What are Destructive Testing and Nondestructive Testing? (Techniques, Methods, Example)

While most software testing methods focus on the functional aspect of the software, destructive Testing stresses checking the unpredictability of a software. As a result, it allows testers to detect rare defects usually not identified by general users.

While DST covers a crucial part of the testing process, it is in no way a replacement for conventional software testing. Therefore it is often conducted along with regular testing processes.

What is Destructive Software Testing?

Destructive Software Testing (DST) is a testing process where testers voluntarily cause a software part to fail to test its strength and failure. Non Destructive Testing (NDT), aka positive or happy path testing, involves Testing and interacting with software correctly.

Benefits of Destructive Software Testing

Although destructive Testing is not a replacement for Conventional software testing (CST), you must be wondering why to invest time and money in it in the first place. Here are some essential benefits of Destructive software testing −

  • It uncovers the points of failure when software is used inappropriately.

  • It allows detecting rare software defects that remains undetectable by average users but surfaces later on.

  • It enables testers to check the durability, recoverability, and lifespan of an application.

  • It allows you to discover flaws and make the software fit for novice users.

Steps to Perform Destructive Testing

  • Step 1 − The client needs to send an application copy or access to credentials and user requirements before starting this testing cycle.

  • Step 2 − After presenting the requirements to the QA analyst, the clients then demonstrate the application.

  • Step 3 − Now, it's the turn of the QA analyst to determine the function of boundaries within the software, followed by determining the application's usability limits within those set boundaries.

  • Step 4 − The QA tester will use stochastic techniques to randomly test the application while staying within the boundaries. All workflows are tested, and errors are recorded.

  • Step 5 − Then, the tester shares the defect directory with the concerned authorities.

  • Step 6 − If the client feels otherwise, then the destructive testing cycle will be repeated.

Elements to verify in Destructive Testing −

To detect Proper and improper behavior in the application

If the app returning valid or invalid input data

How the app reacts due to improper usage

Destructive Software Testing Methods

There are various ways to execute a destructive software testing process −

  • Peer review − Testers can get the product reviewed by peers who are not familiar with the software. This will help them to detect hidden defects in the software.

  • Stakeholder's review − Testers can allow stakeholders to use the software for a limited time. Sometimes, this helps in uncovering valid test scenarios that are often missed by testers.

  • Failure point analysis method − Every nooks and corner of the software will be reviewed and examined in this method. It helps in detecting at what point software will fail.

  • Exploratory Testing − Use this method via run sheets. Testers will have a general idea of what is tested to repeat the test if required and control the test coverage.

  • Flood the system with improper data − Use corrupt data, enter wrong sequences in the user interface, etc., to determine which point the application fails.

Destructive Testing Techniques

Following are the techniques used in Destructive Testing −

  • Top-down Testing
  • System testing
  • Regression testing
  • Loop testing
  • Interface testing
  • Equivalence partitioning
  • Boundary value testing
  • Black box testing
  • Alpha/Beta Testing
  • Acceptance testing

Important destructive testing tips to follow:

  • Think of yourself as a customer before putting the app on the test.

  • Delete all types of biased information from the user story, such as story description, acceptance criteria, etc.

  • Try your best to corrupt everything you can.

  • Follow exception paths instead of happy paths.

  • Conduct the Testing in a real network condition instead of using high-end machines or ultra-fast networks.

What Is Nondestructive Testing?

In Nondestructive Testing (NDT), the testers interact with software correctly. For instance, in DST, testers input incorrect or unacceptable variables, whereas, in NDT, acceptable data are used to see whether the software accepts it or not.

Let's say an input box only accepts numbers within 1-99, so the task here is to enter acceptable numbers within the range and verify the software's functionality.

In NDT, testing engineers use well-defined test cases. If the software returns the desired output without showing any errors or exceptions, then the Testing is considered a success. Meaning the software is working as expected.

Benefits of Nondestructive Software Testing

Followings are the benefits of a Nondestructive Software Testing Process:

  • It ensures that the software is high quality and all issues have been fixed.

  • A successful NDT implies that the software is working as per required specifications.

  • It confirms that all expectations of the stakeholders are met.

  • It denotes that the software covers all performance requirements.

  • It saves hefty money and time used in product evaluation and bug fixing.

When to Perform Nondestructive Testing?

Nondestructive Testing is conducted during the early stages of SDLC. This is important because the happy path is the lifeblood of the application. If it doesn't work as expected, it will be the rest of the testing process. Besides, the cost and time incurred to perform this test are quite lower. Organizations with a limited budget can opt for it to meet the software requirements and acceptance criteria.

Tips for Nondestructive Software Testing

Testers must use a positive testing approach for conducting Nondestructive tests.

The main aim of this test is to verify the application behavior in positive aspects. Meaning, testers must see that the software works perfectly while entering valid input data.

Difference between Destructive and Non-Destructive Testing

Destructive TestingNon-destructive Testing
The primary focus in on the weakness of the software design, not functionality.
The primary focus is on the weakness of the software’s functionality.
Business requirements is not necessary to run this test.
Testing is done to verify software’s functionalities as per business requirements and accepted criteria.
It is conducted to break the software by entering unusual inputs for detecting points of failures.It is executed to interact with the software correctly and verify positive outcomes.


Both destructive and non-destructive testing plays a significant role in the software testing cycle. While both are crucial, Non-destructive has advantages over its counterpart because it covers more ground and allows businesses to save material costs. Meanwhile, destructive testing helps businesses uncover rare flaws in software that often remains out of sight but can hamper user experience in experience. However, conducting this test can be expensive and time-consuming.