Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.
Hard drives use S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) to gauge their own reliability and determine if they’re failing. You can view your hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. data and see if it has started to develop problems.
Hard drives don’t live forever, and you often can’t see the end coming. Fortunately, most modern drives support S.M.A.R.T., so they can at least do some basic self-monitoring. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t have an easy-to-use built-in tool that shows your hard disk’s S.M.A.R.T. data. You can view a very basic S.M.A.R.T. status from the Command Prompt, but to really see this information, you’ll need to grab a third-party app.
Check S.M.A.R.T. Status with CrystalDiskInfo
CrystalDiskInfo (free) is an easy-to-use, open-source program that can shows the S.M.A.R.T. status details reported by your hard drives. You can download an installable or portable version—the choice is up to you.
Once you’ve got CrystalDiskInfo running, it’s a pretty straightforward app. The main view shows the S.M.A.R.T. status information for your hard drives. If everything is working properly, you should see the status “Good“ displayed. In the image below, just under the menu bar, you can see that all three drives in our system report a “Good” status and you can even view the temperature of each drive. Other statuses you might see include “Bad” (which usually indicates a drive that’s dead or near death), “Caution” (which indicates a drive that you should most likely be thinking about backing up and replacing), and “Unknown” (which just means that S.M.A.R.T. information could not be obtained).
You can also view a list of detailed information about each drive, but unless you’re a pro—or you’re troubleshooting something very specific—it likely won’t mean much to you. If you’re interested, though, the Wikipedia page for S.M.A.R.T. maintains a pretty good list of these attributes, along with how they can be interpreted.
There’s really not a lot more to the app, but there is one other feature worth pointing out. If you are particularly concerned about the health of a drive, you can set CrystalDiskInfo to start with Windows and run as a background app. While it’s running this way, CrystalDiskInfo will send a notification to alert you if the S.M.A.R.T. status of any drive changes. Just open the “Function” menu and toggle both the “Resident” and “Startup” options on.
Check S.M.A.R.T. Status at the Command Prompt
You can also view a very basic S.M.A.R.T. status from the Windows Command Prompt. To open the Command Prompt, hit Start, type “Command Prompt,” and then press Enter.
A the prompt, type (or copy and paste) the following command, and then press Enter:
Every hard drive dies eventually. Here’s how to prepare for its demise.
Your hard drive hasn’t been acting the same lately. It’s starting to make clicking or screeching noises, it can’t seem to find your files, and it’s moving really slowly. It might be time to say farewell, but here’s what you should do before it goes to the big data center in the sky.
Every hard drive dies eventually, and when it’s near death, you’ll see the signs. Strange noises, corrupted files, crashing during boot, and glacial transfer speeds all point to the inevitable end. This is normal, especially if your drive is more than a few years old. On older spinning drives, moving parts like the motor can degrade over time, or the drives’ magnetic sectors can go bad.
Newer solid-state drives (SSDs) don’t have moving parts, but their storage cells degrade a little bit every time you write to them, meaning they too will eventually fail (though SSD reliability is much better than it used to be).
Unless your drive experiences excessive heat or physical trauma, it’ll probably fail gradually. That means even if your drive isn’t making strange noises, you should keep an eye on its health once in a while, so you can prepare for death before it happens. Here’s how to do that.
Check Your Drive’s S.M.A.R.T. Status
Most modern drives have a feature called S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology), which monitors different drive attributes in an attempt to detect a failing disk. That way, your computer will automatically notify you before data loss occurs and the drive can be replaced while it still remains functional.
In Windows, you can manually check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your drives from the Command Prompt. Just type “cmd” into the search bar and open the application. In the pop-up box, run:
wmic diskdrive get model,status
It will return Pred Fail if your drive’s death is imminent or OK if it thinks the drive is doing fine.
On a Mac, open Disk Utility from /Applications/Utilities/, click on the drive, and look at S.M.A.R.T. Status in the bottom left, which will either read Verified or Failing.
However, this basic S.M.A.R.T. information can be misleading. You only know when your drive is near death, but you can start to experience problems even if the basic S.M.A.R.T. status is okay. For a closer look, I recommend downloading CrystalDiskInfo for Windows (free), or DriveDx for macOS ($20 with a free trial), both of which will offer up more detailed S.M.A.R.T. information than your computer provides on its own.
Instead of saying your drive is “OK” or “Bad,” like the built-in tools do, CrystalDiskInfo and DriveDx also have more intermediary labels, like Caution or Warning, respectively. These labels apply to hard drives and SSDs that are starting to wear down, but aren’t necessarily on their deathbed (read more about how CrystalDiskInfo applies those labels here).
For example, my drive above has a few bad and reallocated sectors, and I haven’t run into any issues—probably because those bad sectors weren’t housing any actual data at the time. But if even one of those bad sectors lands on a file you need, it can be rendered corrupt. So that Caution label is usually a good indicator that you should back up the drive and think about replacing it soon, even if you aren’t having problems yet.
If you want an even deeper, more accurate picture into your drive’s health, check its manufacturer’s website for a dedicated tool. For example, Seagate has SeaTools for its drives, Western Digital has Western Digital Dashboard for its drives, and Samsung has Samsung Magician for its SSDs. These tools can sometimes take into account certain technologies specific to their hard drives and SSDs. But for most people, CrystalDiskInfo will give you a decent ballpark recommendation for just about any drive.
If Your Drive Is Dead (or Almost Dead)
Drives with the Caution or Pred Fail status won’t necessarily fail tomorrow. They could chug along for a year or two, or be dead as a doornail in a week. But if you’re getting warnings, it’s time to back up your files before your drive kicks the bucket.
Now is not the time for a full backup, however: you don’t want to stress the drive with too many reads, or it could fail while you’re backing up. Instead, plug in an external drive and copy your most important files onto it—family photos, work documents, and anything else that can’t easily be replaced. Then, once you know those are safe, try doing a full drive clone with something like EaseUS Todo Backup Free (Windows) or Carbon Copy Cloner (Mac).
If your hard drive has already stopped working, things get a lot tougher, and you’ll probably need a professional data recovery service like DriveSavers, which can cost $1,000 or more. But if you have priceless family photos on the drive, it may be worth it to you.
Prepare for Drive Failure NOW
It’s not a matter of “if” your hard drive will fail, it’s a matter of “when.” All hard drives fail eventually, and if you want to avoid losing all your important files, you absolutely have to back up your computer regularly—including when the drive is healthy. I know, you’ve heard it before, but are you actually doing it?
Take some time tonight to set up an automatic, cloud-based backup like Backblaze. It only takes 15 minutes, and it is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from heartache later on. If you can’t stomach the $6 monthly price, then at least back up to an external drive using Windows’ built-in File History tool or your Mac’s built-in Time Machine feature. But just know that won’t protect you in case of fire or theft, and the peace of mind you get from cloud-based backup is priceless.
Yes, good backup costs money, but it costs a heck of a lot less than getting your data professionally recovered. And with a backup, you’ll never sweat the small stuff. Even if your drive fails catastrophically with no warning, you can get back up and running in no time.
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S.M.A.R.T stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology that is used for testing the functionality of the hard drives. As you know, there are several third party applications available in the internet which can test the functionality of processor, RAM, hard drives etc. If you want to check the health of your hard drive, then you can use any one of the third party apps. Unfortunately, Windows 10 does not have any in-built tool that can test the hard drive of your computer. The testing of hard drive using third party apps will be covered in successive articles. If you want a quick review of your hard drive, then you can use some commands to get a short and quick results.
Steps to check if Your Hard Drive is Dying with S.M.A.R.T. in Windows 10
1. Right click on the Start Menu and select Command Prompt (Admin) to open the Elevated Command Prompt.
2. Now type the following command
diskdrive get status
Hit Enter after each command.
3. If your hard drive is working properly, you should see the status OK displayed. If it shows any error, it means your hard drive is not working properly and may fail any time soon.
Nick is a Software Engineer. He has interest in gadgets and technical stuffs. If you are facing any problem with your Windows, feel free to ask him.
Is your hard drive going bad? Here are some simple ways to check whether your hard drive is failing (and how to save or recover your data when it is).
Image credits: Anyka/Shutterstock
The average lifetime of a stationary hard drive is around five to ten years. Less if the drive is exposed to changing temperatures, humidity, or external shocks. Realistically, your laptop hard drive becomes prone to failure after three to five years, and this is true for SSDs, too. Getting nervous, yet?
How to Tell If Your Hard Drive Is Failing: 3 Signs
In the best of cases, hard drives fail gradually, leaving you enough time to grab a copy of your data and replace them before facing a fatal failure.
But how exactly can you tell if your hard drive is failing? Well, it’s a good thing you’re here!
1. Slowing Computer, Frequent Freezes, Blue Screen Of Death
This trifecta of a PC breakdown can have a million different causes, and a failing hard drive is one of them. If these problems occur after a fresh installation or in Windows Safe Mode, the root of the evil is almost certainly bad hardware, possibly a failing hard drive.
To exclude an issue with your hard drive, you can run a host of diagnostic tools, but you should start by looking into your system’s S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) data. Note that while Windows is automatically collecting this information in the background, it’s notoriously unreliable in predicting hard drive failure, and you may experience a critical malfunction before a S.M.A.R.T. warning kicks in.
To manually check your drive’s S.M.A.R.T. status, you’ll need a third-party tool like CrystalDiskInfo. Under Disk, select the disk to scan and note your disk’s health status.
If you can exclude hardware issues after running further diagnostic tools, you should proceed to resetting or reinstalling your operating system. Windows 10 has an option to keep all your files, but, just in case, you should prepare a backup anyway. Scroll down for more information on backups.
2. Corrupted Data and Accumulating Bad Sectors
Corrupted data can show up in countless different ways. If you repeatedly see one of these symptoms, chances are your hard drive is gradually failing:
- Scrambled file or folder names
- Random error messages when opening, moving, or saving files
- Files that fail to open
- Corrupted data within your files
- Disappearing files or folders
Data corruption happens at the point of data creation or storage. It could be that a virus is interfering with your files, but it could also just be bad sectors on your hard drive.
Bad sectors are areas of the hard drive that don’t maintain data integrity. Windows automatically masks bad sectors, so you won’t notice them unless you run into issues with corrupted data. On a failing hard drive, bad sectors can accumulate rapidly, meaning you’ll see these issues more often.
A Windows command tool called CHKDSK can help you recover data from bad sectors and exclude them from future use. For a quick scan, press Windows + E to open File Explorer, navigate to This PC, right-click the failing disk or partition, and select Properties.
Within Properties, switch to the Tools tab and click Check. If Windows notes that “You don’t need to scan this drive,” you can click Scan drive to run the tool anyway. Once it’s done, you can choose to fix any errors it found.
A more thorough CHKDSK scan can take a long time and requires a reboot. When you can spare your computer for a night and a day, open an Administrator command prompt, i.e., right-click Start and select Command Prompt (Admin), then run the following command to recover data and fix errors: chkdsk /r c: (for your C: drive). Enter Y when queried, and CHKDSK will run once you restart your computer.
3. Strange Sounds
When you hear strange noises coming from your hard drive, you’re in trouble. A repetitive sound known as the click of death is caused by the head trying to write data, failing, returning to its home position, and retrying over and over again. Grinding or screeching noises indicate that parts of the hardware, such as the bearings or spindle motor, are failing.
At this point, you’re lucky if you can recover data from your hard drive.
I Think My Hard Drive Is Failing. What Shall I Do?
So you suspect that a hard drive failure is just around the corner? The truth is, it probably is. And here’s what you can do.
Step 1: Back up Your Data
The best thing you can do is always keep backups of your data on a second drive and be ready to get a replacement.
It’s unlikely for two drives to fail at the same time. An exception would be natural disasters like floods or fires. For these cases, we recommend keeping a copy of your most important data in a different physical location, for example, at work or with a family member or a friend.
You could also use an online backup solution like OneDrive or Google Drive. If you’re using Microsoft Office, consider upgrading to a Microsoft 365 subscription, which gives you the latest version of Office and 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Step 2: Replace the Drive
When you’re ready to replace your SSD or HDD, refer to our guide on how to pick the right drive and install it.
Step 3: Safely Dispose of Your Old Drive
Before you throw out your old drive, remember to wipe the drive to prevent a third party from recovering your data.
Whatever you do, please don’t toss your failed drive in the trash. Electronics contain precious metals and toxic components that don’t belong in a landfill. Bring your hardware to a local electronic recycling center, ask your electronic store whether they take it back, or use a program like Western Digital’s free electronic recycling program, which will give you 15% off on your next purchase.
Don’t Let Your Hard Drive Fail!
Do not rely on signs or software to tell you whether you have a failing hard drive. It is more likely than not that it will fail unexpectedly and without any warning signs whatsoever. Rather than trying to forecast something that is even less predictable than the weather, you should rely on backups.
If it’s too late, here’s how to diagnose and fix a dead hard drive to recover data. And if things remain a lost cause, you still may be able to get some use out of that dead hard drive.
Image credits: Anyka/Shutterstock
How long can you make a motherboard last? What about hard drives? Here’s how to extend the life of your computer.
While completing a PhD, Tina started writing about consumer technology in 2006 and never stopped. Now also an editor and SEO, you can find her on Twitter or hiking a nearby trail.
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Question: What exactly does S.M.A.R.T. do on my computer?
Answer: There’s an old saying: “There are only two kinds of hard drives; those that have failed and those that are going to fail.”
This is especially poignant when it comes to older magnetic hard drives because the mechanical nature of the device introduces multiple points of failure, but this also applies to Solid State Drives (SSDs).
The magnetic platter must spin at a precise speed, the read/write heads must be precisely aligned and the air gap between the heads that platter must always be maintained.
Any slight deviation from optimum performance in any of the mechanical components can result in the stored data no longer being accessible.
Signs Of A Problem
There can be clear signs of an impending failure that include strange noises or a computer that constantly crashes or locks up.
Any kind of grinding or clicking is a really bad symptom, which should be addressed immediately in order to avoid the loss of critical data.
If you’re hearing sounds, but the computer seems to be functioning properly, take the opportunity to backup anything you care about as soon as possible. The next time you try to start the drive up could be when it fails, as startup failures are common with older mechanical drives.
If you don’t care about the data on the drive, I’d recommend replacing it with a newer and much faster SSD if you plan to continue using the computer.
If the computer takes forever to startup, freezes during startup or randomly crashes while in use, running a diagnostic program can help you quickly determine if the problem is a failing hard drive.
Get S.M.A.R.T. Status
Unless your hard drive is really old, there should be a built-in diagnostic option that may actually appear when you first power up your computer.
The Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) was created to monitor and detect signs of a failing hard drive automatically.
In most cases, it would notify you of any problems that it has detected, but you can manually check the status on both Windows and Mac computers.
In Windows 10, type “Performance Monitor” in the search box and open the utility so you can generate a system diagnostic report.
Start by clicking on “Data Collector Sets” in the left column, then double-click “System” on the right side which should display System Diagnostics and Performance options.
Right-click on the “System Diagnostics” option and select “Start” to begin the process which could take a few minutes.
Click on “Reports” at the bottom of the list in the left column, then double-click on “System” then on the resulting item, which should be your report.
Scroll down to the “Basic System Check” section and click on the + in front of “Disk Checks” to see the SMART predict failure check results.
Mac Disk Utility
Open the “Finder” and click on “Applications” in the left column, then on “Utilities” to get to “Disk Utility.”
Once open, click on your drive — usually the top entry in the left column — to get a SMART status, which will either appear as “Verified” or “Failing.”
Windows: I recently had a suspicion that something was up with my hard drive. Spending a little time to figure out what was going on—and to confirm nothing bad was actually happening—saved me $200+, or the cost of the shiny new 6TB HDD (or speedier 2TB SSD) I was contemplating ordering off Amazon.
Testing your hard drive’s capabilities sounds like a thrilling way to spend an afternoon, but don’t let my sarcasm fool you. It doesn’t take that long to run a few tests, and it’s actually refreshing to confirm that everything is working as well as it did back when you purchased your years-old drive (or PC). And, of course, saving money by not buying an unnecessary upgrade is the best feeling of all.
I use a few SSDs in my desktop computer, save for a single 3TB hard drive that holds all of my games, drive backups, Nine Inch Nails bootlegs , and other gigantic files. For a few weeks now, I’ve noticed that Steam updates for various games on this drive—heavier hitters like Stellaris or The Elder Scrolls Online—have been struggling to do, well, anything. Downloads would crawl along, even though I have a pretty beefy Internet connection. Progress bars for patch installations would appear to stall for an hour.
Worse, running any kind of Steam update for one of these beefy titles would slow down anything else I wanted to do with that hard drive. No backups. No file transfers. No drive-space analysis . Zilch.
While this sounds like a Steam issue—or, at least, an issue of how updates for certain titles are deployed—I was concerned that my hard drive was finally starting to go bad on me. I didn’t hear the dreaded click of death, but I was getting annoyed enough by the terrible performance that I started contemplating how much it would cost to upgrade to a faster HDD or big-ass SSD once and for all.
Hard drives use S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) to gauge their own reliability and determine if they’re failing. You can view your hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. data and see if it has started to develop problems.
Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t have an easy-to-use built-in tool that shows your hard disk’s S.M.A.R.T. data. We will need a third-party tool to view this information, though there is a way to check your S.M.A.R.T. status from the command prompt.
CrystalDiskInfo is an easy-to-use, open-source program that can quickly display the S.M.A.R.T. status reported by your hard drive in Windows. You can download it for free – however, be sure to uncheck the browser widget when installing it.
Once it is installed, all you have to do is launch the CrystalDiskInfo application to view the S.M.A.R.T. status information for your hard drives. If everything is working properly, you should see the status Good displayed.
CrystalDiskInfo also displays other information about your hard drive, including its current temperature and hardware specifications. If there is a problem, you can identify what exactly is wrong with the hard drive.
If you are particularly paranoid, you can enable the Function –> Resident (to keep CrystalDiskInfo running in your system tray) and Function –> Startup (to have CrystalDiskInfo automatically start with your computer) options to leave CrystalDiskInfo always running in the background. If your S.M.A.R.T. status changes, CrystalDiskInfo will pop up and alert you.
Checking S.M.A.R.T. Without Third-Party Tools
To do a quick S.M.A.R.T. check without installing any third-party software, you can use a few commands included with Windows. First, open a Command Prompt window. (Press the Windows key, type Command Prompt, and press Enter.)
In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
diskdrive get status
If everything is working properly, you should see the status OK displayed. Other statuses can indicate problems or errors retrieving S.M.A.R.T. information.
Help, My Hard Drive Is Dying!
If you have used either of these tools – or another reputable program – and have seen an error, this does not mean your hard drive is going to fail immediately. However, if there’s a S.M.A.R.T. error, you should assume that your hard drive is in the process of failing. A complete failure could come in a few minutes, a few months, or – in some cases — even a few years. However long it takes, you should not trust the hard drive with your data in the meantime.
Ensure you have up-to-date backups of all your files stored on another media, such as an external hard drive or burned discs. You should always have up-to-date backups anyway, as hard drives can fail at any time.
The face of digital storage is evolving quickly with faster, smaller devices boasting more storage capacity and sustainable designs made to last longer than ever. Even so, a hard drive is a mechanical device, entailing that the components within it physically move to operate, allowing for many areas that can break or fail.
How to Tell If Your Hard Drive is Failing
Common signs for a failing hard drive include sluggish performance, unusual noises (clicking or loud component sounds), and an increase number of corrupted files.
These are textbook symptoms for the inevitably of a failing hard drive and action should be taken quickly to save your files from being lost.
Lifespan of Hard Drives
Individual lifespans of hard drives can vary greatly, yet they all share the inevitability of failing. Hard drives contain moving parts in order to operate, and these moving parts are doomed to break, whether from normal usage or physical trauma. Even a laptop that is built for portability will wear down the hard drive at a slightly faster rate if used on-the-go as opposed to sitting stationary on a desktop.
As reported by Extreme Tech, failure rates for hard drives are about 5.1% for the first year and a half, then dips down to 1.4% until the third year, then rises dramatically to 11.8% for the time after. This trend can most likely be explained by manufacturing faults for hard drives that fail in the first year, and normal wear and tear failures accounting for the increase after the third year.
In essence, hard drives tend to last 4-8 years with moderate usage. This wide range is due to the fact that there are so many variables that can affect the health of your hard drive, including how much you use it, how well you take care of it, and a bit of sheer luck.
Early Warning Signs of Hard Drive Failure
Blue screen of death
One of the most telling signs of hard drive failure is a notorious stop error known as the “blue screen of death.”
While there are a million different factors that can cause these symptoms, simply coming across one of them should give reason for concern.
In fact, if any of these symptoms persist after you re-install your system or while you’re in Windows Safe Mode, then it is almost certainly related to a hard drive on the brink of failure.
Corrupted Files on your Hard Drive
Corrupted files may also be a sign of gradual hard drive failure. Corrupted files are documents that fail to open or go missing. You’ll see errors like this:
If you continue to see these errors, or they increase in frequency, there’s a good chance you’re about to have a hard drive failure.
Clicking and Loud Hard Drive Noises
Unusual noise emanating from your hard drive, including loud clicking or turning noises (especially when there are few processes being performed by your computer), is a cause for big concern. These unusual noises usually implicate a malfunctioning component in your hard drive which is a sure signal for a failed hard drive in the future.
Listen and compare these sounds to any unusual noises that you may be experiencing from your computer.
Despite all of these indicators, hard drive failure can still occur without warning. As a result, it is vital to create backups of important data on a second hard drive, a thumb drive, or an external hard drive.
The only way to gain certainty is to save data on a variety of disks to keep it safe. Do not wait until the last minute when a software program sounds the alarm. Most people don’t realize the importance of backing up their data until its too late!
Didn’t Backup Your Data? There’s Still Hope
Hard drive recovery services are available to try and get your data lost in a hard drive failure. Not every case is successful, but if you didn’t back your up your data, this may be your only shot! Here’s how it works:
Have a Backup Plan Before Its Too Late
We’re living the age of data and your reliance on information, whether personal or business, is huge! Don’t let a lost hard drive set you back and cost you with loss of finances of sentimental value.
Cloud storage services can house your backup data on remote servers that are protected. If you’ve fallen victim to a failed hard drive, hard drive recovery services are available to try their best to get back your precious files.
To get free quotes or to learn more about any of our services, call Record Nations at (866) 385-3706 or fill out the form on the right. In just minutes, you’ll be contacted by one of our representatives with a solution to your data recovery needs.
Жесткие диски используют S.M.A.R.T. (Технология самоконтроля, анализа и отчетности), чтобы оценить собственную надежность и определить, терпят ли они неудачу. Вы можете просмотреть S.M.A.R.T. своего жесткого диска. данные и посмотрите, не начали ли возникать проблемы.
Жесткие диски не живут вечно, и часто вы не видите конца. К счастью, большинство современных накопителей поддерживают S.M.A.R.T., поэтому они могут выполнять хотя бы базовый самоконтроль. К сожалению, в Windows нет простого в использовании встроенного инструмента, который показывает S.M.A.R.T. вашего жесткого диска. данные. Вы можете просмотреть очень простой S.M.A.R.T. status из командной строки, но чтобы действительно увидеть эту информацию, вам нужно установить стороннее приложение.
Проверьте S.M.A.R.T. Статус с CrystalDiskInfo
CrystalDiskInfo (бесплатно) это простая в использовании программа с открытым исходным кодом, которая может показать S.M.A.R.T. сведения о состоянии, сообщаемые вашими жесткими дисками. Вы можете скачать устанавливаемый или портативная версия -Выбор остается за вами.
После запуска CrystalDiskInfo это довольно простое приложение. На главном экране показан S.M.A.R.T. информация о состоянии ваших жестких дисков. Если все работает правильно, вы должны увидеть статус «Хорошо. “ отображается. На изображении ниже, прямо под строкой меню, вы можете увидеть, что все три диска в нашей системе сообщают о состоянии «Хорошо», и вы даже можете просмотреть температуру каждого диска. Другие статусы, которые вы можете увидеть, включают «Плохой» (который обычно указывает на то, что диск мертв или находится на грани смерти), «Осторожно» (который указывает на диск, о резервном копировании и замене которого вам, скорее всего, следует подумать) и «Неизвестный» (который просто означает, что информацию SMART получить не удалось).
Вы также можете просмотреть список с подробной информацией о каждом диске, но, если вы не профессионал или не устраняете какие-то очень конкретные проблемы, это, скорее всего, не будет иметь большого значения для вас. Если вам интересно, Страница в Википедии для S.M.A.R.T. поддерживает довольно хороший список этих атрибутов вместе с тем, как их можно интерпретировать.
В приложении действительно не так много всего, но есть еще одна особенность, на которую стоит обратить внимание. Если вас особенно беспокоит состояние диска, вы можете настроить CrystalDiskInfo на запуск с Windows и запуск в качестве фонового приложения. При этом CrystalDiskInfo отправит уведомление, чтобы предупредить вас, если S.M.A.R.T. статус любых изменений диска. Просто откройте меню «Функция» и включите опции «Резидентный» и «Запуск».
Проверьте S.M.A.R.T. Статус в командной строке
Вы также можете просмотреть очень простой S.M.A.R.T. статус из командной строки Windows. Чтобы открыть командную строку, нажмите «Пуск», введите «Командная строка» и нажмите Enter.
В приглашении введите (или скопируйте и вставьте) следующую команду и нажмите Enter:
This post explains some of the signs your hard drive is failing and suggest the best ways to correct this, or how to save or recover your data when it is
A Hard disk, also known as HDD is an electro-mechanical data storage device that stores and retrieves digital data using magnetic storage and one or more rigid rapidly rotating platters coated with magnetic material. It’s an important part of your laptop or computer that helps store your important data. And if something goes wrong with HDD there are chances you might lose your important data. Here are some symptoms of hard disk failure, or Your Hard Drive Is Failing and how to fix disk drive problems.
Hard disk failure reasons?
It could be a Power outage, Firmware corruption, Hardware failure or Human error are some common reasons behind Hard disk failure.
Symptoms of hard disk failure
In most cases, hard drives will begin to fail gradually. This means you still get enough time to copy or transfer your data to another drive before it just dies from a fatal failure. But how do you tell when the drive begins to fail? Let’s show you some of the symptoms of hard disk failure.
Computer not responding, freezes or frequent blue screen error
When observed in your P.C., the three signs indicate that the hard drive has started to fail. There can be so many other causes of computer slowing down, frequent freezes, or even blue screen of death. However, hard drive failure is, in most cases, a significant culprit.
If your computer experiences these issues, the best thing to do is to run system S.M.A.R.T. – Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology data.
Remember, while Windows automatically collects the S.M.A.R.T. information in the background, it is unreliable in predicting the hard drive failure. Therefore, your computer system may quickly experience a critical malfunction before the S.M.A.R.T. warning kicks in.
For more effective monitoring of the S.M.A.R.T. status of your computer hard drive, we recommend using third-party software. Install the software, such as the Disk Drill by CleverFiles, run it and choose to scan your disk’s health status.
When strange sounds begin to play from your hard drive, know that you are in big trouble. Repetitive sounds, usually referred to as “clicks of death,” result from the head trying to write data, failing in the process, returning to its home position, and trying again repeatedly.
If you hear screeching or grinding noises, they majorly indicate that some parts of the hardware, such as the spindle motor, have begun to fail.
This is a very critical sign that your hard drives will soon crash. The step to take is to copy or transfer your data immediately to another drive. But if you can’t do that, it will be regrettable.
A rising number of bad sectors
A bad sector in a disk storage unit is one with permanent damage. All the information on bad sectors of a hard drive is automatically lost. But how do you identify bad sectors in a hard drive? You will know this when the disk ticks or the computer runs very slowly when you open some files.
If you realize your hard drive has so many bad sectors, you can partition the drive to save your data or transfer your files to another hard drive. This way, your documents will be much safer even if the drive crashes or just fails completely.
Windows have a build in disk check utility called CHKDSK that can help you recover data from bad sectors and exclude them from future use
- Open command prompt as administrator,
- Type command chkdsk /r c: (for your C: drive) and press enter key,
- Enter Y when queried, and CHKDSK will run once you restart your computer.
Sometimes you begin to lose files mysteriously from your hard drive. If you realize that some files are failing to open or are suddenly getting corrupted even though you saved them correctly, you should be warned that your hard drive has started to fail.
As much as you can use software for dead hard drive to recover missing files, when you realize the drive is beginning to fail, you can partition it and monitor how the partitions perform or move your documents to a safe place.
Taking too long to access files and folders
This is yet another sign that your hard drive is failing already. When experiencing this effect, you will wait strangely long to access folders and files.
As a sign of failing drive, you should take it as a warning sign to start hard drive recovery. Move your files to a safe place and change your hard drive.
Generally, the average lifetime of a hard drive that is not in use is between five to ten years. This can, however, significantly reduce if you expose the drive to changing humidity, temperatures, and external shocks such as drops and vibrations.
If you use a computer or laptop for your daily activities, you understand how vital a healthy hard drive can be to your business. Your laptop hard drive will generally begin to fail after serving for three to five years. This is equally true for S.S.D.s. A bad hard drive or one that experiences some difficulties will therefore misbehave and will not serve you perfectly.
Consequently, you may begin to experience data errors or even data loss during your routine activities. Sometimes, the hard drive will die and leave you stranded and with nowhere to turn to. Of course, you can get back some files using data recovery tools. But can you successfully perform a dead hard drive recovery? Follow the link to find out more.
Checking the hard disk
Hard disks have a built-in health-check tool called SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology), which continually checks the disk for potential problems. SMART also warns you if the disk is about to fail, helping you avoid loss of important data.
Although SMART runs automatically, you can also check your diskвЂ™s health by running the Disks application:
Check your diskвЂ™s health using the Disks application
Open Disks from the Activities overview.
Select the disk you want to check from the list of storage devices on the left. Information and status of the disk will be shown.
Click the menu button and select SMART Data & Self-TestsвЂ¦ . The Overall Assessment should say вЂњDisk is OKвЂќ.
See more information under SMART Attributes , or click the Start Self-test button to run a self-test.
What if the disk isnвЂ™t healthy?
Even if the Overall Assessment indicates that the disk isnвЂ™t healthy, there may be no cause for alarm. However, itвЂ™s better to be prepared with a backup to prevent data loss.
If the status says вЂњPre-failвЂќ, the disk is still reasonably healthy but signs of wear have been detected which mean it might fail in the near future. If your hard disk (or computer) is a few years old, you are likely to see this message on at least some of the health checks. You should backup your important files regularly and check the disk status periodically to see if it gets worse.
If it gets worse, you may wish to take the computer/hard disk to a professional for further diagnosis or repair.
- Disks & storage вЂ” Check on disk space and control how disk space is allocated and used.
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You may find that your system reports that a S.M.A.R.T. error has occurred on the hard drive. S.M.A.R.T. errors are a near-term prediction of drive failure. It is important to realize that the drive may appear to be functioning normally. Even some diagnostic tests could still have a PASS status. A S.M.A.R.T. error is a prediction that the diagnostic test will soon fail.
The system will report an error when a S.M.A.R.T. threshold has been met. The drive monitors several kinds of performance areas. A few of these areas include read retries (meaning data wasn’t read correctly the first time), slow spin up, high temperature, and excessive bad sector. The specifics of these thresholds are not made publicly available and can differ between designs. Different drive manufacturers will have different S.M.A.R.T. specifications and thresholds as well.
A system S.M.A.R.T. error means you should backup your data as soon as possible and maintain consistent backups.
A S.M.A.R.T. warning based on excessive average temperature is common, and can sometimes be fixed by improving ventilation. First, check to see if your system has adequate ventilation and that all fans are in good working order. If you find and fix a ventilation problem and the average temperature drops to a normal range, then the S.M.A.R.T. error may disappear.
Otherwise, when a disk drive issues a S.M.A.R.T. error there are no methods to repair the underlying problem, whatever it is. If the drive is under warranty, this is a valid reason to consider a replacement. Additionally, you download and run the SeaTools diagnostic test. SeaTools is able to test the S.M.A.R.T. parameters along with several other separate tests, allowing a complete hard disk health check.
Some drives, such as Solid State Drives (SSDs), include additional S.M.A.R.T. fields that some manufacturers’ BIOS’s cannot interpret correctly. This may be remedied by going to the computer or motherboard manufacturer’s website to check for an update for the computer’s BIOS. If no update is available, or the update does not resolve the S.M.A.R.T. errors after SeaTools passes the drive, please consult with your computer or motherboard manufacturer for instructions to disable S.M.A.R.T. tests in the BIOS.
If a SeaTools test generates an error, that means the drive will need to be replaced. For more information on warranty replacement please visit the Warranty Services Page.
Use these disk utilities if your hard drive has gotten noisy or your system has slowed to a crawl to make sure your drive isn’t on it’s way out
Hard drives fail, and they fail often, with 22% of hard drives failing in their first four years of usage. You can generally consider your computer’s drive reliable, but it’s really like playing the lottery and hoping your drive isn’t one of those that ends up with disk errors that make your data inaccessible before you had a chance to back those files up.
The first thing to have in place, then, is an automated offsite (online) backup service like CrashPlan and Backblaze. For about $5 a month, you can rest assured that even if your hard drive drops dead or your home burns down (your computer within it), your files, settings, photos, and other important data are saved.
Recently, my family’s computer has been on the fritz–even if it manages to boot into Windows, it’s impossible to launch any program or even get to the command prompt. I’ve reset it through Windows 8’s startup troubleshooting, but the nagging feeling that it’s a hardware problem–that is, the hard drive is going to die any second now–makes me want to invest as little time troubleshooting this further as possible.
To that end, I used Seagate’s awesome SeaTools. There’s a Windows version that quickly tests your drive for errors (mine failed the short test) and a DOS tool that can be run at startup from a CD-ROM or USB drive. The DOS tool didn’t work on my machine for some reason, but it can possibly fix hard drive errors so you can salvage the drive.
PassMark DiskCheckup keeps tabs on your hard drive’s SMART (self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology), to gauge your drive’s reliability. This tracking and the drive’s self tests are meant to diagnose your hard drive’s life span.
Finally, there’s Windows’ own built-in chkdsk. Run it from the command line (Win+X keyboard shortcut and choose the administrator option for opening the command prompt, then enter this command to run checkdisk and fix any disk problems chkdsk /F).
If these utilities show your hard drive has errors and can’t be repaired, it’s time to make sure you have a recent back up of your files, and then weigh your options between replacing the drive and reinstalling Windows and your programs or getting a new computer. With laptops dropping to record lows this year ($99 for a laptop in one Black Friday sale), it’s a tough call. (One I’m still debating.)
The moral of this story, though, is that drives fail all the time, unexpectedly. Keep tabs on your drive’s health and maks sure you have a solid backup plan.
This story, “3 tools to check your hard drive’s health and make sure it’s not already dying on you” was originally published by ITworld .
Melanie Pinola is a freelance writer covering all things tech-related. A former IT admin and occasional web developer, she is also the author of LinkedIn in 30 Minutes, a Lifehacker writer, and the Mobile Office Technology expert at About.com.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.
How to tell if your hard drive is broken.
Before attempting to repair your hard drive, you must first make sure that it is the hard drive itself which is causing the issue. If the hard drive is detected, but the operating system asks to reformat while you are accessing data, this is an indication that there are several defective areas. The defective areas can equally result in the crash or the decreased speed of the PC. Secondly, the hard drive could be displayed in the operating system but is not accessible.
Finally, in the situation that the hard drive is the problem, the PC simply cannot start. See if the system asks you to format the drive, but do not do it if you wish to retrieve your data.
The best tools to check and repair your external or internal hard drive using Windows.
Using Windows’ tools is generally the best method to check what state the drive is in; to use the tool CHKDSK from the control panel (Run menu). With the options /r and /f , the hard drive is analysed track-by-track to detect and fix recoverable data on the defective areas. Warning: do not use CHKDSK if you think you have lost data as this will make the data unrecoverable.
In the case that the failing partition is the one that holds the system, it is preferable to perform the operation on another PC or to do an analysis at the start-up of the PC (accepting the option that asks you to perform the check at the next startup). Still, take caution – the CHKDSK command is extremely powerful and can cause damages if used in the wrong conditions. Do not hesitate to read the article “CHKDSK, or how to solve a problem using the strong way ” to learn more about it.
If the hard drive is inaccessible, TestDisk is a program that can repair it. Though challenging to use due to its scanty interface, this free little tool proves itself to be a powerful tool to save your hard drive. Alternatively you can use Ontrack EasyRecovery with its SMART tools.
Just save yourself a problem and back up your files. Please.
By Whitson Gordon | Published Oct 9, 2020 12:00 PM
One day, you’ll face hard drive failure. I don’t care who you are or how carefully you use your computer. There will come an evening when you’ll plug in that old external disk only to be greeted with an error, missing data, or—worst-case scenario—nothing at all.
But let’s say you’re lucky, and when the judgement day finally comes, you don’t lose anything of importance—maybe because you’re able to recover your stuff, or because you have it backed up. Drive errors can be so cryptic that it’s hard to know whether you’re dealing with a minor blip or a ticking time bomb, so you might ask yourself: is it safe to write more files to the drive? Or was that failure an indication of more bad things to come?
The difference between corruption and drive failure
“Ninety-nine percent of the problems that happen [to drives] are outside issues that cause the data to become corrupted,” explains Michael Cobb, director of engineering at DriveSavers Data Recovery. In those cases, the drive itself is fine, but the data got damaged somehow. Maybe you had a power outage while your computer was writing to the disk, or you yanked out an external drive before it was done with an operation. It happens all the time.
This can also have other, scarier consequences, like a drive going RAW. This happens when that corruption happens on the master boot record, which tells your computer about the drive’s file system. In this case, your data may still be intact, but your computer just doesn’t know where to look for any of it, so it thinks the drive is empty and needs to be reformatted for use.
When this happens, the drive likely isn’t failing—instead, some outside force has simply caused a problem with the data, and the drive will be safe to use again once you remedy that issue.
If your drive has problems at the hardware level, though, things get more precarious. Cobb says these symptoms can be a bit harder to pin down, but they’re there. Maybe you try to format the drive and it doesn’t work until the third try. Or perhaps it’s making clicking, grinding, and buzzing noises, which could indicate a physical problem with the read head. Even solid-state drives, while longer-lasting than their mechanical cousins, can experience hardware failure.
If you aren’t sure whether a drive has experienced run-of-the-mill corruption or is on its way to hard drive heaven, check its S.M.A.R.T. status. You can do this using utilities built into your computer, but it’s easier to run a tool like CrystalDiskInfo (Windows) or DriveDx (Mac), which will give you a clear, easy-to-read diagnosis. If it cautions you that the drive has some bad sectors, it’s probably time to buy a new one—your drive may keep working for years, but it may also fail when you least expect it. Bad sectors may not become a real problem until you fill up the drive with enough data, so if you want to be on the safe side of things, don’t push your luck and replace the drive soon.
If the S.M.A.R.T. status is fine but you’re still experiencing problems, look at other links in the chain. If it’s an external drive, try a different USB cable or dock, or pop the drive into another USB enclosure—the adapters in external drives are more prone to failure than the drives themselves. If that solves the problem, you know the drive is safe to continue using.
What to do if you’ve lost data
These rules have one big caveat—if you’ve lost important data and you don’t have a backup, stop using the drive immediately. Writing data to the drive could overwrite the files you’ve lost, so the gadget isn’t truly “safe to use” until you’ve recovered everything you need.
You can try to get your files back using a tool like Recuva, LazeSoft Mac Data Recovery, or Disk Drill, as described in this guide. As long as you’re transferring things to a different disk (like a flash drive), you’re probably safe. You shouldn’t, however, attempt to repair the corruption until you have your data back. Once that’s done, you can try fixing your drive using Windows’ built-in error checking or a third-party utility like Disk Tool. Otherwise, you could be erasing your data permanently.
If you can’t get your stuff back with the above software, and your files are truly irreplaceable, it’s time to turn to a company like DriveSavers. They’ll diagnose the disk for free, so you don’t have anything to lose, but if you decide to go through with the recovery service, be warned that depending on the drive and the severity of the problem, it can cost you several hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
Once you have your data back, then, and only then, you can attempt to repair the corruption or wipe the drive and start fresh.
Start backing up today (if you haven’t already)
No matter what, says Cobb, it’s better to assume the worst: someday you’ll have to deal with hard drive failure, and even if you were lucky when that happens, you don’t want to be caught without a contingency plan. “Back up, back up, back up,” he repeats. “If you feel it’s something important to you, find a way to have a backup locally and a backup on the cloud. The more places it is, the better off you’ll be in case of an actual failure.”
For local backups—that is, files stored on another drive inside your house—your computer’s free, built-in tools will do a good job. Windows users should check out the File History feature, while Mac users should look to Time Machine. They’re free and super quick to set up—all you need is an external drive. A NAS system would be even better, since it allows your laptop to stay backed up without being plugged into an external drive all the time.
For cloud backups, I recommend Backblaze, a dead-simple program that will automatically put your data in a bucket online—so even if your house is burgled or catches fire, you’ll still have access to all your files. It does require a $6 per month subscription, but it’s well worth it. In my family, I’ve deemed this a non-negotiable expense, because certain things (like photos of my kids) can never be replaced if my hard drive fails.
Whatever you choose to do, do it today. It only takes a few minutes, and the longer you put it off, the more you tempt fate. Put tonight’s Netflix binge on hold—set up your backup and never risk losing your data again.
For some reason, out of nowhere I started having massive freezes and lags while playing watch dogs 2, I tried to verify the files and experienced some lags, decided to restart the system after stopping the verification process and my PC forced me to choose a booting device every time I turn it on ever since the restart. (Screenshot: https://prnt.sc/to083g )
My computer started being Really slow and eventually, today I got the Blue Screen of Death.
CrystalDiskInfo is saying my HDD’s health condition is bad (Screenshot: https://prnt.sc/to094y )
From what I understood I must change it, is there any way to save it? and if not is there any way to ensure that it won’t happen to my new HDD?
Current HDD: TOSHIBA HDWD110 1000.2 GB
You cannot “prevent” a drive dying. You can only protect your data on that drive.
All drive die eventually. If it happens within warranty, free replacement.
If not in warranty, replace anyway.
But ALL drive die eventually.
Protecting your data is the only thing that counts.
Your computer’s hard drive is one of the most important components of your machine. Without it, you can’t run an operating system or keep any data. And if it dies unexpectedly, you could end up with massive data loss if you haven’t created a backup (and even then, backups can become outdated). That’s why it’s important to keep tabs on your computer’s hard drive health – but how do you easily check hard drive health?
There are a number of ways to keep track of how your hardware is functioning, from built-in operating system tools to completely separate pieces of software. The best tools give vital clues as to whether a component is functioning well, facing problems, or nearing the end of its life. In many cases, using a combination of all the below tools and approaches can help you gain a comprehensive view of how your computer’s hard drive health may be affecting your systems, and how to fix it.
Best Ways to Check Hard Drive Health
HDD Manufacturer Tools: Start by using the tools that come with your hard disk drive. You can perform an HDD health check using the hard drive utility provided by the manufacturer, which includes diagnostic and measuring tools to determine whether your hard drive is functioning normally or has any problems. However, these tools usually only provide so much information. It’s best practice to use monitoring tools to keep an eye on your hard drive at all times, rather than periodically checking with HDD manufacturer tools.
CHKDSK: If you’re using Windows, you can use the Windows CHKDSK tool. This is a basic Windows utility to scan your hard disk for errors and fix file system errors using the /f command. However, CHKDSK doesn’t fix all errors, so you should still consider using an external program. You also want to be sure to create a new hard drive backup before you run CHKDSK— if it doesn’t work properly, it can end up making data unusable.
Mac: To check hard drive health, Mac users need to use the Disk Utility. Open the Disk Utility and choose “First Aid,” then “Verify Disk.” A window will appear showing you various metrics related to your hard drive health, with things that are fine appearing in black, and things with problems appearing in red.
External Tools: Hard drives use what is called S.M.A.R.T. – Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. With this technology, they can determine their own reliability and likelihood of failure. For you to see this information, you need an external program like CrystalDiskInfo. This is a free, open-source program that’s pretty simple to use and shows you the S.M.A.R.T. status reported by your hard drives. Once you have it installed, hopefully, the status for everything is “Good.” If you see the status “Bad,” it means that drive is near death. “Caution” means you need to keep an eye on it, and “Uncertain” means that no S.M.A.R.T. information could be obtained.
Monitoring Software: Hard drive monitoring software lets you check hard drive health alongside other network and device performance metrics. Good monitoring looks at both server capacity and server performance, as well as providing data to allow you to plan for capacity increases and organizational growth. The main benefit of using monitoring software is it can alert you as soon as an issue comes up or even before it happens, whereas with other tools you need to check everything manually.
3 Programs to Monitor Hard Drive Health
When it comes to a program to check hard drive health, there are three products from SolarWinds I recommend time and time again. A key feature of these tools is they all integrate with one another to provide a complete network health overview. While they can each be used as a standalone solution to monitor hard drive health, I found the comprehensive data you gain from each tool on your storage and hard drive health is truly amplified having them work together.
I prioritized the tools below when it comes to monitoring hard drive health and reviewed the benefits of combining the solutions:
- The first and main tool to have to monitor hard drive health is Storage Resource Monitor (SRM). SRM keeps tabs on all your storage devices, including capacity, performance, and hotspots. In addition to locating storage capacity problems, it maintains data on each layer, array, pool, and LUN/volume. The tool lets you see storage capacity growth and when space will run out, so you can plan for growth without disruption. SolarWinds SRM can also examine throughput and latency hotspots in storage resources to identify which devices are overworked and may be at risk of failure, and it provides excellent reports on the general health of your storage systems.
- The next tool I recommend is Server & Application Monitor (SAM). SAM can keep an eye on aspects of your server health including temperature, fan speed, power supply, CPU, memory, and disk space, and it lets you set up alerts for each of these aspects to let you know when there’s a problem. For example, if you wanted to set up an alert to show when the server volume is overutilized, you would select the relevant objects you want the alert to apply to and create a new alert for “Volume.” You can also set up the system to alert the relevant people that the server is full, with alerts recurring every several hours, days, or minutes (according to your preference) until they respond.
SAM is designed to monitor numerous different kinds of servers and applications, whether commercial or custom. It also includes virtual server monitoring capabilities and integrates with SRM to provide information on server storage volumes, disk usage, and capacity metrics.
- Lastly, you can use Network Performance Monitor (NPM) to check on your hard drive health. NPM includes a diverse toolkit for managing and monitoring network health, including for security issues, performance problems, and hardware issues. This includes monitoring your hard drives and how they’re performing, as well as when they’re reaching capacity. You can set alerts through the NPM to let you know if your system isn’t behaving as expected. In combination with one or both tools above, you can discover and pinpoint issues utilizing all the visualization features in NPM to resolve them as quickly as possible.
How to Tell If a Hard Drive Is Bad
Knowing how to check HDD health is important for making sure you don’t lose data or run into issues suddenly. If your hard drive is failing, you need to know before it happens. Use HDD manufacturer tools, CHKDSK, and, for ongoing detection and prevention, invest in hard drive monitoring software to ensure your systems are always healthy and functioning as they should.
There are various ways you can see if your Mac’s drive is on its way out.
A failing hard drive can mean loss or corruption to important data or to applications and system software that can further destabilize the system. If your Mac regularly slows down or crashes, or if you get odd ‘permissions denied’ errors about the inability to access certain files you previously had access to, then your drive may be on its way out.
The first option for testing your drive is to check its SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) status, which is a series of built-in benchmarks and thresholds that the drive regularly monitors itself. If any of these are out of place, then the drive will flag it to the system when a SMART check is performed. This can be done at any time using Disk Utility by opening the program and selecting your drive device. Then, at the bottom of the window you will see a “SMART Status” with the results of the check. If this says anything other than “Verified,” then you need to replace your drive.
Disk Utility is not the only option for checking the SMART status, as there are numerous third-party programs like SMART Utility (some of which are free), that may be an even more thorough SMART checker than Disk Utility.
The SMART verification status for the drive is located at the bottom of the Disk Utility window. Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET
If the SMART status checks out, then check the disk’s formatting regularly with Disk Utility. If your first check shows formatting errors, boot to the Recovery HD partition by holding Command-R at startup, and then fix the drive. Follow this by checking the drive’s formatting regularly (daily), to ensure that no more errors crop up. If they do, then this indicates the drive may be failing.
Finally, use a third-party utility like Drive Genius or Disk Tools Pro to check the drive’s media with a surface scan. This will check for bad blocks and replace them with spare blocks, if necessary. If you do find bad blocks with a scan, then again repeat this scan the following day, after using your system, and continue to do so for a few more days. If bad blocks continue to appear, then this suggests the drive will likely need to be replaced.
For external drives, unfortunately, SMART status checking is not supported; however, you can still check its formatting and perform a surface scan.
In addition, for external drives you can troubleshoot any daisy chains and drive connections if the drive will not mount, or if it suddenly ejects, since improper daisy-chaining can lead to loss in power or data connection that can corrupt drive contents.
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A bad hard drive can cause an assortment of different issues on your computer. Below are a few of the possible issues you may encounter. It is important to remember that the issues below can also be caused by more than a bad disk drive.
- Errors when reading, copying, moving, or deleting data on the computer.
- Extremely slow.
- Operating system unable to boot.
- Other random errors or computer reboots.
Below is a listing of a software programs available designed to test your computer’s hard drive for errors and determine if it’s faulty.
- ScanDisk – Users running Microsoft Windows who’re still able to get into Windows can utilize the already installed disk checking tool ScanDisk to find and repair any errors on their hard drive.
- Chkdsk – Another Windows command line utility to test the hard drive. If you’re unable to boot into Windows, boot from the Windows CD, enter the Recovery Console, and run chkdsk /f to fix errors.
- TestDisk – Fantastic, free, and open-source utility to test and fix different hard drive errors.
- Crucial Storage Executive – Excellent tool for Crucial hard drives and SSDs that gives complete information about the drive, all S.M.A.R.T. information, firmware updates, self tests, and more.
- Seagate SeaTools – Fantastic and free program that is used to test Seagate and all other computer hard drives.
- HDD health – Another great program that utilizes S.M.A.R.T technology to display a hard drive’s statistics, such as the temperature of the drive, it’s overall health, and every other SMART attribute.
Another option is to download the files to make an Ultimate Boot CD. The Ultimate Boot CD contains multiple tools for testing computer hardware, including hard drives, and help fix some of those issues as well.
Replace the hard drive
If the hard drive appears to be bad or is generating SMART errors indicating its bad even after trying the above suggestions, we suggest replacing it.
Often hard drives have a several year warranty. If the drive or the computer the drive is in is relatively new, it may still be under warranty (even if the computer isn’t).
If you’re concerned about recovering lost data from a defective drive, consider using a company who specializes in data recovery.
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Hard drives form the basis of our computing. The use of computers comes down to manipulating data, and the hard drive is, of course, where we store all our data; family albums, music, work documents, email, the list goes on.
Most of the components in your computer are electronic devices. They don’t fail with time like a mechanical device such as a car. But your hard drive is one of the few mechanical devices used in modern computing, and as such, it’s destined to die eventually.
It’s important to learn to recognize the warning signs of an imminent hard drive failure, since you might not have the budget for an extensive back-up system, so you can rescue all that data before it’s lost—sometimes forever, not retrievable at any cost.
Why do hard drives fail?
Logical failures occur when the electronics of the hard drive failure or the software (firmware) has a problem. This kind of failure is usually the cheapest and easiest to have fixed. Unfortunately, it’s also an uncommon failure.
If the hard drive has been handled roughly, or the magnetic platters are scratched, have read/write errors or low-level formatting problems, this is a media failure. These are also relatively uncommon. Once the platters are scratched, the data should be considered scrapped.
A head failure occurs when the read/write head crashes into the platters (the head crash), has an “improper flying height” or the wiring between the logic board and the head is faulty—among other failures related to malfunction of the read/write head. This is a common failure. The head crash is particularly nasty.
Mechanical failures probably make up the bulk of hard drive failures. The motor burns out, the drive overheats, bearings get stuck—the kind of thing you’d expect to find when a car fails. These can be nasty but if the failure didn’t affect the platters, you might have a chance of recovery, but at a cost.
How do I find out when it’s going to fail before it fails?
That’s not always possible, and sometimes a hard drive will just die—but it’s still important to keep an eye on the symptoms of an imminent hard drive so you have the chance to back-up your data and get professional help.
Hard drives are incredibly sensitive bits of hardware, so don’t try to crack it open and have a look inside unless you know what you’re doing. And most definitely ensure that if you do crack it open, the platters don’t get exposed to the open air—hard drives can only be opened in Class 100 clean rooms or they’re pretty much instantly destroyed by dust.
It’s a lot easier to back-up than to get your data recovered. Once you detect any of the signs of failure you need to ensure that you have a back-up and if not, make one. Then when the drive dies, you can claim your warranty if you still have it, or buy a new drive, and be on your way.
Recovery can cost thousands and thousands of dollars; it sure is a ridiculous amount to pay, but there’s not much you can do but shop around and find the best price. The cost of transferring a back-up onto a brand new drive is much cheaper than having a recovery specialist do the same for you.
Sometimes hearing strange grinding and thrashing noises means your drive is beyond repair—for instance, if you’ve had a head crash, it very often is. Or it could just be that the motor has failed or your hard drive is grinding away because of noisy bearings. If you’re hearing strange noises then act very, very quickly—you probably don’t have much time.
Disappearing Data and Disk Errors
Computer won’t let you save a document? Or you’re sure that you had a file on your desktop yesterday that’s nowhere to be seen today? Programs that always worked suddenly stop working, asking where a file it depends on is stored?
These are all potential signs that your hard drive is on its way out. Of course, it could be that your kids moved your files for fun or a virus is eating through them, but disappearing data is never a good sign for your drive if you can rule out those alternative causes.
Your computer stops recognizing your drive
This may seem obvious, but if your computer no longer recognizes your drive chances are there’s a problem with it, not the computer. Test it in a friend’s computer and see if your hard drive is recognized by it.
Often, this will be a logical failure—unless you can hear strange noises that indicate a severe mechanical or head problem.
Does your computer regularly blue-screen or suddenly reboot? Does it crash often, especially when booting your operating system? If your computer is crashing, especially at times when the computers is accessing files (such as during the boot sequence), it may indicate a problem with your drive.
Really Slow Access Times
It shouldn’t take half an hour to open a folder in Windows Explorer, or two hours to empty the trash. I’ve come across this problem plenty of times over the years, and it’s always followed by a failing hard drive within a month or two.
If you have this symptom on your computer and your drive does not fail, please uninstall Vista from your 486.
Sound is a great indicator. As soon as the sound changes from the norm, or you get plenty of clicking and grinding from your hard drive, you need to power it down immediately. Get to know the sound of your hard drive while it’s young and in working order, because you’ll need to be able to hear the slightest differences when it gets older.
Don’t try to be a hero. If there’s time, get your data backed up. If there’s not—nasty noises, for example—get it out of the computer or enclosure, wrap it in anti-static plastic or aluminium foil and keep it safe until you can send it to a professional. Hard drives are very sensitive, just like those kids who die their hair black and write poems about suicide. Don’t mess with them.
When you contact a recovery specialist, they will give you details on shipping the drive, though they tend to prefer you hand-deliver it to prevent further damage.
When it comes to hard drives, just remember to keep an eye on it and act quickly. And, of course, keep extensive back-ups, even if you have to skip groceries one week to do so.
PassMark DiskCheckup™ allows the user to monitor the SMART attributes of a particular hard disk drive. SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a feature on a computer’s hard disk for providing various monitoring indicators of disk reliability. If SMART is enabled on a hard disk, the system administrator can receive analytical information from the hard drive to determine a possible future failure of the hard drive.
SMART monitors elements of possible long term drive failure, such as ‘Spin Up Time’, the number of start/stops, the number of hours powered on and the hard disk temperature.
DiskCheckup displays the current values of the SMART attributes, along with the Threshold value for that attribute. If an attribute drops below its threshold, the drive cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet its specifications in the future.
Note that SMART attributes change slowly over time and are helpful attempts to diagnose the life span of a particular drive. DiskCheckup monitors these changes over a long period and predict the date (if available) of the Threshold Exceed Condition (TEC), which is displayed on the main window.
DiskCheckup can also execute built-in Disk Self-Test (DST) routines implemented by the vendor to detect drive failures. There are two main self-test routines: Short Test and Extended Test. The results of these tests are displayed in DiskCheckup.
DiskCheckup can detect and set the sizes of the Host Protected Area (HPA) and Device Configuration Overlay (DCO). The HPA/DCO are hidden areas of the hard disk that contain data not accessible by the user. These areas can be removed to reveal the data hidden within these areas.
DiskCheckup also displays device information, such as the drive geometry, serial number, model number, media rotation rate, and supported features. The real-time activity of the disk is also displayed and updated periodically.
E-mail Notifications when Threshold Exceed Condition Detected
DiskCheckup can be configured to send e-mail notifications when a SMART attribute has been detected to be less than the allowable threshold value. Such threshold values are determined by the hard disk manufacturer. For a drive to be considered “good”, all the SMART attributes must be above these values. Different SMART attributes have different threshold values. For more configuration options, refer to the screen shot below.
A hard drive that supports SMART, plus compatible drivers. Most recent hard drives (SATA/USB/FireWire/PCIe M.2 NVMe) are OK, but drives connected via SCSI or hardware RAID are not supported. Drives configured as software RAID (dynamic disks) via Windows Disk Management will also work.
DiskCheckup is built with PassMark’s SysInfo DLL SDK. If you would like to use this technology in your application, please check out the SysInfo DLL SDK or contact us.
Starting with DiskCheckup V3.2, the software allows the users to translate the program into their own language. DiskCheckup will look for localization.txt file within the program folder and will use the strings in this file. If you have a translation that is not already available and have made a new translation file for it, please send it to us. We may possibly include it for future release of the software. Note: If you edit localization.txt, make sure to make a backup as the file is replaced on subsequent installs.
Double click on the DiskCheckup.exe installer file to run the DiskCheckup installer. Additional information is provided in the included HTML help files. You can view them from DiskCheckup’s help button/menu or open the start page “index.html” in the “HELP” folder.
- Hardware RAID and SCSI are not supported.
- Dynamic disks (software RAID) are supported. The Silicon Image SIL0680 Ultra-133 ATA RAID Controller has a bug which can cause a system lockup when the SMART data is accessed. This bug exists in the current driver version, 22.214.171.124 and presumably in previous versions.
- TEC predictions about future failure dates should be taken as a guide only and should not be considered accurate.
- Most newer drives connected via USB and Firewire are supported. However, older drives may not be supported due to the protocol bridge on the hard disk not supporting SMART commands)
- Software Localization: SMART attribute list is not translated.
Specific Disclaimer on Failure Predictions
The SmartDisk DLL SDK and DiskCheckup utilizes statistical analysis to predict possible failure dates of hard disk drives. Because there are no ‘certainties’ in statistical analysis, PassMark® Software Pty Ltd disclaims all liability for any and all costs incurred by either:
1) The hard disk drive failing before the predicted failure date estimated by the application, or
2) The hard disk drive continuing to function beyond the predicted failure date estimated by the application.
In either situation, PassMark® disclaims liability for any losses due to loss or damage to data. PassMark® further disclaims any liability for costs incurred in anticipation of a disk drive failure that does not eventuate (e.g., replacement hard disk drives, transfer time, downtime, etc).
This disclaimer is in addition to the Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability mentioned elsewhere in the EULA and on this website.
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S.M.A.R.T. is an industry-standard technology that identifies bad sectors and predicts pending errors on a hard drive. The S.M.A.R.T. firmware not only detects failing sectors on a SATA or any hard drive, but this feature can move data from bad sectors to healthier sectors on the drive. S.M.A.R.T. technology can prevent data loss and notify you that your hard drive will likely fail in the near future. If you are receiving S.M.A.R.T. errors on a SATA hard drive, run the Check Disk utility in Windows or the Disk Utility application in OS X on a Mac, and prepare to replace the hard drive as soon as possible.
Click the Windows Start button, and then click the “Computer” icon in the Start menu. The Computer window opens.
Right-click on the option for your hard drive to display the context menu.
Click the “Properties” option. The Properties window opens.
Click the tab labeled “Tools,” and then click “Check Now.” The Disk Utility opens.
Check the checkbox next to the “Automatically Fix File System Errors” option.
Check the checkbox next to the “Scan for and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors” option.
Click the “Start” button. The Check Disk utility checks the SATA hard drive for errors and attempts to repair the errors.
Reboot the computer once the utility has finished running. The S.M.A.R.T. error should be clear.
Mac OS X
Insert the Apple Software Restore disk. Start the computer while pressing and holding the “C” key. Release the “C” key when the gray Apple logo displays. The Apple logo disappears and the “Language” selector opens.
Click the “Right-Pointing” arrow while leaving the “Use English as the Main Language” option is highlighted. The option is highlighted by default. The disk menu opens.
Click the “Utilities” option from the disk menu, and then click the “Disk Utility” option.
Click the SATA hard drive listing in the left navigation panel, and then click the “Repair Disk” button in the right panel. The Disk Utility identifies and repairs S.M.A.R.T. errors on the hard drive.
Reboot the computer once the Disk Utility has finished checking the hard drive.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology.
S.M.A.R.T. is an industry standard for monitoring and reporting fault conditions in a peripheral storage device, whether from damage or normal wear-and-tear. S.M.A.R.T. is intended to decrease the chance of data loss by giving adequate warning to these conditions, but it is no replacement for good disaster-recovery planning.
A S.M.A.R.T. drive monitors the internal performance of the motors, media, heads, and electronics of the drive, while our software monitors the overall reliability status of the drive. The reliability status is determined through the analysis of the drive’s internal performance level and the comparison of internal performance levels to predetermined threshold limits. S.M.A.R.T.-capable drives can monitor several key performance factors to assess reliability and predict an impending device failure. However, S.M.A.R.T. cannot possibly detect all impending failures. S.M.A.R.T. should be treated as an advisory service, and not a substitute for regularly backing-up your files. Keeping your data safe can only be ensured by making back-up copies on a regular basis. The S.M.A.R.T. features of any device should not be considered a substitute for planning-ahead.
In an effort to help users avoid data loss, drive manufacturers are now incorporating logic into their drives that acts as an “early warning system” for pending drive problems. This system is called Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology or SMART. The hard disk’s integrated controller works with various sensors to monitor various aspects of the drive’s performance, determines from this information if the drive is behaving normally or not, and makes available status information to software that probes the drive and look at it.
The fundamental principle behind SMART is that many problems with hard disks don’t occur suddenly. They result from a slow degradation of various mechanical or electronic components. SMART evolved from a technology developed by IBM called Predictive Failure Analysis or PFA. PFA divides failures into two categories: those that can be predicted and those that cannot. Predictable failures occur slowly over time, and often provide clues to their gradual failing that can be detected. An example of such a predictable failure is spindle motor bearing burnout: this will often occur over a long time, and can be detected by paying attention to how long the drive takes to spin up or down, by monitoring the temperature of the bearings, or by keeping track of how much current the spindle motor uses. An example of an unpredictable failure would be the burnout of a chip on the hard disk’s logic board: often, this will “just happen” one day. Clearly, these sorts of unpredictable failures cannot be planned for.
The main principle behind failure prediction is that some failures cause gradual changes in
various indicators that can be tracked to detect trends that may indicate overall drive failure.
Image © Quantum Corporation
Image used with permission.
The drive manufacturer’s reliability engineers analyze failed drives and various mechanical and electronic characteristics of the drive to determine various correlations: relationships between predictable failures, and values and trends in various characteristics of the drive that suggest the possibility of slow degradation of the drive. The exact characteristics monitored depend on the particular manufacturer and model. Here are some that are commonly used:
- Head Flying Height: A downward trend in flying height will often presage a head crash.
- Number of Remapped Sectors: If the drive is remapping many sectors due to internally-detected errors, this can mean the drive is starting to go.
- ECC Use and Error Counts: The number of errors encountered by the drive, even if corrected internally, often signal problems developing with the drive. The trend is in some cases more important than the actual count.
- Spin-Up Time: Changes in spin-up time can reflect problems with the spindle motor.
- Temperature: Increases in drive temperature often signal spindle motor problems.
- Data Throughput: Reduction in the transfer rate of the drive can signal various internal problems.
(Some of the quality and reliability features I am describing in this part of the site are in fact used to feed data into the SMART software.)
Using statistical analysis, the “acceptable” values of the various characteristics are programmed into the drive. If the measurements for the various attributes being monitored fall out of the acceptable range, or if the trend in a characteristic is showing an unacceptable decline, an alert condition is written into the drive’s SMART status register to warn that a problem with the drive may be occurring.
SMART requires a hard disk that supports the feature and some sort of software to check the status of the drive. All major drive manufacturers now incorporate the SMART feature into their drives, and most newer PC systems and motherboards have BIOS routines that will check the SMART status of the drive. So do operating systems such as Windows 98. If your PC doesn’t have built-in SMART support, some utility software (like Norton Utilities and similar packages) can be set up to check the SMART status of drives. This is an important point to remember: the hard disk doesn’t generate SMART alerts, it just makes available status information. That status data must be checked regularly for this feature to be of any value.
Clearly, SMART is a useful tool but not one that is foolproof: it can detect some sorts of problems, but others it has no clue about. A good analogy for this feature would be to consider it like the warning lights on the dashboard of your car: something to pay attention to, but not to rely upon. You should not assume that because SMART generated an alert, there is definitely a drive problem, or conversely, that the lack of an alarm means the drive cannot possibly be having a problem. It certainly is no replacement for proper hard disk care and maintenance, or routine and current backups.
If you experience a SMART alert using your drive, you should immediately stop using it and contact your drive manufacturer’s technical support department for instructions. Some companies consider a SMART alert sufficient evidence that the drive is bad, and will immediately issue an RMA for its replacement; others require other steps to be performed, such as running diagnostic software on the drive. In no event should you ignore the alert. Sometimes I see people asking others “how they can turn off those annoying SMART messages” on their PCs. Doing that is, well, like putting electrical tape over your car’s oil pressure light so it won’t bother you while you’re driving!
How can I check the SMART status of a drive under 14.04 and beyond? I’ve seen Checking HD SMART status on a fresh install but it doesn’t seem to apply under 14.04 and later.
3 Answers 3
Launch the Disks Utility (If you don’t have it already, you can install Disks via the Software Center or open a terminal and issue the command sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility .
Select the drive of interest then click on the menu button at the upper right corner and choose SMART Data & self tests
Note that sometime between 18.10 and 20.04 the menu option has moved from the “hamburger menu” to the 3 vertical dots menu as shown below.
Types of self-tests
- Short: Checks the electrical and mechanical performance as well as the read performance of the disk. Electrical tests might include a test of buffer RAM, a read/write circuitry test, or a test of the read/write head elements. Mechanical test includes seeking and servo on data tracks. Scans small parts of the drive’s surface (area is vendor-specific and there is a time limit on the test). Checks the list of pending sectors that may have read errors, and it usually takes under two minutes.
- Long/extended: A longer and more thorough version of the short self-test, scanning the entire disk surface with no time limit. This test usually takes several hours, depending on the read/write speed of the drive and its size.
- Conveyance: Intended as a quick test to identify damage incurred during transporting of the device from the drive manufacturer to the computer manufacturer. Only available on ATA drives, and it usually takes several minutes.
How to interpret SMART-Attributes
The most important attribute in terms of failure rates is likely the 196 – Reallocated Sector Count, but considering Google research paper: _”. failure prediction models based on SMART parameters alone are likely to be severely limited in their prediction accuracy, given that a large fraction of our failed drives have shown no SMART error signals whatsoever.” However, the majority of the drives (over 60%) in the study that failed did exhibit a smart failure, so as imperfect as it may be, it’s still valid indicator.
Rafael Rodrigues Nakano
- Apr 22, 2016
Hello. I’m having problems with my hard drive and I have two questions:
1st: He is making some strange noises (not that much) and making my operating system hang. I think its the hdd fault because both Windows 10 and FreeBSD hangs in the same way. No blue screen of death. No advice. Nothing, it just freezes and the ‘hdd access indicator light’ is froze, either on on or off, and the computer is dead. Is my hdd really dying or its some serious fragmentation or something like that?
2st: So, even if its a hdd fault or not, formatting everything and trying ZFS on it should ‘resolve’ the problem? At least make the situation less worse?
My HDD have a MBR partition table with 3 partitions (2 NTFS (1 Windows 10 and another for general files) and 1 extended, with FreeBSD UFS partition and a swap one).
I tried chkdsk and some ‘Disk Checkup’ programs in Windows (I don’t know any ‘disk checkup’ programs for *nix, it’s just a lack or searching, I know, but I found it easier on Windows) which said ‘Your HDD is fine/good state/OK/nice’ but the problems remained.
I asked earlier about fragmentation because when I’m defragmenting my Windows NTFS partition inside Windows, it does not hang at all. But if i do not set it do defrag, hangs after some time.
And finally the last ‘info’, it does not have a ‘certain’ time to hang. Sometimes, it hangs in the boot process, without any login screen on both systems (I remember once, on the boot process of FreeBSD, it showed some garbage characters on the screen and froze, maybe the HDD has died somehow within the boot process). Sometimes, it hangs after 1h, 2h, etc.
Sorry for the long post and for the lack of more information. If its needed, I can provide logs, make tests and so on. Sorry for my bad english, its not my native language and I didn’t learned it the ‘right way’. Thanks in advance