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How to monitor hard-drive health with DiskCheckup for Windows

Hard drives can fail at any time, but clues can help you avoid data loss. DiskCheckup for Windows monitors hard-drive health to help you predict failures.

Hard disk health
Ed Rhee/CNET

Even if you happen to have a good backup solution, a hard-drive failure can be a major inconvenience. If you don't have a good backup solution, then a drive failure can be catastrophic. There are clues, however, that can help you predict problems with your hard drive.

DiskCheckup for Windows uses your drive's S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) info to monitor its health and help you notice problems before you experience a complete failure.

In order to use DiskCheckup, you have to have at least one drive that supports S.M.A.R.T technology. Most internal drives purchased within the last 15 years or so should support S.M.A.R.T. Also, most recent external drives are supported by DiskCheckup, but SCSI and hardware RAID are not.

The DeviceInfo tab provides you with every detail of your drive, like the model number, serial number, storage capacity, and firmware version.

DiskCheckup Device Info
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

The S.M.A.R.T. Info tab lists all the S.M.A.R.T. attributes and their values, as well as the predicted TEC (threshold exceed condition) date.

DiskCheckup SMART Info
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

The last two tabs give you access to S.M.A.R.T. history and drive tests. To enable S.M.A.R.T. history recording, click on the Configuration button, then check the box next to Record S.M.A.R.T. attributes for TEC computation. If you decide to enable auto-refresh, don't make the interval too short, because the binary file that stores the info can get very large. Depending on your preference, you can also set DiskCheckup to either display an alert message or send you an e-mail when a threshold value has been met.

DiskCheckup Config
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

That's it. Keep in mind that the predicted TEC date is only displayed when there are at least three sets of values, and a difference between the recorded values exist. If the S.M.A.R.T. attribute value hasn't changed, then you'll see an "N.A." displayed.

(Via gHacks)