Hard disk failures are imminent and it’s only a matter of time when the they start deteriorating and one bad day it’s dead forever. Oops, did you take a backup? While the failure rate can be reduced by choosing a good make and model, a traditional typical disk version do have a life span of 5 to 8 years. So, it’s a good idea to keep a track on its health status regularly so that you know when its death is nearing, and you can be prepared to swap the hard disk with replacement.
Typically, almost all hard disk manufacturers bundle a hard disk monitoring tool along with the hard disk. Unfortunately, the utility only runs in Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. Moreover, popular third-party apps like Hard Disk Doctor, HDD Life too work on Windows platform and Mac OS X platforms. Linux users can use GSmartControl application. It is 100% free software and directly available from the Linux Mint’s Software Center as well as Ubuntu software center.
STEP 1: Click ‘Applications’ and launch ‘Software Manager’.
STEP 2: Look for ‘GSmartControl’ and install it.
STEP 3: Plug-in you external hard disk which you want to check. If you are checking the computer’s internal hard disk, then you can open the GSmartControl app directly.
STEP 4: Enter root password when prompted.
STEP 5: You should see all the hard disks connected to your computer including the internal hard disk drive.
STEP 6: Right-click on the hard disk icon which you want to check and select. In my case I want to check a 2TB WD Passport external hard disk drive.
STEP 7: In the ‘Perform Tests’ tab, you can choose ‘Test type’. You can start with ‘Short Self-test’ and then proceed with longer ones if you want. Short test is good enough to show out problems in a seriously failing hard disk.
STEP 8: Click ‘Execute’. After the process is done, it will show summary of ‘Test result’. In my case it showed ‘Completed without error’.
You can click on ‘View Output’ to see full report.
Scroll down in the report to find S.M.A.R.T attributes. This is the data that says about your hard disk status. The ‘Raw_Read_Error_Rate’, ‘Reallocated_Sector_Count’, ‘Seek_Error_Rate’ are some important attributes to look for. Check the current value against the Threshold and the Worst value. If any of the attributes are coming close to the Worst values, it implies hard disk life is deteriorating.