Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 23:30:57 +1100
From: George Georgakis (
Subject: Re: Crashed harddrive maybe caused by driver

On 19/12/02 at 21:30 Frank Grant wrote:

>I then shut down the machine and restarted. This time when rebooting it
>came up with file errors. It could not automatically fix the errors so
>it dropped me into command line mode. I then ran fsck and the file
>system was corrupt. I then rebooted into windows and scandisk said the
>same thing.

HDD manufacturers frequently offer free diagnostic programs for download from their websites. These programs usually boot from floppy, though you may need Windows to create the floppy in the first place.

I have not heard of Magnetic Data Technologies before now, so I can't comment on them. But Maxtor's PowerMax and sometimes the old Quantum QDPS.exe utility can be used across manufacturers. These utilities can test the drive for things such as SMART reporting, RAM buffer, hardware/connection/cable diagnostics, physical media integrity and even low-level formatting (though I've found that dd'ing /dev/zero across the whole drive is sufficient to "refresh" the drive in preparation for a new partition table).

Eliminate the drive's hardware as the source of the problem before looking at any software issues. You can take heart that, since it's only 1 month since purchase, you shouldn't have a problem with a warranty replacement if necessary.
George Georgakis

All mail sent to this address will bounce. If you genuinely wish to contact me, address the message to "george" at this domain.

Hard drive diagnostic utilities:


The Powermax utility is designed to perform diagnostic read/write verifications on Maxtor/Quantum hard drives. These tests will determine hard drive integrity. The Powermax utility is effective on all ATA (IDE) hard drives with a capacity greater than or equal to 500 MB. Maxtor recommends the use of this utility for troubleshooting potential hard drive problems. These problems include, but are not limited to the following:

- Potential hard drive surface problems (e.g., bad clusters, bad sectors, partitioning/formatting problems, etc.).

- Drive recognition problems (e.g. hard drive that is not recognized by the operating system).

- Software removal.

(The utility is distributed as a Win32 utility that writes to a bootable floppy.)


DiscWizard Program Suite
Ultra ATA/100 Configuration Utility
SeaTools Disc Diagnostic

SeaTools Desktop
Desktop edition works with most Seagate and Conner ATA or SCSI drives in desktop systems and has a 98% accuracy rate.

Features: Text and graphics are easy to read and follow. The software is available in English, Deutsch, Español, and Français.

Access: Download this file to your hard drive then execute to create a bootable diskette.

(The utility is distributed as a Win32 utility that writes to a bootable floppy. The code is descended from Ontrack Disk Manager.))

Western Digital

Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools
Western Digital Data Lifeguard Utilities
Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics
Western Digital Ultra ATA Manager

(The several editions mentioned, all descended from Microhouse International's EZ-Drive, seem to be variously contained within zip archives or Win32 installers, and after unpacking get variously placed on bootable floppies.)

Hitachi / IBM Drive Fitness Test:

Drive Fitness Test (v3.40)
This download creates a self-booting DOS diskette to run the DFT utility. The Drive Fitness Test (DFT) provides a quick, reliable method to test SCSI and IDE hard disk drives. The Drive Fitness Test analyze function performs read tests without overwriting customer data. (However, Drive Fitness Test is bundled with some restoration utilities that will overwrite data).

Version 3.40 includes the support for the latest drives and also includes ASPI Managers to support Adaptec Ultra320 and ATTO Ultra320 SCSI Controllers. The users guide PDF covers how to use Drive Fitness Test and the included utilities.


UDMA Utility (For MPD, MPE, and MPF Series Hard Disk Drives)
UDMA Utility (For MPG Series Hard Disk Drives)
Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool Ver.1.4 (For SCSI Hard Disk Drives)
Fujitsu Diagnostic Tool Ver. 6 (For EIDE Hard Disk Drives)

This diagnostic tool is available for use by customers who feel their Fujitsu drive may not be functioning as well as it should be. It is only designed for use on all Fujitsu EIDE hard drives. There are 2 test modes:

1. Quick Test
About 1 minute, does random seek/read tests.
2. Comprehensive Test
About 6 minutes, also performs surface scan.

Runs only under DOS from a bootdisk.

Fujitsu Erase Utility

Note: This program works only with any FUJITSU IDE hard disk drives

This procedure performs a pseudo-formatting to the drive. It erases all of your previous data and reinitializes it to "00" pattern. By performing this task, you will be able to erase the whole user area including your Master Boot Record, Partition Table, FAT (File Allocation Table), and all the files and data it refers to. Use this program if you want to be sure your drive is clean.

Samsung Shdiag
Samsumb HDUTIL

This program is used to diagnose the disk when the SAMSUNG hard disk is suspected to have failures.

1. SET MAX ADDRESS : Resizing capacity
2. ERASE HDD : 0-write or low level format
3. SET MAX UDMA MODE : Switching transfer mode
4. AUTOMATIC ACOUSTIC MANAGEMENT : Changing acoustic noise level
5. SELF DIAGNOSTIC : Diagnosing each function and surface defect