Whether we recognize it or not, every machine or piece of technology has a way of showing its state. However, the manufacturer wants to ensure that the warnings are given before the condition of the machines is too bad. If the condition is too bad when there is a warning, it could lead to loss of life and irreparable damage. CLEVER or Self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology is the way a Hard disk measures its reliability to see if it is faulty.

Let’s take a look at SMART and find out what it is.

1]What is self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology?

SMART or Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting technology is used by hard drives to measure reliability and see if they are failing. SMART capability is built into every hard drive and tests every aspect of its performance to ensure it performs to required standards. SMART will check aspects ranging from read/write speed, error rates to internal temperature. Note that not all hard drive failures will be predicted, so it’s best to back up regularly.

SMART measures the current state of the hard drive against the baseline established by the manufacturer. If any of the marks are missed, the hard drive will record it and it will be compared and added up, the frequency of these errors can be reported as an imminent failure.

Think of the rule/law of an automatic car, when you move the lever to ‘D’ you expect the car to move forward, this must be done every time. Whenever this rule is broken, it is a sign of impending failure. The driver usually takes note of this and will report it to the mechanic. Looking back, the driver can remember that the car was not driving or shifting properly from when it was new. SMART will seek to pick up anything that does not match the builder’s baseline and will be considered a failure.

There are two types of failures that HDD and SSD may encounter, they are predictable failures and unpredictable failures. Predictable failures are failures that appear over time with use. These failures include platter damage, read/write failure, motor failure in the case of hard drives. In SSDs, these failures can be due to wear over time or the high number of failed erase attempts. The problem gets worse over time and the drive fails.

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Unpredictable failures are those that occur suddenly. They can include a sudden power surge or unexpected circuit damage. It’s important to know that SMART can only detect predictable failures, so it’s best to back up data regularly.

2]Types of SMARTs

Hard drives can perform different types of SMART tests for different purposes.

  • Short summer time
  • Long/extended DST
  • Transport DST
  • Selective summer time

Short summer time

Each time the computer boots, a self-test of the short disk is performed. The Short Disk Self-Test is an aspect of SMART that runs at startup and performs a short test of major hard drive components. Manufacturers build the diagnostic tool to run on every boot and it quickly checks the hard drive for errors.

Whenever your hard drive performs a short drive self-test, it quickly checks its various components. The short DST focuses only on the major components, such as the read/write head, ROM, control board, platter, and motor. The self-test ensures that these main components are working properly and will return a warning message if any of them are not working. This check only takes a few minutes, during which you can still use the hard drive.

The short DST is executed automatically by a utility installed on the hard disk by the manufacturer. It runs right after running the power-on self-test during the boot process. If the short DST is successful, the computer will boot into the operating system.

Long/extended DST

In a long/extended disk self-test, major components will be tested with the data on the platter. If the Long DST discovers damaged or corrupted areas on the disk, it will try to reallocate and remap the damaged parts. This would ensure that the hard drive will no longer work in those bad areas. During the long DST, the hard drive cannot be used until the test is complete.

Transport DST

This is a test to check for damage that may have occurred during shipment from the hard drive manufacturer to the computer manufacturer. It is only available on ATA drives and usually takes several minutes.

Selective summer time

Some discs only test part of the disc surface.

3]Check hard drive status in Windows 10


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SMART status can be run manually in Windows 10, it will return little information but it’s better than not knowing at all.

Open a command prompt, type or copy and paste the following, then press Enter:

wmic diskdrive get model,status

This will give the model and status of all installed hard drives. It may be surprising to discover that there may be hard drives installed that you are unaware of. In this check, you can see that a small SSD drive is installed. This SSD disk is used to boost the RAM of the computer.

For more detailed SMART information, some hard drive manufacturers offer their own SMART utilities. There are also third-party software available that can work on Windows 10.

SMART is technology inside your hard drive and SSD. It checks the health of your disk against the standard set by the manufacturer and returns an error message if the standards are not met. SMART is independent of the operating system, BIOS or any other software. A SMART scan is also known as a Disk Self Test or DST.

There may be a short summer time. Long DST, transport DST and selective DST. Even if your hard drive is performing the self-test to show if it is about to die, it is best to always back up data because hard drives can die without warning.

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