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Short DST Failed! Disk Self Testing: The Long and Short of It

HP hardware diagnostic "short DST failed" error message

HP hardware diagnostic "short DST failed" error message

Updated 6-19-2018

What happens when I have a short DST failure? What does it mean when my computer says that a hard drive short DST check failed? Is there anything I can do when I encounter a hard disk short DST failed error message? What is SMART, and what can it tell me about my hard drive’s health?
Hard drives can talk, as long as you know how to listen. And at Gillware, boy do we know how to listen. We deal with failed and failing hard drives by the truckload every day, and have for well over a decade. So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of self-tests and S.M.A.R.T. and find out what a short DST failed error message means, how your hard drive keeps tabs on its own health… and how it might try to warn you if something’s wrong.

What is a short DST?

Hard drive test in progress including short DST check

Hard drive quick test in progress including short DST check

DST stands for Disk Self Test, and there are two different kinds of disk self-test your hard drive can undergo. One test is the long Disk Self Test or long DST, and the other test is the short Disk Self Test or short DST. These tests are both procedures a hard drive can make itself undergo to gauge its performance and its health.

When your hard drive runs a short DST, it quickly takes stock of its various components. The short DST only focuses on the major components, such as the read/write heads, ROM, platters, control board, and motor. It makes sure these major components all function within acceptable parameters and returns a warning message if any of them do not. This process only takes a few minutes, during which you can still use the hard drive.

A Short DST Error error can be a sign of HDD failure.

You'll need professional help to retrieve any important files from it.

Gillware is the only data recovery lab that treats victims of data loss as people instead of customers.

If you need help, contact our recovery client advisers.

We are available for:

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In a long or extended DST, in addition to testing the hard drive’s major components, it also conducts a thorough review of the data on your platters. If the long DST uncovers damaged or corrupted areas of the disk, it works to reallocate and re-map the damaged portions. This way, your hard drive will not run into these bad areas again.

The only difference between a short DST and a long DST is that one is more in-depth than the other and that a long DST consumes enough resources that you cannot use your hard drive while performing the test. Both short DST and long DST are non-destructive tests, meaning they do not alter or destroy the data on your drive.

Can I fix a hard disk short DST failed error message?

Your hard drive depends on its heads, platters, control board, and motor to function. Unfortunately, any one of the components failing spells doom for your hard drive. There is no way to fix any of these components on your own. Even professional data recovery experts can only make temporary repairs.

However, you might also get a hard disk short DST failed error for another, more benign reason. It could have to do with the connection between your hard drive and your computer. If the SATA or IDE cable connecting your hard drive to your motherboard comes loose or degrades, it could result in performance issues since data cannot flow to and from the hard drive. Adjusting or replacing the cable may fix a hard disk short DST error.

When you encounter a hard disk short DST failed error message, pay close attention to your hard disk drive’s behavior. If you notice the drive failing to spin up, or if it makes strange noises such as beeping or clicking, unplug it immediately. This behavior indicates severe disk failure.

Error code 2000-0142 with hard disk short DST failed error message

Error code 2000-0142 with hard disk short DST failed error message

How do I run a hard disk short DST?

You can run a disk self-check on your computer’s hard drive using a wide variety of tools, depending on the manufacturer. For example, if you own a Dell or HP PC, you can rely on diagnostic tools built right into the BIOS at startup. You can assess the health of a Seagate hard drive using SeaTools. Western Digital hard drives can be tested using Data Lifeguard. You can run both short and extended diagnostic tests.

S.M.A.R.T. Long and Short DST Seagate Hard Disk Repair

S.M.A.R.T. Long and Short DST

Software tools help you monitor your hard drive’s health using S.M.A.R.T. This acronym stands for “Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology.” S.M.A.R.T. is built into every hard disk drive and measures just about every aspect of its behavior from read/write speeds and error rates to the internal temperature of your drive.

Get Smart With S.M.A.R.T.

The goal of S.M.A.R.T. is to predict hard drive failure. By measuring so many operating parameters, your hard drive can catch itself if its performance begins to fall below optimal standards in any area and send you warning signs. The alerts it sends should give you enough advance warning to start copying over any important files you don’t have backed up before your drive bites the dust.

Unfortunately, things rarely work out that well.

S.M.A.R.T parameters are mostly standardized so that self-testing works the same way even between models of HDD by competing manufacturers, but not fully. Due to the lack of full standardization, your hard drive might struggle to send its findings to you, even if your PC has a motherboard with S.M.A.R.T. capabilities. The next thing you know, you've come face to face with a short DST failed error.

You can’t always rely on your computer to be smart enough (or, well, S.M.A.R.T. enough) to tell you if it’s about to fail. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly run disk self-checks on your own—as well as make sure you’re always keeping your files backed up!

Accidents happen, and if you run into trouble, you can count on Gillware to provide expert, professional, and secure data recovery services.

Will Ascenzo
Will Ascenzo
Will is the lead blogger, copywriter, and copy editor for Gillware Data Recovery and Digital Forensics, and a staunch advocate against the abuse of innocent semicolons.