A complete check-up for your PC in 10 steps

A lot can go wrong with a computer. If not the software, then the hardware. The graphics card, hard drive or SSD, fans or RAM ... Running an APK every now and then so that you can recognize and prevent hardware problems early is not a bad idea at all. With this list you perform a thorough check-up.

Tip 01: Disc

To verify whether your hard disk or SSD is still working properly, it is necessary to read the SMART status of a disk. For example, you can use a program such as Crystal Disk Info, which can read this status for both traditional hard drives and SSDs. Also read: Switching to an SSD.

You download this program here. For Standard Edition, click in the Portable (zip) column and a zip file will be downloaded. Extract this folder to an accessible location and click DiskInfoX64.exe to open the program. You will immediately see information about the disk. On the left of the screen is the Health status, which shows how healthy the disk still is. In addition, there is general information about the disk, such as firmware, serial number, but also the total number of reads and writes. At the bottom are the various SMART attributes. At the top of the program you can check the status of your other drives.

Tip 02: SMART Attributes

You will see five columns under the SMART attributes: ID, Attribute, Current, Worst and Threshold. It tells you how well your drive is doing for several important attributes. We highlight a few. Reallocated Sectors Count indicates the number of sectors moved. The disk is divided into many sectors. The moment a sector is physically damaged, the disk will automatically take action, namely ensure that no more data can be written to that sector. That sector is then reallocated, or referred to, to another sector. All data that is actually written to that damaged sector then ends up on a working sector. The Spin Retry Recount tells you how many times a disc must be started before it reaches its maximum spin speed. The higher this number, the more times it needs to be retried, indicating that the rotation system may no longer be working properly. Reported Uncorrectable Errors indicates the number of errors that the drive can no longer recover from.

How do you read all those numbers? In general, what you should pay attention to is that the value for Current is as high as possible, at least as high as the value for Threshold. The moment the current value is below the threshold value, your disk is failing. For the Reallocated Sectors Count it is useful to go to Function / Advanced functions / Raw values ​​and then choose 10 [DEC]. There will be a column called Raw Values. Now if you look at this property again, you see a number here. For example, the Reallocated Sectors Count is the actual number of sectors that have failed.

Tip 03: Bad sectors

If your drive has some bad sectors, you can try a tool to revive those sectors. It is possible that the SMART status has incorrectly listed a sector as bad. This is usually the case during a power outage. Special software, such as HDD Regenerator, allows you to scan the drive for sectors incorrectly marked as damaged and potentially repair them. You should think of a maximum of one to four bad sectors. If your drive has more, then it is really failing. With HDD Regenerator, for example, you can try to repair one sector for free.

For more sectors you pay 80 euros. You download the program here. Click Download at the top. Run the downloaded program and follow the installation steps by clicking Next several times and then Finish. The program opens. Click Click here to repair (…) directly to start repairing. You can then choose the drive to repair. Click Start Process to start repairing. A command prompt will open. Press 2 and press Enter to start scanning immediately and then press 1 to directly repair a bad sector. Finally, type a 1 to start at the front of the disc.

Tip 04: RAM

Your RAM, or internal memory, is also something you don't want to have any errors in. Memory problems include Windows crashes, PC not starting, or Windows freezing. Windows has a built-in program to test the memory. To do this, open the Start menu and type Windows Memory Checker. Press Enter and the program will open.

Start troubleshooting by clicking Restart now and troubleshoot. The PC will then restart and the memory will be checked. Don't be alarmed: you will be welcomed with a Windows XP-like screen when you restart, even on Windows 10. After 20-30 minutes, the check is done and the PC restarts automatically. After logging in, a message appears whether or not errors were found. However, that notification is easy to miss. You can see the result again by clicking the start button and typing Logs. Then right click on Search and type in MemoryDiagnostics-Result. Were errors found? Then it is necessary to purchase new RAM. To see exactly what type of RAM you need, go to Task Manager / Performance / Memory. At the bottom you will see the frequency at which your RAM works under Speed, and which type under Form factor.

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