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  1.    12 Nov 2014 #1
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Posts : 24,485
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro build 17017

    How smart is SMART now?


    Your disks and SSDs have a self-monitoring function called SMART. But how good is it? The fine folks at Backblaze are back with data on how well SMART works for them.

    SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a protocol for passing information from a disk or SSD to the CPU. It's part of the ATA and SCSI standards and is based on work by IBM, Seagate and others done in the '90s.

    The protocol has a consistent data structure able to report over 70 statistics, but what gets measured is up to the vendor. SMART looks at the trends in these and other measures to determine if the drive is headed for failure.

    Backblaze started tracking SMART data earlier this year on almost 40,000 drives to see if and how SMART could help predict drive failure. A drive failure is counted when the drive either won't power up, is bricked, or is showing (SMART) evidence of failing soon.
    Read more...
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  2.    12 Nov 2014 #2
    Join Date : Nov 2013
    Toronto
    Posts : 4,617
    Win 10 Pro x64

    Thanks! Good info.

    The SMARTEST thing to do is to make back-ups. We should always assume that hard drives will fail without a warning.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    12 Nov 2014 #3
    Join Date : Jan 2014
    Posts : 246

    Quote Originally Posted by badrobot View Post
    Thanks! Good info.

    The SMARTEST thing to do is to make back-ups. We should always assume that hard drives will fail without a warning.
    X2!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    12 Nov 2014 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 746
    Windows 7

    SMART provides a valuable warning of potential drive failure. But no warning can be relied on to protect you from data loss.

    The time between receiving the warning and drive failure may be too short to recover your data.
    SMART can only warn of certain types of drive failure. There are failures, such as in the drive electronics, where it will provide no warning at all. Many drive failures occur with no warning at all and for no apparent reason.

    And warnings are of no use unless they are heeded. I have seen so many cases on forums that go something like this:

    The hard drive starts to make strange noises, possibly with SMART warnings at bootup. Other errors develop. No action is taken. Finally:

    "HELP!! My computer won't start. It contains very valuable files and I have no backups"

    By then it is often too late.

    The best protection against data loss is regular backups made when there are no warnings or symptoms. You do this because the drive may fail with no warning. Or one of many other things may happen. When a SMART warning occurs you take extra care. Be very sure your backs are in good order and maybe make another one, just in case. Be prepared to replace the drive in the near future.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    13 Nov 2014 #5
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 931
    Windows 8.1, Win10Pro

    I used to think that SMART would give advanced warnings of drive failures, but this year, I've had two Seagate drives fail on me suddenly without any indications at all! In both cases, the drives were working fine one day and dead the next. I have to agree with one of the conclusions in the article in that SMART is useless for warning about impending drive failures.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    13 Nov 2014 #6
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 746
    Windows 7

    SMART does provide valuable warnings of drive failure. It is just that you can't rely on them. Big difference.
    Many warnings outside of computers are like this. The "Check engine" light in a car offers valuable warning that something is wrong and needs to be looked into. But the lack of a warning doesn't mean all is well.

    You cannot rely on SMART to detect drive failure. That would require the ability to predict the future. For all the advances made in science that is beyond it's abilities.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    14 Nov 2014 #7
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 480
    Windows 10

    I've NEVER had a warning by SMART, and have had a few HDDs fail. I agree with Mark Phelps. Even when the drives have been sqealing and groaning, nothing showed up in SMART.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    14 Nov 2014 #8
    Join Date : Jul 2014
    Serbia
    Posts : 10,193
    W10 Insider + Linux

    SMART does provide valuable information but it's retroactive, only in cases when something already happened. Should be checked at some intervals, after something happens to disk it maybe late. Problem is interpreting results, most of SW shows cryptic data to untrained eyes. There are many programs for checking disks and SMART alike : Download Passmark DiskCheckup - MajorGeeks but best bet is to use some application provided by drive's manufacturer.
    Health and Performance indicators in SMART monitoring are on the other hand speculative from the side of manufacturer, had many cases when Health was indicated as very poor but disk still worked flawlessly, that's because of some problems that happened in the past but was rectified, poor data and power cable connections at some time in the past or software induced bad sectors repaired since live mark in SMART and that mark can't be reversed even if repairs were successful.
    I'm not sure about newer Windows but XP for instance would not install if SMART was enabled and was showing bad disk. Turning off SMART monitoring in BIOS would let you install XP but with bad drive it was iffy to say at least.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  9.    20 Jan 2015 #9
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    Posts : 5
    7/8/8.1/10

    I have had trouble with the new 'green' drives failing, even brand new. Went on amazon and found a discussion as to which country they are assembled. So I ordered and returned, until I received the correct country and they are correct: testing software proved it. Some drives were half the speed of others: same name, from different country!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    20 Jan 2015 #10
    Join Date : Jul 2014
    Serbia
    Posts : 10,193
    W10 Insider + Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by wotevfir View Post
    I have had trouble with the new 'green' drives failing, even brand new. Went on amazon and found a discussion as to which country they are assembled. So I ordered and returned, until I received the correct country and they are correct: testing software proved it. Some drives were half the speed of others: same name, from different country!
    Well, there was that flood in Thailand few years ago.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

 
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