How to use Live Linux to test any PC or to test a bad suspected HDD.          

If you are not a day to day Linux users. (many are, and are happy) all the below is old hat to you.
This page below is  just for how to use Linux in the following ways.
  • Testing any suspecting bad HDD on a PC that will not boot or BSODs or worse.  Is the HDD good or bad.
  • Backing up data. (before it gets worse)
  • Cloning drives, not covered by me and is very complex on new PC with UEFI fully enabled.
  • Just want to DEMO Linux, try it for free not wanting at all to install Linux now. (easy see below)

All you need to run LINUX DEMO  mode, is a boot its media, of some kind, DVD-R recordable or USB flash memory stick (thumb drive or Udisk) if you have media now  the cost is free.
Forget DVD-r  no need to burn any DVD now, with USB sticks dirt cheap. 16GB.
All wise technicians have this media in their kit (means my tool box)
Best of all is USB stick flash drive with Linux ISO loaded on it as per UBUNTU instructions.

There is no need to install Linux, it runs in demo mode.(boot the CD or USB stick ,"media" see on the screen click "TRY ME".)
More modern PCs flat boot up and tell you HDD is bad, or code saying that, and is covered in your OEM free manual those facts and error codes only your manual works here not others. RTM.
My favorite boot  is hands down best,  Ubuntu V20+ (+means or newer) read there how to make media that boots.
The best Linux does not fit on CD. (only DVD) or usb stick.
The application we run is called, DISKTESK or search in the Linux desktop menu, "DISK" and bingo you have it up.

Ok linux is booted.
I will go in to some details below.

My DELL PC I can just power on hammer F12 and run diagnsics, and HDD is tested. No need for linux. (dead PC is worst case and my topic) RTM.
Run Linux boot demo mode now.

HDD testing,   
All we are doing here is one of 2 things, asking Linux if S.M.A.R.Ts fail on my HDD or I am trying to get my data off a drive that came out of a dead PC, really both is done same time.
I do not fool with DVD-r burn disk today, I use USB memory sticks only , and buy  them by the fist full.
16GB is my favorite size as that allows windows installs to fit too. (I have a plan) 

The flash USB stick ($5 cost 16GB) with this same ISO using RUFUS, Get RUFUS that is  CLEAN here,  for free)

First we download the ISO image for Linux.

I like Ubuntu v17 up.

After burning any USB stick:
Use now,  the windows task bar, click the USB ICON and eject USB drive now. (if not , you  risk a corrupted USB stick) the stick is now ready.''
In BIOS if set disable Safeboot  and enable legacy mode On.

On my HP F9 is boot on the fly key. (others PC have there  own key rules (
F9 BIOS window POPS! or Dell F12 boot on the fly hot key , power on hammer F12 bingo.
I down arrow 1 time, for my Cruzer stick.and hit ENTER key  (or the DVD if using that)

Click that then hammer the space bar to force boot the USB media.
The next screen click Try Me or try Ubuntu. This is DEMO mode, not install mode.! It is safe. This means Demonstration's mode, or  DEMO.
This is the first Linux window, 2 choices, click TRY.

Click here this allows you to  search for the Linux disktest app.  Just type "DISK" in the  search box, when open.

  Find DISKTEST,  To run Disktest program Application. (some versions of Linux show only "DISK" as the test)

 Then  Click the HDD left side, that  you want to test. (the test is harmless) This app just scans the disk using PCI scans to example SMART parameters.

All HDD 2001 to now SATA can to SMART reporting,  (even warns of drives that are going to fail hard soon, no kidding like magic ) 
If the PC has 2 HDD and 2 SSD and 2 M.2 drives like mine, then you now chose what drive seen on the left that you want to test first.(or suspect like the normal windows Boot drive ) This example is 480GB


Pick Smart tests.  next
The Good then the bad are shown after the next photo,  198, must be 0 or  the HDD is bad. (under windows 198. = C6 hex) The parameters are numbered and have names.
The name Uncorrectable must be zero (0) if not at zero that means the HDD ran out of spare sectors, (learn that all HDD do self repairs, and it it runs out of spares, the HDD IS DOOMED)
Think like this, your car has 4 flat tires, sure car can be driven  but ..... you get the idea, no? This HDD below passes all tests.
Photo #1 good HDD. See it tell you 'DISK is OK" that is a fact.

Now Bad HDD next and all following photos  ID 198 = C6hex, must be 0.
The spares are gone  , now  bad sectors grow ,day by day, forever."DOOMED"
Don't you just  love how clear linux words below are so  accurate,  it tells the unbridled raw truth to you, not just "disk fail 1"  or code 
2000-0146 (dell funny codes , RTM.)
The truth will surely set you free here, and not lose some data or more.
NOTE it even says Spare Area. This is all you really need to see, if present the drive is DOOMED.
When I see, spare sectors go dry
, I think of these guys,  doomed and all hopeless (I had to do this on ship , just like these guys )

What is cool about this parameter  05  is it tells you drive is  about to fail soon, predictive failures.  Nothing made is more useful than this. See that #100 if you cross this line?, time for a new drive before data loss.

Parameter 05, is how many were moved. (hint it ran out at 100)  512 bytes/sector, times 100, it ends.
 Each HDD you buy , can have more spare sectors available. (depends on size of drive and quality paid for, Enterprise drives are bests.)

If smart fails the drive is bad, and for sure now has corrupted sectors that will doom  your data and windows files all. Doomed is doomed.
C6h  (198.) not zero means DRIVE IS BAD. Means spare sectors are now gone dry for ever, doomed.

If your Windows 10 PC is dead, but you click here running linux you can see all data is there using Linux explorer.  (this is mine) Yours will show a HDD and is where you data is located, or more.
This is SSD SDA1 here. If not seen below, boot the PC in legacy mode, BIOS UEFI turn off secure boot for now, later put it back on to boot windows10.  (put the PC in to  legacy mode in  BIOS) then boot linux.
Look in  the Users folder , find your data and back  it up now to say a 2nd USB stick.
I am just Linux browsing files in the C: (W10 boot media)

What you see is what you got, if you copy a file and you get CRC errors that is a corrupted file , and is a smart failed HDD. (if you can get most of your data now count your self lucky)
Window nor any app or magic software can repair any smart failed drive as other  noobs claim. (endless lies from folks with minds stuck in 1995 on old PATA drives) forget this lie.
Only firmware inside  the drive can fix bad sectors, only it  period ! (it owns them not you nor any other software, it has exclusive owner ship of all sectors live , dead and spared out , or spares)
Learn this and win, save time, even backup data before it gets worse, YAH THINK?  Get the data first backed up then play the game of lies above. (if at all)
HINT1: There is software made and sold that can backup a 1/2 corrupted file, the same apps that POL_ICE use.  Forensic and not cheap.  Yes it can get half a thesis lost now, get 1/2 can do if lucky.


RTM Read your manual first. (for  your exact PC or DIY mobo) used. The mauual will tell you what chips are there and this tells you what Linux version runs best.

Linux is a free OS,  kernal 4.13.2  You can run Linux under Window VM or run  Windows up under Linux VM.  Ubuntu 17+,  gets patched way faster than Anything MS sells.   Version 20 now. NICE !
VM is a virtual machine.   (software emulation of hardware ,example W10 Hyper-V) 
SMART = S.M.A.R.T = this.
Ethernet port,  the fastest connection you will ever (know or use) have on any Gigalan port or router, plus FIOS or 16-channel cable modems,(I'm using 32 Ch. now)  (some wifi can go fast with GREAT EFFORT ,COSTS AND LUCK/ distance)
Why fear a 15 foot Cat. 5/6 cable for $8 we run wifi here as cell phone backup. if 3/4/5 G dies (or the phone slams in to DATA MAX, and penalty charges max. the jokers...)

Special thanks go to ,. Mr. Linus Trovalds.

version 5. 9-19-2017