If you’ve ever suffered a hard disk failure on your computer, you know how devastating it can be – especially if you haven’t been backing up your data regularly (or at all). Most of the time, there is no type of warning when your hard disk is about to go out on you; it just happens and you’re left totally frustrated and unprepared.
If you’re a Mac user, there’s a very useful application that can help to prepare you for an impending disk failure. This application is SMARTReporter, and it works by periodically polling the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) status of your hard disk drives; it’s basically like an “early warning system.” SMARTReporter uses this technology to keep you up-to-date on the status of your hard disk and lets you know right away if errors are found.
If you have a ATA, SATA, or eSATA hard disk, here’s how you can find out if your hard disk is about to fail.
Installation and Setup
First, you’ll need to download SMARTReporter to your Mac. You can download the free “TRYOUT Version” from their website, or download it from the Mac App Store for $4.99. All of the included disk checks and features make SMARTReporter well worth the $5 price tag.
Once installed, open the application and you’ll be greeted by the SMARTReporter Welcome Assistant.
Since SMARTReporter has to be running in order to predict hard disk failures, it’s recommended that you keep it running at all times. In the Welcome Assistant, you’ll have the option to launch the app at login, and you can also choose to display the app in the menu bar (as opposed to the Dock).
When you’re done, click on “Finish Setup.”
Now that you’re done with the Welcome Assistant, the application window will appear. Here you can see the status of your hard disk, perform disk checks, manage SMARTReporter’s settings, and view your data history.
If there are any issues with your hard disk, you will see them listed on the Status tab. You’ll can also check to see the last time a specific disk check was performed.
The most important section is the Disk Checks tab. You’ll need to go through each section and customize them to suit your own needs and preferences. For instance, you can tell SMARTReporter how often to check your hard disk for errors. There are different options for each section, and you can also enable/disable notifications on an individual basis.
Note: S.M.A.R.T. checks will not be performed when on battery power, but you can changed this in Advanced Options (Disk Checks tab -> S.M.A.R.T. tab -> Advanced Options section).
In the Settings tab, you can change the menu bar appearance or Dock appearance, depending on which one you’re using. You can also choose to receive a daily status email and useful notifications.
Finally, in the History tab you can view a graph and log regarding your data and the activities that SMARTReporter has performed on your computer.
If you’re using the menu bar icon, you can check the status of your hard disk at any time by clicking on it. Checks will be done as often as you’ve set them to be (under the Disk Checks tab).
Even though no hard disk will last forever, we often have the “it will never happen to me” attitude about them. It’s time to change that attitude because you never know when it will happen to you. SMARTReporter is the perfect tool to help you keep your hard disk in check. Not only will it help to alleviate most surprise disk failures, but it will also get you better prepared for when it does actually happen.