a fail.
The drive, as installed for normal operation, shall operate error free while subjected to intermittent shock not exceeding 15 Gs at a maximum duration . 
That means dropping a laptop from  a height of x  to a concrete floor. (stopping time is key in the MATH) Concrete does not squish or flex. So is a nasty thing. (that is why Mil Spec tests use a slab of steel 2" think over huge concrete slab.)
Newtons laws work here, not mass but velocity (height governs speed) and surface is key,  (on concrete or a pillow of down feathers are polar differences) Knowing concrete answer, tell the human the worst case, and what might follow.
The drive not powered on it 75G's far larger due to that deal above about flying heads. (and the gap there)
The best packed box (shipping) is about 60"drop max.  (about what USPS does many times to any box shipped (we have proof, from a major  University tests)
The math is is not hard, even kids today in grammar school are taught, simple Alegbra.  so the G = below is obvious to most kids today and old teens  on up in age (due to USA new Math rules)
So as you see, the 'g' value is the classic stated in words, 32 feet per second per second law.  It's a constant until fluid dynamics of air kicks in (  terminal velocity on earth)
Leaving only one VARIABLE  ("a") in Math result "G=" and that is stopping time (rate of).  ( This value of deceleration is super hard to calculate, But can be a very small number , on concrete, and huge G forces as a result.
"a" can be as small as 1/8" inch  or 3 mm.... and with that you can kiss off that HDD even at a low dropping height, even 3 feet high.
Guess what?, concrete is very close to zero decel. time.  so close that 15 G's is child's play to reach on concrete drops, (metal drive to Crete) BAM. Wrecked .
Keep mind the drive is solid machined metal, so it can't bend and reduce the force! , at all, only the PC CASE lowers (or HDD external case) the G-forces as  the case crushes, or flexes inward. (or drives with shock mounts)
as seen here

  The "a" factor (parameter) is really how fast the object stops and one does not need to be a rocket scientist to know concrete is doom for you HDD or your skull landing there.

ALL Symptoms ( exclusive of deep HDD testing): Lots there are:
PC fails to boot the OS. (sure login screen not reached or is DEAD  past this point)
BEEP codes ignored? or Caps lock blink codes.
Errors to screen (or LED error codes like DeLL has, (4 LED in a row, codes (blank is good)
Errors to sthe screen showing, SMART fails HDD0 or startup files missing or corrupted, some HP and dell have  boot up DST or DPS test that can fail for HDD.
The boot  loop, PC boots fails and keeps looping
Or boots and shows F2 , hit F2, ever and over,( or what your OEM uses here) This means, no BOOT on the HDD found, and invites you to enter BIOS and see if the HDD0 is missing or run HDD tests.
Windows boots and BSOD's (due to corrupted OS) and caused by bad HDD.
HDD click load and madly (bad HDD) or screams like banchee.
HDD dead slient, (bad hdd)
BIOS test fail. on HDD0 , run by hand.
Windows might only act sick in 100s of ways, like this and not a VIRUS.
Windows screens dead, (any)
Windows, will not update (auto) nor Control panel dead , all of  it or partial.
You can not launch the Task  Manager
 etc


Make a BOOT CD/DVD/USB stick memory with Linux Demo on it, (I use free Rufus to burn that stick, to make my DEMO media)
Run S.M.A.R.T tests. End story. (if that fails the HDD is BAD)



version #8  9-16-2017    12-18-2018, shorter,  and more direct ! This whole page can be reduced to 1 or 2 lines. see above.  No coverage for any PC over 10 years old, most are retired now or dead forever.