A computer’s performance can be affected severely by a hard disk with declining health. That being the case, it is a little odd to think of a hard disk in terms of health, more so when it is “declining.” Typically in the grand scheme of modern transistor-based electronics, devices just simply dieand do not give us much warning about how and when the untimely death will occur.
Wouldn’t be great if you had a virtual doctor that could report on your hard disk’s health? Enter the free CrystalDiskInfo.
At least on the computer front, modern day hard drives have a bit of a warning system built-in which can be utilized to check the overall health of said disk.
This mechanism is called “S.M.A.R.T.” status. “SMART” is short for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology. SMART can tell you whether your disk is experiencing unusually high temperatures, sector read errors, vibration errors, and much much more.
Having this info is all well and good, but getting to this information is not quite so apparent. Many of us will never see anything related to SMART status other than that menacing “Imminent Hard Disk Failure” at system boot; and, if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to log into the computer and move our data (you should be backing it up anyway!) to a new disk.
This is where a handy-dandy bit of software can help you out.
CrystalDiskInfo is a great tool to get a read on what your hard disk is doing and how good it is “feeling.”
Some nice features of CDI:
- Email alerting when a threshold is reached (it works nicely with Gmail)
- Graphing over time for the various SMART statistics
- Run as resident mode in your System Tray with temperature status
- Capability of writing SMART events to your event log
- Localization for a LOT of languages
As mentioned above, CDI does have the capability of writing SMART events to your Windows Event Log. This means if you have other monitoring utilities that you use, you can tweak them to watch the Event log for detailed SMART events.
On a personal note, I’ve seen MANY computers that have slow performance and the user thought that their computer was dying, when instead, the hard disk was going bad. A quick swap with a new disk brings these machines back to life every time.
Get CrystalDiskInfo for Windows here.