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Platter hard drives are fragile things and stores don't package them properly most of the time when they ship them. So, my thinking is that it's a good idea to test the drives once they arrive in order to make sure that they didn't arrive defective (with bad blocks).

However, I read recently that the drives should always be spun up and the powering them on from ambient room temperature and then powering them off and letting them cool down is a huge stress for the drive and shortens its life.

Is it accurate? Does it make sense to test freshly-purchased hard drives before using them, or is it doing more harm to them than it's worth?

And do you know a faster and more reliable way to mark bad sectors than using Easeus Partition Manager Surface Test solution from this question/answer?

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For long-term reliability of devices out in the field, some manufacturers burn-in their product to weed out early failures (i.e. lookup "bathtub curve"). So I run at least the extended SMART test at least once, and keep the drive powered on for at least 24 hours before ever putting a drive into service.

However, I read recently that the drives should always be spun up and the powering them on from ambient room temperature and then powering them off and letting them cool down is a huge stress for the drive and shortens its life.

Is it accurate?

Not really. The drive is engineered to perform at least N number of power-up cycles during its lifetime. Once or twice a day is still within design parameters, and no reason to get stressed over.

Does it make sense to test freshly-purchased hard drives before using them, or is it doing more harm to them than it's worth?

In my opinion I would rather detect a failure as soon as possible, rather than spend time installing software or copying data, and then have the drive fail or develop issues.

What I've described is within normal use, and does not stress the drive. A real burn-in test would be performed in an environmental chamber so that temperature and humidity can be changed/controlled.

So, IMO, yes, it makes sense to perform as many tests as you have time for.
If concerned about drive health, then try to avoid subjecting the drive to shock, vibration, and overheating. For example see Solution for mounting hard drive better on desk to prevent SATA cable wear

There is no need to try to "mark bad sectors". The integrated controller of modern HDDs can manage bad blocks without OS participation like the old days of ST-506 or IDE drives.

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