Learn how to diagnose your HD health information to anticipate a failure
HDDs and SSDs are subject to collapses that can render stored data inaccessible. One way to avoid losing your files and knowing when there is a problem is to monitor the so-called SMART. The technology, universal in storage units used in computers, verifies a series of technical aspects of the disc, counting errors of reading and writing and even episodes of impacts and falls, great villains of the HDs used in notebooks.
Here’s how to access real-time measurements from SMART on the hard drive or SSD. In addition, we’ve separated some tips to help you identify the most important information that can signal a dying drive.
To begin with, you will need some program dedicated to this type of diagnosis. The good news is that there are several of them, being some of the manufacturers themselves and often free. Our recommendations are HDD Scan, Seagate SeaTools, and Crystal Disk Info. All are available for free and work with both SSDs and conventional HDDs.
Step 1. HDD Scan is a good utility for the task, as it is lightweight and requires no installation. Just download and run the tool directly;
Step 2. Confirm by choosing “I Agree” for the app to run;
Step 3. Here, you can select which storage unit you want to inspect;
Step 4. Clicking “SMART” will bring you to a screen with recent results;
How to interpret the information?
As you may have noticed, SMART monitors a lot of health parameters of hard drive and SSD. Although everything here is important, there are measures that are more significant in relation to the health of the unit and can be used to anticipate failure.
- Reallocated Sectors Count
This attribute monitors the number of sectors on the disk that was defective and, impossible to access to write new data, had to be remapped to another area of the disk. A new drive must have zero drives relocated and increasing value to that extent means that something is progressively damaging the drive.
On an HD, this can be a misalignment of the read and write heads that, coming into physical contact with the surface of the disc, produce scratches that are slowly destroying the HD. On an SSD, high values of reallocated sectors can point to a disk reaching the end of its useful life.
- Uncorrectable Sector Count
Similar to the previous question, this attribute measures the number of sectors with defects that can not be fixed on the disk. If the value is increasing over time, there is a high risk of loss of drive and data.
- Reallocation Event Count
This data complements the previous ones and measures attempts, successful or not, to reposition defective sectors on the disk surface. Numbers uploading here also indicate a disk with serious problems.
- Spin Retry Count
In this metric are considered unsuccessful attempts to drive the motor that causes the hard drive to spin – so it does not make sense on SSDs. Numbers other than zero here indicate that the mechanical part of the hard drive is in trouble and may fail.
- Present Life Remaining
Intended for SSDs, this data reflects an estimate of unit life. The value is displayed as a percentage: an SSD with 95 in this field will still have 95% of its useful life ahead.
- G-sense Error Rate
Crucial to HDs, this data measures the number of impact-related episodes. Strictly speaking, the attribute only measures records of shocks that can cause damage to the hard disk and consequently its collapse. The meter can also climb on old disks, which have not suffered any kind of beat.
- Read Error Rate
While literally counting the amount of disk read errors, you do not have to worry about this parameter as much, as some manufacturers present this information differently. In addition, given the way hard disks work, high values in this attribute – and also in Write Error Rate – turn out to be normal.