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Testing a Hard Disk from the BIOS

This document pertains to HP and Compaq Notebook computers manufactured after 2003.
The Hard Disk Self Test, built into the BIOS of many HP notebook computers that were manufactured after 2003, tests the condition and integrity of the hard drive. You should use the Hard Drive Self Test in the BIOS if you see any error message about possible problems with the hard drive. Periodically use the test as part of a regular maintenance program to identify potential issues before they become problems.
Perform a Hard Drive Self Test from the BIOS
Many computer problems are related to soft failures on the hard drive. The comprehensive portion of the HP Hard Drive Self Test repairs soft errors on the hard drive, but does not report the errors. After the test completes, be sure to restart the computer to determine if the test repaired any problems you are experiencing with your computer.
  1. Plug the AC Adapter into the computer if it is not already connected.
  2. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  3. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the F10 key to enter the BIOS Setup menu.
  4. Use the Right Arrow or Left Arrow keys to navigate through the menu selection to find the Primary Hard Drive Self Test option. Depending on your BIOS, this may be found below Diagnostics or Tools.
  5. Select Primary Hard Drive Self Test, and then press the Enter key to start the test.
    Figure : Example of a Primary Hard Disk Self Test screen
     Disk Test screen showing the progress of the progress of the test.
    The exact wording of the option for your particular BIOS may be slightly different.
The Hard Drive Self Test performs a Quick Test followed by a Comprehensive Test. During each test, the window displays a status bar and an estimated time to completion.
  • If any test fails, you should attempt to save any important files from the drive if the drive is still functional. If under warranty, Contact HP for a replacement drive.
  • If all tests pass, the hard drive is not damaged and HP will not provide a replacement hard drive. The suspected problem with the hard drive is likely something else. Performing a system recovery after backing up important files will likely resolve the problems.
Testing more than one hard drive
Some notebook models have two hard drives and the Self Test should be run on both drive. Start the notebook in the BIOS Setup Utility, as discussed above. When you select the Hard Drive Self Test option, you also open the drive selection window. Select either the Hard Drive or the Multi-Bay test option. After testing the drive, you can select and test the other drive.
The exact wording used for these testing options may differ from model to model, but the test accurately evaluates the condition of the hard drive.
Hard Drive Test not available for solid state hard drives
The hard drive testing processes in this document cannot be performed on a solid state hard drive. If your computer has a solid state hard drive, and displays a hard drive error message, Contact HP. See Viewing Hard Drive Information for information.
Hard Drive Test not available for older BIOS
Performing the Hard Drive Self Test on serial ATA (SATA) hard drives may generate a message indicating that diagnostics are not supported or do not exist. If such a message displays, determine if an updated version of the BIOS is available for the notebook. Update the BIOS and then perform the Hard Drive Self Test. See Updating the BIOS for more information.


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