Storage

Review: HD Tune Pro 3.50 diagnostic tools

HD Tune Pro is a hardware-independent utility that administrators can use to perform a variety of diagnostics to confirm hard disk performance.

Network administrators and support technicians routinely battle hard disk-related issues. HD Tune Pro is a hardware-independent utility that administrators can use to perform a variety of hard disk diagnostics, regardless of manufacturer, to confirm hard disk health and performance.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: EFD Software
  • Product: HD Tune
  • Version: Pro 3.50
  • Operating System: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP64-bit, Windows 2003 Server
  • Disk Space: 10MB free
  • Disk Types: SCSI, SATA and IDE
  • Download: HD Tune Pro 3.50
  • Price: $34.95
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Who's it for?

Network administrators and support professionals regularly battle hard disk issues. From systems that won't boot because of corrupted data and file system errors, hard disk troubleshooting is sometimes a frustrating and time consuming task. Fortunately, HD Tune Pro simplifies hard disk diagnostic work.

What problem does it solve?

HD Tune Pro eliminates the need for administrators and support pros to maintain a library of various diagnostic utilities from multiple disk manufacturers. Using a single application - HD Tune Pro - technical staff can perform a wide range of diagnostic functions on a variety of hard disk types.

HD Tune Pro supports performing secure erasure, running comprehensive error scans (including a review of a disk's SMART health status), displaying read, write, and spin-up times, recording benchmark performance metrics and more. The metrics and disk health information the utility displays is invaluable in troubleshooting and recovering from hard disk trouble.

Standout features

  • Multiple disk types: HD Tune Pro works with SCSI, SATA and IDE disks, meaning it's highly compatible even in environments supporting legacy SCSI and older IDE equipment.
  • SMART health: In addition to providing performance benchmarking functionality, HD Tune Pro displays S.M.A.R.T. health status information. Spin up time, start/stop counts, seek error rate, power on hours count, spin retry count, temperature, write error rate and numerous other metrics among the disk health status indicators HD Tune Pro makes available to support technicians.
  • Error scanning: HD Tune Pro includes an error scanning tool that enables reviewing SMART status and bad blocks from within a single utility. Administrators can perform regular, comprehensive sector-by-sector scans or choose a Quick Scan to obtain a quick sector status report.
  • Benchmark testing: Hard disk performance is affected by several factors, including a drive's ability to write data, read information and even burst speeds. HD Tune Pro's benchmark utilities assist support professionals in determining whether a hard disk's performance remains at acceptable levels.
  • Temperature display: High operating temperatures lead to disk failures. HD Tune Pro displays a disk's temperature prominently within the application console and assists technicians in monitoring a disk's temperature. The utility also displays warning alerts from within the Windows System Tray.
  • Secure erasure: HD Tune Pro includes a disk erasure tool that includes several disk data-deletion options. Among the options available for overwriting and erasing hard disk data are Zero Fill and Department of Defense 5220.22-M methods.

What's wrong?

  • USB-connected drives don't fully register: In many cases, IT consultants and others test problematic hard disks using specially configured test systems. Connecting troubled hard disks via USB adapters or USB connections often leaves the disk's SMART information inaccessible to HD Tune Pro, however.
  • Weak documentation: What little documentation is available for HD Tune Pro appears to have been written as an afterthought. Additional information would assist administrators and other support staff in better interpreting SMART errors, for example.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

Hard disks fail. That's why businesses deploy RAID arrays and invest so heavily in backup systems. Often disk issues don't result in total failures, however. The resulting slow performance and intermittent errors can prove vexing to diagnose and fix. That's when HD Tune Pro proves a valuable utility. The application makes it easier for administrators and support technicians to isolate disk issues and determine appropriate repairs regardless of the disk's manufacturer.

User rating

Have you encountered or used HD Tune Pro 3.50? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

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