I just had the harddrive fail on me and i had to do windows xp restore to get it running again.
I also had a number of formats in a short span of time due to a stupid monitor display problem thinking it was harddrive.
Anyways, I want to test the harddrive to see if it's okay. What is the best method in doing so?
*btw i am not too concerned with 'bad sector' per se but more concerned with overall speed of the reading and stability in accessing the data and running the computer.
You should visit the manufacturers homepage and see if they provide a tool for checking your HD. Seagates Seatool is quite good, but very time consuming. WD has some decent tools too - a while back i used one and it provided me with a almost filled out RMA print once it found an error.
There are some general tools too, but i don't use those.