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Being S.M.A.R.T About Your Hard Drive

Most computer hard drives that are not the lovely new solid state drives are S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology). This is a wonderful thing that can let you know know that your hard drive is failing.

Unfortunately, this wonder of modern computing does not Self-Announce its Analysis and Reporting Technology to you. You may sit around and then suddenly notice an awful grinding sound. Shudder.

So what can be done? A backup, of course, always leaves you feeling more secure. Then it doesn’t matter as much if your hard drive goes out, you can put in a new hard drive, put in your operating system, then your backup.

However, what we want here is a method or two to check the drive using its built-in S.M.A.R.T(s). This can give us warning that there are hard drive problems that need to be tended to. I’ll look at two of these. One is a very simple use of the command line. In your program list go to accessories/command prompt. Type in wmic, and tap the enter key. At the end of the wmic:root\cli> response type: diskdrive get status


The Status OK, tells you your hard drive is OK.

There are other programs on the market that will give you this information in much more detail. One of these is Passmark’s Diskcheckup. I liked it not only because it does the basic job needed, but because as of yesterday at least it had no “add ons” or browser bars to make it dangerous.

It is $15 for commercial use, but free to non-commercial users. Here is the link:

http://www.passmark.com/products/diskcheckup.htm

Here’s what it looks like:


The first tab is info about your drive. The SMART Info tab describes the tests your drive is put through. The Disk Self-Test tab is the heart of the matter.


Click the start test button and you are on your way.

On the bottom left of the box you will also see a configuration button. That allows you to set up warnings if the heat level of your disk drive becomes too high. Here is a list of basic industry standards.

Less than 25 Degrees C is too cool.

25C-40C is Ideal

41C-59C Acceptable

More than 50C too hot.

For more computer tips, please go to the zookaware page on Twitter.

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