We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Surface Test?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A surface test is a scan of a hard drive that is performed to look for bad sectors. Data stored in a bad sector can be corrupted or lost, and identifying bad sectors allows them to be flagged so that the computer knows not to use them in the future. Many of the software programs for computer maintenance which come loaded with operating systems include a surface test feature, and it is also possible to use a program specifically designed for surface testing to scan a drive.

When a hard drive is manufactured, it usually contains some bad sectors. Over time, more can develop. These areas of the hard drive are damaged in a way which impairs their function, either partially or totally. A number of events can lead to a bad sector, from physical damage caused by faulty components to damage which is the result of a crash or unexpected shutdown. A surface test does what it implies — it scans the surface to check for bad sectors. It is important to note that having bad sectors is not necessarily dangerous or harmful, as long as they are identified and isolated.

The test identifies bad sectors by reviewing the hard drive and looking for disk read errors which indicate that there is a problem with a given sector. Some programs can attempt to repair bad hard drive sectors while performing a hard drive test. Others will mark those sectors so that the system knows not to use them. It may allow them to be read, in case the data stored on the bad sector is still accessible, but they cannot be written to.

It is advisable to run tools for computer maintenance, such as a surface test and hard drive defragmenter, on a regular basis. Checks for viruses, bad sectors, and other problems can allow people to identify them early, before they develop into a more serious issue. This can be scheduled to happen automatically, for computer users who are worried that they might forget otherwise. Software included with an operating system is usually up to the job, but users can also download specialty programs. It is important to use a program which is designed for the operating system and file system in use, and to obtain programs from reputable companies.

The term "surface test" is also used in other senses, such as materials testing, where the goal is to physically test a surface. Surface tests of this nature are performed for product quality control and to confirm that a surface is usable.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.