I have an external drive that has had issues with corrupt data in the past. However, I'm not sure if this is a physical problem with the drive, or whether it was just a file problem.

Typically, I would take the drive out of the enclosure, install it in a computer, and use a bootable CD (such as the Ultimate Boot CD) to test a hard drive. However, I would also like to test the USB enclosure that this is in as well.

What do you suggest using to determine if this is a physical problem with the drive or USB enclosure?

  • Curious about this one myself. May 7, 2009 at 20:26

2 Answers 2


I would suggest booting off a Linux live CD of some sort and use badblocks.

For example, a command like badblocks -n /dev/sda will scan the drive and do a non-destructive write as well.


I would take it out of the enclosure and run SpinRite on it, to do a full diagnostic on the inner workings of the hard disk drive.

Check the enclosure only after you have verified the drive is functioning properly.

  • It may also be possible to run SpinRite on it in the enclosure, if the right drivers can be found for the copy of FreeDOS that hosts the SpinRite executable. GRC claims this is possible, but I haven't done it myself.
    – RBerteig
    May 7, 2009 at 23:16
  • The enclosure may not be able to send S.MA.R.T. data about the drive to the computer, that data could be useful for diagnosing the drive. May 8, 2009 at 2:16

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