Windows: When your computer starts acting hinky and spitting out error messages, it's hard to know exactly where to begin to diagnose the problem. Windows Surface Scanner gives you a place to start.
This free utility takes a look at your hard drives and ferrets out any physical errors it finds, so you know what might be causing random crashes or system flakiness. Windows Surface Scanner won't fix damaged sector problems — it simply diagnoses them. Once you've figured out the issue, you can use the native Windows check disk tool to make repairs.
One important thing to note about this tool: If you start getting a lot of sector errors, stop scanning right away. Keep testing, and you might damage the hard drive you're searching.
We've recommended our five best Windows maintenance tools, but what other diagnostic tools do you use to troubleshoot your computer when you feel there's something wrong deep inside? Let us know in the comments.