View Full Version : Stress Testing External Hard Drive

03-04-2015, 06:51 PM
I just got a Seagate 2TB slim (http://www.seagate.com/www-content/product-content/backup-plus-fam/backup-plus-portable-drive-v2/en-us/docs/backup-plus-portable-drive-v3-ds1803-5-1312us.pdf) external hdd and plan to use this to backup my PC / Smartphone data

I want to stress test this hard drive before I start dumping my data on it. Any recommended utility I can use for this task?
Any other method I should employ to thoroughly test it?

Does stress test itself affect life of the hard drive ? I rather it fail now then somewhere later once I start churning backups to it.
Of course it can always fail later even if it goes thru the test well. I plan to get another ext hdd and backup this drive but that's in future

03-04-2015, 08:54 PM
Personally, I'd just run a surface scan. It'll take half the day, and will get the unit pretty warm in the process.

You might want to check out Seagates Seatools utility for further testing options.

03-04-2015, 10:18 PM
Have a read of the following: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/298188-32-stress-testing Look for the posts by passmark - theres a couple of links in the second one that point to google real results.

Theres one simple fact -- Hard Drives fail, can be at any time, some will last less than a day others can be going years later.-- Refer back to links from the google reports.

http://www.passmark.com/index.html Actually supply hardware testers, they do warn you components can fail with these tests.

04-04-2015, 10:56 AM
Yeah even new drives they failed in a few months for me. I have backups and replace.....

07-04-2015, 07:59 PM
What's the rationale behind stress testing? Stress testing is usually undertaken to see how much data you can throw at the disk until it starts performing well below par or until it fails? This is only really beneficial if you have multiple processes writing many data streams to the same disk as the same time, so let's say for example, having multiple backup streams going to the same disk at the same time... I could be wrong but in a non-business scenario this is unlikely to happen.

Given the size of the disk and theoretical speeds most modern disk controllers are capable of (which is dependent largely on how quickly the disk itself can actually write data) there is no real benefit in doing this in a SOHO scenario.

There are 3 likely outcomes...

1) The disk will write the data as expected, which is what one would expect from a new disk unless it has been used before and there are "known" performance issues with it. In which case there's your answer so no need to stress test it.

2) The disk will write data at the expected level and as you increase the amount of data streams being written to it the performance level will drop which again is what is expected. Your most likely reaction to this will be to reduce the number of data streams being written to it until you reach either the peak performance level or a balance between acceptable write performance and number of data streams running simutlaneously to the disk. This is likely to require additional testing to find that balance? So unless you have a lot of time there is no real benefit to a stress test?

3) The disk will write data as expected and will then crash or stop working... then what? You have a "sucessful" stress test result but a dud disk? Course of action??? Buy another disk and ... wash rinse and repeat scenarios 1 to 3?

It's a novel idea but at best "overkill".... then again just me :2cents: worth.


08-04-2015, 08:20 AM
I want to stress test this hard drive before I start dumping my data on it.

Does stress test itself affect life of the hard drive ?

Yes...it's use so you have added to it's use.

Hard drives can and do fail at any time, even the good brands.

You NEVER have data on only one drive, always backup a copy to a separate, external, drive.

08-04-2015, 04:48 PM
Check SMART data, if anything is bad, consider the drive as on the way out and treat it accordingly.
Use some tool to do a full low-level write to the drive. Full erase on Seatools etc... This will test writing to all sectors.
Check SMART again, if there were any write errors, reallocated sectors etc now after the full erase, the drive is on the way out.

If the drive had no errors while doing a full erase, and no SMART attributes have reported error or increased significantly after the test, you can say the drive is probably OK, to the extent that you are not wasting time using something that may be dying.

Of course, absence of errors and warnings do not mean the drive cannot still fail a day later. Make sure you have multiple backups.

And yes, a full test will add some minor use\'wear' on the drive, not much though. A healthy drive will have no problem.