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Disk Drive SMART Status

SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a diagnostic method originally developed by IBM Corporation for their mainframe drives to give advanced warning of drive failures. Large mainframe data centers wanted to know in advance if a disk drive was going to fail, because this gave them the opportunity to take steps to protect their data. Today all major disk drive manufacturers support SMART, including IBM, Western Digital, Quantum, Seagate, and Fujitsu.

How can SMART help a PC end-user? Not all disk drive failures are predictable, but many mechanical failures are predictable and this is where SMART can be of help. SMART measures many attributes of your disk drive over time and decides if they are moving out of tolerance. Knowing that your disk drive is going to fail and doing something about it, is infinitely better than having one crash in the middle of your work. Backing up your disk drive and possibly replacing it are far better options than trying to recover data from a failed drive.

Keep in mind that most disk drives, even if they are SMART enabled, do not have SMART turned on by default. When you install the BelManage client on a PC, it will turn on SMART and begin tracking your drive health. SMART is only useful when monitored over a period of time.

Shown below are sample SMART attributes. Each drive manufacturer uses its own set of attributes to measure drive health.

  • Head flying height data
  • Throughput performance
  • Spin-up time
  • Re-allocated sector count
  • Seek error rate
  • Seek time performance
  • Spin try recount
  • Drive calibration retry count

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