Most of us pay little attention to the hard disk till it starts acting up. Unfortunately, by then it may be too late. A hard disk failure is a disastrous even and is a computing nightmare that no one wants to experience. However, a hard disk crash generally doesn’t happen out of the blue. Often there are signs which just gets ignored.
All modern day hard disks come with S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology). According to Wikipedia 60% of hard disk crashes occur due to mechanical failures which is a gradual procedure. S.M.A.R.T. continuously logs hard disk performance and is the best way to gauge the drive’s health and predict failure.
There are plenty of tools in the market that makes use of the data provided by S.M.A.R.T. to judge your disk’s health. The most well known tool is probably HDDLife Pro. Unfortunately you have to shell out â‚¬20 to use it (the free version offers little usable information). CrystalDiskInfo is the best freeware alternative I have come across. CrystalDiskInfo is a comprehensive hard disk analysis tool which offers a wide range of information on your disk including :
Quick health status (Good/Caution/Bad/Unknown)
Hard disk temperature.
Advanced information like firmware version, serial number, interface (PATA/SATA), buffer size etc.
Total running time for the hard disk.
S.M.A.R.T. Attributes (Read Error Rate, Write Error Rate, Seek Error Rate, Relocation Even Count etc).
Automatic Acoustic Management and Advanced Power Management controller.
Realtime updates with temperature alarm.
Multiple Hard Disk Support.
CrystalDiskInfo is also available as a handy portable application (doesn’t require installation). It has all the features you would expect from a Hard Drive diagnostic tool and comes at an unbeatable price (free).