I have an older machine that I need to replace the SATA HDDs in. It's a Windows 7 installation and the drives will be Western Digital. Can you recommend software to test the new drives before I make them permanent?
You may still be able to find Hitachi Windows Drive Fitness Test (WinDFTSetUp.msi) somewhere at Western Digital's site. It can be used on any spinning drive. Been a while since I used it, but I think it runs directly from Windows rather than a prompt. It gives a SMART report among other things.
There is always checkdisk.
WD should have some sort of a toolbox app as well. I think it is called "Dashboard". Should be at WD support area somewhere.
Some tools will fill the entire drive with zeros as kind of a torture test if you want to go that far. That might take hours, but there should be shorter versions as well.
I like gsmartcontrol. It’s free and open source if I recall. I think they’ve got a portable version. Haven’t used it as often as ssd drives are taking over but it could even give an idea if a drive was failing or possibly in pre failure status.
I run a surface read test on all new hand drives with Hard Disk Sentinel to see if they've survived being bashed about in transit. On an 8TB drive this can take 8 to 10 hours.
I also check old drives with HD Sentinel before repurposing them in a new build to weed out drives with slowly increasing surface defects before they turn into bad blocks. Hard Disk Sentinel also provides a number of more thorough write/read tests which take even longer to run.
Some people building TrueNAS RAIDZ1/Z2/Z3 arrays advocate "burning in" new drives for up to 7 days before saving any important data. The level of testing is up to you, but I feel more confident if I run surface scan.