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Monitor Your Hard Drive the SMART Way

TMO Quick Tip - Monitor Your Hard Drive the SMART Way

by , 7:30 AM EDT, June 5th, 2006

The hard drive in your Mac is a critical yet fragile part of what makes your Mac uniquely yours. It stores your operating system, applications and documents. If it should fail, you could potentially lose critical information. Many of the hard drives manufactured today include technology called S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) that runs a self check to see if it is functioning correctly. The trick is figuring out when your drive is going to conk out before it happens, and there are a few of ways to do that.

Disk Utility
One of the many functions Disk Utility handles is checking the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drives. Here's how:

  • Launch Disk Utility. It's in Applications>Utilities.
  • Select the physical description of your hard drive from the column on the left. You can look for the name of your hard drive, then click on the hard drive icon that's above it.
  • Click the First Aid tab.
  • Look for S.M.A.R.T. Status at the bottom of the window. If it says Verified, your hard drive is okay. If it says anything else, back up your important data, and get a new hard drive installed right away.


Click on the description of your hard drive in Disk Utility to see its S.M.A.R.T. status.

SMARTReporter
I like to use SMARTReporter since it checks my drive for me on a regular basis, and automatically alerts me if there is a problem. It also places a handy icon in your menu bar. A green hard drive means good, a red hard drive means trouble is on the way. I installed SMARTReporter on my servers and set them to email me if their hard drives are going to fail.


SMARTReporter's green icon means your drive is okay.

SmartReporter is DonationWare, meaning you really should pay something for it if you find it useful. You can download SMARTReporter at Julian Mayer's Web site.


Choose how you want to be notified of hard drive problems.

Unfortunately, Apple hasn't implemented S.M.A.R.T. reporting for FireWire hard drives, so you can check the status of ATA and SATA hard drives only. Also, keep in mind that checking your hard drive's S.M.A.R.T. status isn't an alternative to backing up your important files, it's just another tool to help keep your data safe.


if you have ideas for Mac related tips that you think other TMO readers might find helpful.

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