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Windows Surface Scanner Freeware Utility

Several times a week DTI Data receives calls from clients describing a situation where their computer seems to ‘freeze’ or ‘lock-up’ on boot up.   No matter what they try the system will no longer boot and they receive a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).   Normally we will recommend that before they spend money on data recovery to take the drive out of the computer and place it in an external USB enclosure.  Once in the enclosure the system is rebooted with the enclosure off.  When the system comes online then we ask the client to turn the USB enclosure on.  Several things may or may not happen at this time and we offer a description and a remedy to all of them in our online classroom, however for this particular case we are watching for the system to ‘freeze’ again. If the system freezes again then there is usually one problem; bad sectors on the drive.

Bad sectors on a drive are very hard to diagnose as they look like so many other problems and can be masked very easily.  One minute the drive is working and the next it is not.  This usually sends a technician into a flurry of questions as to what new software has been loaded, what websites have been visited, is the virus and malware software up to date, and on and on.  Ultimately there is really only one way to check the drive for bad sectors and that is with software.

DTI Data offers this tool to all who think they may have bad sectors.  We send it to everyone who we believe may have bad sectors to help us diagnose their problem and to give them a proper and accurate quote.  We try our best not to quote using some sort of arbitrary cost spread.  When a person is getting ready to spend a large sum of money they want the amount to be as accurate as possible.  DTI Data works closely with the prospective client to offer the best value for their dollar in addition to helping them accurately assess their data recovery situation.

One final note, while running the software if there are several bad sectors and it is taking a very long time to scan the drive then it is advisable to stop the scan.  Never brute force a drive scan as it can cause more damage to an already tenuous situation.

Download The Freeware Utility – Windows Surface Scanner here.


16 Responses to “Windows Surface Scanner Freeware Utility”

  1. joe November 21, 2009 12:38 pm #

    How do I use the scanner …. when I click ‘Mount ..’ nothing happens …



    • Jacqui Best November 24, 2009 1:21 pm #

      Is this in windows Vista? If so try RIGHT CLICKING on the .exe file and RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR

  2. Arthur W. Arre November 22, 2009 12:02 am #

    Win7 Ultimate 64 opens but won’t mount no error just no action

  3. Yatti420 November 27, 2009 10:29 am #

    Thumbs up for the App… For Windows 7.. Right Click > Properties > Compatibility > Windows Vista > Run As Administrator Always.. Works Fine.. This is never going to be a Spinrite.. It may be more advanced then a chkdsk but it an only do so much.. Spinrite runs on bootup no os running etc also works better of internal controllers rather then USB which is slow and cruddy..

    • Jacqui Best November 30, 2009 12:04 pm #

      Thanks for the info on getting it to run in Windows 7 .. super helpful!

  4. reza November 29, 2009 1:17 pm #

    How do I use the scanner …. when I click ‘Mount ..’ nothing happens …

    • Jacqui Best November 30, 2009 12:06 pm #


      If this is Windows Vista or Windows 7 then you are going to need to see Yatti’s post about Windows 7 and for Vista try right clicking on the executable and RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR

  5. dobhar November 29, 2009 2:19 pm #

    For Windows7 (32bit) I used Jacqui’s suggestion “Run as Administrator” and the “mount” was then successful.

  6. Belga December 19, 2009 8:09 am #

    Here is the result of a test by Virus Total on your exe-file :

    How do you explain this poor result ?

    • DTI Data Recovery December 29, 2009 4:23 pm #


      This is common for tools that access the hard disk. There are no viruses in the program. We have had over 10,000 downloads with no complaint. It is a typical false positive for a disk scanning utility. A lot of our full version data recovery tools also throw out false positives, but they are all certified clean by Softpedia as virus and trojan free. Here is a link to the page that has all the links to Softpedia.

  7. gumuruh December 28, 2009 7:41 pm #

    then, after we done using this app, where’s the report anyway?
    and what should we do next other than recovering it?

    bcoz, there should be another way to avoid the bad sector location rather than taking it out right? 😀

  8. Oss February 9, 2010 2:49 am #

    The utlitly works great… Thankx for thw awesome tool!

  9. Tak-Wah Pang October 20, 2010 11:27 pm #

    I download this and use it to check my disks but encounter a problem,-

    It report “data error (cyclic redundancy check)” for sector X and then continue to report the same error for sector X+1, X+2 ……… X+50 …… until I hit stop scan.

    When I use a sector editor to read the same disk, the sector editor report read error for sector X, X+1 … X+7 but the sectors after that are all readable.

    Any idea what cause this?

    BTW, This is an external disk connecting to the system using USB.

    • EL Dopa March 9, 2011 5:36 am #

      That’s normal; bad sectors can still be ‘half readable’, meaning they fail like 50% of the time (before the degrade to 100% errors). Retrying the read a a couple of time sometimes succeeds. Sometimes it helps if you first read a higher sector number and then the bad ones – or just the other way around. Also the drive-temp can influence the result, etc.

  10. clemenzina April 23, 2013 9:39 pm #

    Thank you, Dick, for making this useful utility free for us. I have scanned my hard drive but I cannot access the report – it wants to print or fax it and I am not connected to either. I’d be most grateful for advice.


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