Smart Tools and Hard Drive Recovery

Hard drives don’t last forever, and the last thing you want is for your drive to fail and your data potentially lost forever. So how can you keep tabs on your hard drive’s health to avoid potentially expensive data recovery?

Whether you’re a home user or a business, at some point you might be presented with a hard drive that has stopped working for no apparent reason, or data that has mysteriously disappeared. Unlike the typical symptoms of hard drive failure like a clicking or ticking noise, very often it isn’t clear if the hard drive is broken or not. The average lifespan of a hard drive is around five years, so to avoid needing data recovery, it’s best to keep on eye on the health of your hard drive. SMART technology – which stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) – is supported by most modern hard disk drives, and allows you to check the physical condition of the media. SMART tools are able to identify critical indications that suggest an imminent failure, to give you chance to back up any files you need before it fails.

So how can you use SMART tools to determine if your hard drive is failing or about to fail? Firstly, all the major hard drive manufacturers – Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi and Fujitsu – all provide their own diagnostic tools, embedded within the device. There are also a number of free pieces of software out there that allow you to check the health of your hard drive and avoid the need for data recovery. CrystalDiskInfo is a great, free, open-source program that lets you check the health of your hard drive, and can be installed portably if you wish. Once the program is installed and running, it’s really easy to use. The main window shows the health of your hard drive, and if everything is in working order, you should see ‘Good’ displayed under the status column. If you see ‘Bad’, it indicates that your hard disk drive is either dead or very near to death, and ‘Caution’ indicates you need to back up and replace the hard drive as soon as possible. You can also set up CrystalDiskInfo to run as a command prompt for ease of access, by entering the following command: wmic diskdrive get status. You will then be given the status of your hard disk drive. 

Data Recovery