Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hard Drive SMART Technology

Get S.M.A.R.T.

It’s  New Years day, a time when traditionally we decide to change. A time when many take up some sort of exercise, a time to get fit. But what about your poor old hard drive? Is it fit? How can you tell?
Well one way is to get S.M.A.R.T! No not the bumbling T.V. secret agent, S.M.A.R.T not Smart! 

There’s a good introduction to Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology on Wikipedia but it’s enough to know it a technology whose goal was to predict hard drive failure. 

Accessing S.M.A.R.T. information from you hard disk can be done by using smartmontools which are available for Windows, Mac, Linux and other OSes from Sourceforge.

smartctl -a /dev/hda
After downloading and installing smartmontools running smartctl –h will give a full list of available commands. 

Two useful commands are:
smartctl -t long /dev/hda which will run a ‘long’ test on the drive and
smartctl -a /dev/hda which will show a large amount of information about the drive and indicate any errors.

Smartmontools are great but it takes a little time to full grasp what they report. For those of us who like an easy life, and who does not! There is CrystalDiskInfo. It also provides a lot of information but it displays key information in a way that allows you to quickly ascertain the health of a disk. 

I favor the Portable Apps version as it does not need to be installed on a PC to run.

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