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Hard Drive Engine test-clone-image and more.

Hard Drive Engine-hard drive test, clone-image and more

With the increasing prevalence of solid-state drives (SSDs) in recent years, drive reliability has improved. However, unexpected failures can still occur, making it crucial to be proactive in preventing data loss. This is where a dedicated software solution like Hard Drive Engine comes into play as a solid hard drive test tool.

The primary objective of Hard Drive Engine is to assist users in detecting the health of their drives, particularly mechanical ones. SSD drives are supported to the extent that the manufacturers provide crucial S.M.A.R.T info such as wear level, reallocated sectors, etc. The software offers a range of tests to ensure everything is functioning, along with other valuable tools such as drive cloning and imaging functions.

Upon launching the program, a tutorial window appears, providing step-by-step instructions on how to operate it. To begin, you load your drives and select the ones you want to examine. Once your drives are selected, S.M.A.R.T information will be displayed; you can then perform several tests, including critical, short, and NIST read tests.

These tests scan various areas of your drive, with priority given to the partition and boot sector areas, as well as the Master File Table, in search of faulty sectors. If any bad blocks are detected, the software promptly notifies you, at which point the additional functions come into play.

Cloning and imaging capabilities enable users to safeguard their data from potential harm. Cloning involves transferring the data from one drive to another, and during this process, the software utilizes a bad block identifier mechanism. On the other hand, imaging creates a complete backup of a drive, allowing for easy restoration if needed.

Furthermore, the program includes a feature specifically designed to scan for files secured with BitLocker, ensuring their status is checked. Another noteworthy feature is the Tech Portable USB, which allows a technician to closely inspect your drive in the event of an impending data failure.

hard drive engine test, clone, image, and more.
Hard Drive Engine interface. Test, clone, image and more.

Hard Drive Engine how to use.

Highlighted drive displays S.M.A.R.T data value’s instantly.

Choose the read test you would like to perform. Shown left is a critical read test of Windows file system structures. Reads critical partition tables, boot sectors and Master File Table’s (MFT) for quality. If Hard Engine encounters a bad read it will fail the test.


Image Drive to file: Click on the checkbox next to the drive to be imaged. Then click “Drive to Image”. A dialog box will then allow you to choose where you would like to store that image file.


Now you can start the imaging process. In true Hard Drive Engine form, a race car will show the progress of the imaging process. Once completed the trophy will be displayed!

disable drive mounting to access drive not mounting in windows

If your hard drive failed the critical read test or is hanging up your computer. You can select and use “Disable Drive Mounting”. This will stop Windows from hanging up when your hard drive is attached, assuming it has bad sectors and is not catastrophically failing. If data is important use with caution.

Detect BitLocker BDE status and display key.

Hard Drive Engine allows you to check the status of BitLocker Drive Encryption. If BDE is found Hard Drive Engine will check for a recovery key and display it if possible.


The “Quick View” function allows you to see the data on-disk. Solid-State-Drives and Western Digital drives using shingled magnetic recording use Trim. If you want to check if your drive has been nulled “00”. Use this function to see how much data is stored on-disk. See below for more details.

Hard Drive Engine – the details. Hard drive recovery, image, clone and more.

  • List drives – click on drive and show S.M.A.R.T logs.  Other than the uses stated above Hard Drive Engine can be a very helpful tool in recovering data from drives with minor problems that may render the drive inaccessible in Windows. When a drive does not mount in Windows, you can use hard drive engine to determine if the drive is detected and see how many reallocated sectors, unreadable sectors, etc. have been logged by S.M.A.R.T.  The reporting will give you a pass or fail based on our model. If the hard drive passes the short read but fails the critical read test, you may be able to image the drive to file or clone to another drive. The NIST test is a long-read test that is based on the NIST 800 standard for a randomized 10% read of the media. If the drive passes all tests the most likely failure is file system corruption. There are many choices to recover data from a hard drive that has file system failures, from free to paid. Hard Drive Engine users can get a free copy of Recover It All Now from our website.
  • Enable\Disable Drive Mounting- This feature is very helpful when you are working with a drive with bad sectors. Regardless, if the drive is the boot drive, secondary drive attached internally via SATA, or an external drive attached via USB, Windows will try to mount the entire file system. If a drive has bad sectors in the file system, it may take some time for Windows to load the file system or it may even hang up your computer. Drives are made with the ability to move data from sectors that are not performing to specifications to spare sectors. However, if the sector is bad and cannot be read, Windows will try up to 32 times to read each failing sector.  By disabling drive mounting Windows will not mount any drive after the function is processed. This is not a fix for drives that have severe mechanical problems. If the data on the drive in question is important you should contact a data recovery professional.

This is a game changer when you have a drive with a few bad sectors in critical file system components. You can now quickly access the drive and use data recovery software to move your data to another hard drive.

  • BitLocker Status- Many manufacturers deploy BitLocker on some of their laptops and some users may not be aware the contents of their hard drive are encrypted.  Hard Drive Engine tests the BitLocker Drive Encryption (BDE) to see if it is on.  If BDE is on it will look for the BitLocker Recovery Key and will print it out on the Drive Status Report. We have encountered many users that had changed or repaired components in their laptops and have subsequently been locked out. Having your BitLocker Key in two or more safe places is highly recommended.
  • Quick View- Solid-State-Drives (SSDs) or Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) hard drives using the Trim command.  SSDs are the primary boot device used in almost all laptops and PCs today. However, hard drives are still much cheaper to store large amounts of data than Solid State drives. The read speeds of SSD are much faster than hard drives.  Solid-State-Drive must do some house cleaning to write data. Solid State Drives cannot overwrite existing data the way that magnetic-based hard drives can. The gate must be open for the Solid-State-Drive to write or store new data.

The Trim function is executed by the operating system as soon as data is deleted, or a drive is formatted to go out and null (Hex view 00) data on so new data can be written. Trim pre-emptively executes what garbage collection does behind the scenes. It tells garbage collection that data has been deleted and to include it in its next cycle.

Hard drives manufactured after 2016, particularly Western Digital drives including external My Passport, Easy Store, and some My Cloud drives use Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR).  The word shingle is used to explain how the data is stored. The read-write heads fly just above the platter surface. The write signal expands in a cone shape and is wider when it is written to the platter surface. The read channel is a static size roughly five times smaller than what was written. To use this wasted space writes are now overlapped to the offset of the read channel.

Almost all hard drive manufacturers are now implementing SMR. Western Digital has implemented a secondary translator to keep track of where the data exists and how much of the drive is used. The data on Western Digital (WD) SMR hard drives are treated much like data stored on a Solid-State-Drive. Western Digital has also implemented the ATA Trim function to purge data from deletion and format etc.

Enter Hard Drive Engine Quick View and you will be able to look at data on disk. If you fear, you have accidentally deleted data from a SSD or SMR WD hard drive you can take a quick look and see if your drive is full of null data – hex 00.

  • Mechanical failure- S.M.A.R.T is very helpful in diagnosing a hard drive that may be failing mechanically. For instance, if you find you are having problems accessing data and you have a large number of reallocated sectors, uncorrectable sectors, pending sectors, etc., this may be an indication that one of the read/write heads is failing or has failed.  If the drive store data that you must have it is a good time to call a professional data recovery lab. Continued use may cause damage to the platter surface dedicated to the faulty read/write head.

Often a user may think that their hard drive is not showing up because they did not eject the drive before removing the device from the computer.  Hard Drive Engine will see the drive regardless of file system damage. Therefore, if the drive is detected by the hard drive engine but not mounted by Windows, you may have file system damage. If the drive is not detected by Hard Drive Engine

  • use the disable mounting function-if the drive is still not detected the drive is most likely suffering from a mechanical failure.

Pro tip- if you are having problems with an external drive always try changing the cable.

Additionally, you can try to mount your external hard drive on another computer.  If none of the above works stop powering on your drive.

Hard Drive Engine is a solid drive-checking software solution, being easy to utilize whilst also being entirely free-of-charge.

Softpedia Review Hard Drive Engine 
Review by Robert Condorache on July 15, 2022