Windows

Use HD_Speed application for quick disk performance report

There should be no shortage of disk performance tools for the administrator’s arsenal. In this blog post, IT pro Rick Vanover shows how to use the HD_Speed tool to report on disk performance.

I am always on the lookout for a good freeware utility. Recently, I came across the HD_Speed utility from SteelBytes. HD_Speed is a standalone (no installation required) tool that does just that; reports on drive speed.

HD_Speed is a standalone Windows program that reports on local drives for their speed in Megabytes per second. There are options to change local drive and specify a different block size. The block size defaults to automatic, which does not give much help in running a test. Different hard drives will have different block sizes. The test that will deliver the highest throughput with HD_Speed will be to specify a block size in the interface that is the same as the Windows drive letter being tested. Figure A below shows a specified drive letter (E:\) running HD_Speed with the 8K block size that matches the disk geometry: Figure A

Figure A

That same drive tested with a different block size will yield wildly different results. Specifically, a smaller block size test configuration than what the actual volume contains will represent a lower throughput. This is shown in Figure B below: Figure B

Figure B

The option to log results to a file is helpful, as every pass is represented in the file that was recorded with HD_Speed. This file is kept in the running directory that HD_Speed was running and is a simple, easy to read file.

There are a number of tools that administrators can utilize to measure disk throughput, namely IOmeter. I recommend keeping HD_Speed handy as one of the tools to benchmark storage, both in normal operations as well as when things are perceived to be slowed down.

How have you used HD_Speed? Share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

5 comments
shagnat
shagnat

I used it, but, the only drive it would recognize is my USB external drive. Not even my DVD/Blu-Ray drives, much less any hard drives (C/D).

nick.ferrar
nick.ferrar

I'd say there's a derth of I/O measuring tools out there, IOmeter is by far the best-known but it's not exactly user-friendly and suffers from a lack of development. Might have to check this one out to see how it compares - out of interest did you do a comparison test with IOmeter to see if the results were similar?

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

You probably need to use the Run as Administrator option. Right-click, Run as Administrator

b4real
b4real

Not the experience I had in Windows 7 and 2008.

b4real
b4real

But it's stalled development has made me purse other products.

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