The Bottom Line
Seagate creates two free hard drive testing software programs - SeaTools for DOS and SeaTools for Windows. While both testing tools are excellent, they are different.
SeaTools for DOS is more powerful but is a bit more difficult to use. SeaTools for Windows isn't as full featured but it's much easier to install.
Both programs are completely free and I highly recommend them. If you suspect that your hard drive may be failing, one or both of these tools from Seagate will help you determine what's wrong.
Important: You may need to replace the hard drive if it fails any of your tests.
- Two versions are available depending on needs
- Both versions are easy to use once installed and are completely FREE
- SeaTools for Windows tests hard drives no matter the manufacturer
- SeaTools for DOS contains a highly useful "acoustic test" for noise troubleshooting
- SeaTools for DOS is OS independent so it's automatically compatible with ALL operating systems
- SeaTools for DOS requires ISO image burner software that novice users may have difficulty using
- SeaTools for DOS handles a maximum of only 100 errors, at which point testing has to begin again
- Seagate SeaTools is available in both a Windows version and a stand-alone, bootable version for maximum flexibility.
- Tests in both SeaTools versions are easy to understand and run.
- SeaTools for Windows can test all types of internal drives including SCSI, PATA, SATA, etc.
- SeaTools for Windows can also test external drives like those based on the USB or FireWire standards.
- SeaTools for DOS features an Acoustic Test to help you determine if a noise is from your hard drive or another component.
Guide Review - Seagate SeaTools
Seagate's SeaTools hard drive testing programs are some of the easiest to use of any I've ever worked with. The test are basic, easy to run, and generally pretty fast in my tests.
The SeaTools hard drive testing software comes in two different versions. SeaTools for Windows runs on Windows 2000, XP or Vista. SeaTools for DOS runs outside of the operating system so the tool will work on your PC no matter what OS you use.
SeaTools for Windows can perform several basic tests that can help determine the health of your hard drive. Your available hard drives and tests are easy to see when the program opens and can be ran with just a few clicks of the mouse.
You can test hard drives from any manufacturer and of any type, including PATA, SATA, and SCSI internal drives along with USB and FireWire external drives. To begin, simply download the software from Seagate's site and install in Windows.
SeaTools for DOS can also perform the several basic tests that SeaTools fro Windows can run but it can also run a very useful Acoustic Test. This test can really save you a lot of time during the troubleshooting of a noisy internal component. It will spin the drive down until it's completely idle, making the drive nearly silent. If you no longer hear the strange noise, the hard drive was the culprit!
With SeaTools for DOS, you can only test hard drives from Seagate and Maxtor. To begin, download either the Floppy Diskette Creator to make a bootable floppy disk (this is the easier option) or the ISO CD-ROM Image to burn to a CD. If you need help burning the CD, check out How to Burn an ISO Image File to a CD or DVD.
So if you're comfortable burning ISO images and you want a slightly more powerful test, use SeaTools for DOS. If you're more of a novice or you just want a quick and basic hard drive test, give SeaTools for Windows a try.