Best way to test new hard drives

I bought 6 hard drives in preparation for my new computer build as they were on sale. It will be a month or so until I buy the rest of the system. I would like to test the drives to be sure everything is ok with them before the return period is up.

My computer doesn't have sata connections so I will be connecting them one by one through a sata to usb adaptor.

What is the best way to test the hard drives? I will format and checkdisk them, but what else? Should I make a .txt file full of 1's and copy until the drive is full? How can I test further? Is there any (free) software that could put the drives through their paces?

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More about best test hard drives
  1. Format and chkdsk certainly can help. When you run Format, make it a Full Format, not Quick.

    Many HDD makers supply on their websites free testing utilities for hardware-level checking. Seagate has Seatools, WD has Data Lifeguard. Each is available in a few versions. Some must be installed on a floppy or CD disk and you boot from that disk into a mini-DOS environment that can run the tests. Some may be Windows applications. Download and install on your test machine the version you need.
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