What is S.M.A.R.T.?
- In this article, we are going to talk about SSD Health check on Windows 10 – Tutorial. SSDs are gradually intruding into the HDD market and also replacing the role of regular hard disks in laptops and high-end desktops as well.
- Well, if you are using Intel SSD and searching for an SSD benchmarking tool to check SSD’s health, then Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox might be the best pick for you. It tells everything about the SSD like model number, drive health, estimated drive time, SMART attributes, etc. Apart from the benchmark, it also performs firmware updates.
S.M.A.R.T. –for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology— is a technology embedded in storage devices like hard disk drives or SSDs and whose goal is to monitor their health status.
The Drive health section displays the warning, the estimated remaining life, the available spare, and the device's temperature. You can check the values for each NVM SSD connected to the system using the management option.
In practice, S.M.A.R.T. will monitor several disk parameters during normal drive operations, like the number of reading errors, the drive startup times or even the environmental condition. Moreover, S.M.A.R.T. and can also perform on-demand tests on the drive.
Ideally, S.M.A.R.T. would allow anticipating predictable failures such as those caused by mechanical wearing or degradation of the disk surface, as well as unpredictable failures caused by an unexpected defect. Since drives usually don’t fail abruptly, S.M.A.R.T. gives an option for the operating system or the system administrator to identify soon-to-fail drives so they can be replaced before any data loss occurs.
What isn’t S.M.A.R.T.?
All that seems wonderful. However, S.M.A.R.T. is not a crystal ball. It cannot predict with 100% accuracy a failure nor, on the other hand, guarantee a drive will not fail without any early warning. At best, S.M.A.R.T. should be used to estimate the likeliness of a failure.
Given the statistical nature of failure prediction, the S.M.A.R.T. technology particularly interests company using a large number of storage units, and field studies have been conducted to estimate the accuracy of S.M.A.R.T. reported issues to anticipate disk replacement needs in data centers or server farms.
In 2016, Microsoft and The Pennsylvania State University conducted a study focussing on SSDs.
According to that study, it appears some S.M.A.R.T. attributes are good indicators of imminent failure. The paper specifically mentions:
Reallocated (Realloc) Sector Count:
While the underlying technology is radically different, that indicator seems as significant in the SSD world than it was in the hard drive world. Worth mentioning because of wear-leveling algorithms used in SSDs, when several blocks start failing, chances are many more will fail soon.Program/Erase (P/E) fail count:
This is a symptom of a problem with the underlying flash hardware where the drive was unable to clear or store data in a block. Because of imperfections in the manufacturing process, few such errors can be anticipated. However, flash memories have a limited number of clear/write cycles. So, once again, a sudden increase in the number of events might indicate the drive has reached its end of life limit, and we can anticipate many more memory cells to fail soon.CRC and Uncorrectable errors (“Data Error”):
These events can be caused either by storage error or issues with the drive’s internal communication link. This indicator takes into account both corrected errors (thus without any issue reported to the host system) as well as uncorrected errors (thus blocks the drive has reported being unable to read to the host system). In other words, correctable errors are invisible to the host operating system, but they nevertheless impact the drive performances since data has to be corrected by the drive firmware, and a possible sector relocation might occur.SATA downshift count:
Because of temporary disturbances, issues with the communication link between the drive and the host, or because of internal drive issues, the SATA interface can switch to a lower signaling rate. Downgrading the link below the nominal link rate has the obvious impact on the observed drive performances. Selecting a lower signaling rate is not uncommon, especially on older drives. So this indicator is most significant when correlated with the presence of one or several of the preceding ones.
According to the study, 62% of the failed SSD showed at least one of the above symptoms. However, if you reverse that statement, that also means 38% of the studied SSDs failed without showing any of the above symptoms. The study did not mention though if the failed drives have exhibited any other S.M.A.R.T. reported failure or not. So this cannot be directly compared to the 36% failure-without-prior-notice mentioned for hard drives in the Google paper.
The Microsoft/Pennsylvania State University paper does not disclose the exact drive models studied, but according to the authors, most of the drives are coming from the same vendor spanning several generations.
The study noticed significant differences in reliability between the different models. For example, the “worst” model studied exhibits a 20% failure rate nine months after the first relocation error and up to 36% failure rate nine months after the first occurrence of data errors. The “worst” model also happens to be the older drive generation studied in the paper.
On the other hand, for the same symptoms, the drives belonging to the youngest generation of devices shows only 3% and 20% respectively failure rate for the same errors. It is hard to tell if those figures can be explained by improvements in the drive design and manufacturing process, or if this is simply an effect of drive aging.
Most interestingly, and I gave some possible reasons earlier, the paper mentions that, rather than the raw value, this is a sudden increase in the number of reported errors that should be considered as an alarming indicator:
“”” There is a higher likelihood of the symptoms preceding SSD failures, with an intense manifestation and rapid progression preventing their survivability beyond a few months “””
In other words, one occasional S.M.A.R.T. reported error is probably not to be considered as a signal of imminent failure. However, when a healthy SSD starts reporting more and more errors, a short- to mid-term failure has to be anticipated.
But how to know if your hard drive or SSD is healthy? Either to satisfy your curiosity or because you want to start monitoring your drives closely, it is time now to introduce the
smartctl monitoring tool:
Using smartctl to Monitor Status of your SSD in Linux
There are ways to list disks in Linux but to monitor the S.M.A.R.T. status of your disk, I suggest the
smartctl tool, part of the
smartmontool package (at least on Debian/Ubuntu).
smartctl is a command line tool, but this is perfect, especially if you want to automate data collection, on your servers especially.
The first step when using
smartctl is to check if your disk has S.M.A.R.T. enabled and is supported by the tool:
As you can see, my laptop internal hard drive indeed has S.M.A.R.T. capabilities, and S.M.A.R.T. support is enabled. So, what now about the S.MA.R.T. status? Are there some errors recorded?
Reporting “all SMART information about the disk” is the job of the
Understanding the output of smartctl command
That is a lot of information and it is not always easy to interpret those data. The most interesting part is probably the one labeled as “Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds”. It reports various statistics gathered by the S.M.A.R.T. device and let you compare those value (current or all-time worst) with some vendor-defined threshold.
For example, here is how my disk reports relocated sectors:
You can see this a “pre-fail” attribute. That just means that attribute is corresponding to anomalies. So, if that attribute exceeds the threshold, that could be an indicator of imminent failure. The other category is “Old_age” for attributes corresponding to “normal wearing” attributes.
The last field (here “3”) is corresponding the raw value for that attribute as reported by the drive. Usually, this number has a physical significance. Here, this is the actual number of relocated sectors. However, for other attributes, it could be a temperature in degrees Celcius, a time in hours or minutes, or the number of times the drive has encountered a specific condition.
In addition to the raw value, a S.M.A.R.T. enabled drive must report “normalized” values (fields value, worst and threshold). These values are normalized in the range 1-254 (0-255 for the threshold). The disk firmware performs that normalization using some internal algorithm. Moreover, different manufacturers may normalize the same attribute differently. Most values are reported as a percentage, the higher being the best, but this is not mandatory. When a parameter is lower or equal to the manufacturer supplied threshold, the disk is said to have failed for that attribute. With all the reserves mentioned in the first part of that article, when a “pre-fail” attribute has failed, presumably a disk failure is imminent.
As a second example, let’s examine the “seek error rate”:
Actually, and this is a problem with S.M.A.R.T. reporting, the exact meaning of each value is vendor-specific. In my case, Seagate is using a logarithmic scale to normalize the value. So “71” means roughly one error for 10 million seeks (10 to the 7.1st power). Amusingly enough, the all-time worst was one error for 1 million seeks (10 to the 6.0th power). If I interpret that correctly, that means my disk heads are more accurately positioned now than they were in the past. I did not follow that disk closely, so this analysis is subject to caution. Maybe the drive just needed some running-in period when it was initially commissioned? Unless this is a consequence of mechanical parts wearing, and thus opposing less friction today? In any case, and whatever the reason is, this value is more a performance indicator than a failure early warning. So that does not bother me a lot.
Besides that, and three suspects errors recorded about six months ago, that drive appears in surprisingly good conditions (according to S.M.A.R.T.) for a stock laptop drive that was powered on for more than 1100 days (26423 hours):
Out of curiosity, I ran the same test on a much more recent laptop equipped with an SSD:
The first thing to notice, even if that device is S.M.AR.T. enabled, it is not in the
smartctl database. That won’t prevent the tool to gather data from the SSD, but it will not be able to report the exact meaning of the different vendor-specific attributes:
This is typically the output you can expect for a brand new SSD. Even if, because of the lack of normalization or metainformation for vendor-specific data, many attributes are reported as “Unknown_SSD_Attribute.” I may only hope future versions of
smartctl will incorporate data relative to that particular drive model in the tool database, so I could more accurately identify possible issues.
Test your SSD in Linux with smartctl
Until now we have examined the data collected by the drive during its normal operations. However, the S.M.A.R.T. protocol also supports several “self-tests” commands to launch diagnosis on demand.
Unless explicitly requested, the self-tests can run during normal disk operations. Since both the test and the host I/O requests will compete for the drive, the disk performances will degrade during the test. The S.M.A.R.T. specification specifies several kinds of self-test. The most important are:
Short self-test (
This test will check for the electrical and mechanical performances as well as the read performances of the drive. The short self-test typically only requires few minutes to complete (2 to 10 usually).Extended self-test (
This test takes one or two orders of magnitude longer to complete. Usually, this is a more in-depth version of the short self-test. In addition, that test will scan the entire disk surface for data errors with no time limit. The test duration will be proportional to the disk size.Conveyance self-test (
this test suite is designed as a relatively quick way to check for possible damage incurred during transporting of the device.
Here are examples taken from the same disks as above. I let you guess which is which:
The test has now being stated. Let’s wait until completion to show the outcome:
Let’s do now the same test on my other disk:
Once again, sleep for two minutes and display the test outcome:
Interestingly, in that case, it appears both the drive and the computer manufacturers seems to have performed some quick tests on the disk (at lifetime 0h and 12h). I was definitely much less concerned with monitoring the drive health myself. So, since I am running some self-tests for that article, let’s start an extended test to so how it goes:
Apparently, this time we will have to wait much longer than for the short test. So let’s do it:
In that latter case, pay special attention to the different outcomes obtained with the short and extended tests, even if they were performed one right after the other. Well, maybe that disk is not that healthy after all! An important thing to notice is the test will stop after the first read error. So if you want an exhaustive diagnosis of all read errors, you will have to continue the test after each error. I encourage you to take a look at the very well written smartctl(8) manual page for the more information about the options
-t select,N-max and
-t select,cont for that:
Ssd Health Check 1.5 Hp
Definitely, S.M.A.R.T. reporting is a technology you can add to your tool chest to monitor your servers disk health. In that case, you should also take a look at the S.M.A.R.T. Disk Monitoring Daemon smartd(8) that could help you automate monitoring through syslog reporting.
Given the statistical nature of failure prediction, I am a little bit less convinced however than aggressive S.M.A.R.T. monitoring is of great benefit on a personal computer. Finally, don’t forget whatever is its technology, a drive will fail— and we have seen earlier, in one-third of the case, it will fail without prior notices. So nothing will replace RAIDand offline backups to ensure your data integrity!
This article was written by Sylvain Leroux
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Are you utilizing SSD now? Do you know your SSD performance? In fact, you can conduct a test via professional SSD testing software. This post will show you top 8 SSD health check tools. You can obtain detailed information about these tools in MiniTool.
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As it known to all, SSD is taking the place of HDD with its high performance. Therefore, most people utilize SSD as their operating system drive. In fact, as for SSD VS HDD, SSD has more advantages. Though SSDs are fast and more preferable, they are quite fragile.
Based on that fact, you should run SSD health check tool or optimization programs occasionally. By doing so, you can maximize your SSD’s performance and lifespan.
What Does an SSD Health Check Tool Do
Nowadays, there are many SSD testing programs on the market, and they boast different features for managing SSD. To be specific, what does an SSD health check tool do? Well, for most SSD health check tools, they can be used to test the SSD transfer speed, measure SSD performance, optimize SSD, etc. Some of them even allow you to erase SSD securely.
Given to that fact, you’d better read the software’s description carefully to check if it contains the feature you need.
The following will give you more information about what an SSD health check tool performs.
Check SSD Health
The first thing that an SSD health check tool does is to tell you how healthy your SSD is. Some SSD health check tools will show you the current state of your SSD and give you a health status, such as Crystal Disk Info.
While others such as MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition can detect how many bad sectors on your SSD, which can indicates your SSD condition. In a word, you can check whether your SSD is in good health easily with these tools.
Optimize SSD Performance
Some SSD tools enable you to carry out garbage collection and other parameters, which can improve the performance of the drive.
Most SSD health check tools allow you to optimize or tune your SSD for different demands such as Intel SSD Toolbox, Samsung Magician, etc. However, you may notice that some utilizes may improve the drive’s performance at the cost of losing some storage capacity.
Here is a step by step guide to measure disk performance for you.
Test SSD Speed
One of the basic features of SSD health check tools is SSD/Disk benchmark, which can measure your SSD performance by testing the SSD transfer speed. You will know whether the write/read data given by manufacturer is accurate after testing the speed of your SSD.
Besides, you will have a rough understanding of your SSD performance.
Secure Erase SSD
If an SSD includes sensitive information and needs to be wiped, erasing the data on the drive is a wise operation. The problem lies in that many SSD tools delete data by overwriting a drive for many times, causing accessing storage areas failure. For example, blocks can be marked as bad, or overprovisioning and wear leveling blocks.
While some SSD secure erase tools offer access to a hardware-based secure erase routine. During this process, SSD’s controller ensures that all the storage including the areas that cannot be normally and directly accessed can be cleaned entirely.
There are many SSD health check tools available in the market. Which one should you pick? 8 best SSD testers are introduced in this post. You can take them as your reference.
8 Best SSD Health Check Tools
- MiniTool Partition Wizard
- Intel SSD Toolbox
- Samsung Magician
- Crystal Disk Info
- Hard Disk Sentinel
- Toshiba SSD Utility
- SSD Life
Ssd Health Check 1.5 Oz
Top 8 SSD Health Check Tools
MiniTool Partition Wizard
MiniTool Partition Wizard is a powerful partition manager & SSD health check tool, which can help you format drive, recover missing data, analyze disk usage, migrate OS to SSD/HD, etc. The Disk Benchmark feature enables you to measure disk performance by using variable transfer sizes and test lengths for both sequential and random read/write speeds.
In addition, you can finish the whole operation in a few clicks. With this wonderful SSD benchmark tool, you can test any manufacturer’ RAID controllers, storage controllers, hard drives and SSD drives. However, if the transfer size has a large span, the whole testing process may take you some time.
You can download MiniTool Partition Wizard by clicking the button below.
After downloading and installing MiniTool Partition Wizard, please follow the steps below to perform the disk benchmark operation.
Step 1: Click Launch Application to enter its main interface.
Step 2: Click on Disk Benchmark on the top of the main page.
Step 3: In the pop-up window, you can set HD/SSD disk testing parameters including testing drive, transfer size, queue number, cool down time, thread number, total length, and test mode according to your demand. After that, click on Start to execute the operation.
Step 4: Wait for the completion of operation. Different test settings can take you different time. After the operation finishes, you will get an intuitive table just as the below picture shown.
Just as you see, MiniTool Partition Wizard enables you to perform SSD benchmark with ease. Besides, you can view the results in a direct way. So, please don’t hesitate to download it.
Intel SSD Toolbox
Intel SSD Toolbox is a piece of drive management software that enables you to supervise your drive health, estimate the remaining drive life, as well as S.M.A.R.T. attributes. It can run fast and full diagnostic scans to examine the read and write functionality of an Intel SSD.
-image from downloadcenter.intel.com
Besides, it allows you to update firmware on a supported Intel SSD and improve the performance of an Intel SSD by making using of Trim feature. Then, you are able to obtain the best Intel SSD performance, power efficiency and endurance by checking and adjusting system settings.
With Intel SSD Toolbox, you can perform a secure erase of your secondary Intel SSD. That’s all the features of Intel SSD Toolbox.
Compared with Intel SSD Toolbox, Samsung Magician is more complicated. That is because it looks more like a management suite than a simple application. Samsung Magician allows you to create profiles, adjust performance ratings, and set the maximum capacity and reliability.
-image from samsung.com
If you want to avoid any incompatibilities with operating system, you can either to update firmware or download the Magician. Actually, optimization and diagnostics are its basic features. What Samsung Magician offers through its RAID mode is the highlighted point.
The RAID mode can use 1GB of your system’s DRAM as cache for hot data or frequently-accessed data. In this way, the overall performance, especially the read speed will be improved.
More importantly, if you are not satisfied with the diagnostics results and your benchmarks, you can keep optimizing your Samsung SSD for your present OS through the OS optimization feature in Samsung Magician.
Crystal Disk Info
Crystal Disk Info is a piece of open software that can offer you the health and temperature information of your SSD or HDD. It is one of the free tools that have the capability to collect accurate data for both types of storage drives and work with drives from all manufacturers.
-image from crystalmark.info
At the same time, general information is also provided for you. Crystal Disk Info allows you to check firmware updates, port details, buffer size, read and write speeds, power consumption and S.M.A.R.T. information. You can test SSD speed through it with ease.
What’s more, you can also use it to do some slight adjustments of power management and notifications. The only disadvantages of Crystal Disk Info are that it won’t work on Linux-based systems and cannot execute firmware updates.
The Smartmonotools includes two utility programs (smartctl and smartd), which can help you control and monitor your hard drive. It offers you real time monitoring of your hard disk. What’s more, it will analyze and inform you about possible disk degradation and failure.
Smartmonotools supports ATA/ATAPI/SATA-3 to -8 disks and SCSI disks and type devices. You can run this disk tool on Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, OS/2, Cygwin, QNX, eComStation, Windows and a Live CD.
Hard Disk Sentinel
Hard Disk Sentinel is a hard disk monitoring tool that supports Windows, Linux and Dos operating system. It is designed to find, diagnose and repair SSD issues. Disk Sentinel is also able to show you SSD health condition. It can scan either an internal or external SSD connected with USB or e-SATA and find potential issues. After that, it will generate reports with the possible fixes to repair the errors.
-image from hdsentinel.com
After you install Hard Disk Sentinel, it will run in the background and check the SSD health condition automatically. If it finds any error, it will inform you immediately. With this SSD monitoring tool, you can test the hard disk’s transfer speed in real time.
By doing so, you will know your disk benchmark, potential hard disk failures, as well as performance degradations.
Toshiba SSD Utility
If you are using OCZ SSD now, Toshiba SSD Utility is possibly the best software that you can utilize regardless of your operating system. You can monitor your SSD in real time and obtain SSD information including SSD health, remaining life, storage space and overall performance very quickly via using Toshiba SSD Utility.
-image from toshiba.com
Additionally, it can also be used as a drive manager and optimization tool. You are able to switch between multiple modes based on your SSD or your rig’s intended use such as gaming, workstation, video editing and so on. By using these preset modes, you can improve the drive’s performance and increase its lifespan in various cases.
SSD Life mainly focuses on SSD health and remaining life instead of other metrics. It has great compatibility with major SSD manufacturers like Apple MacBook Air’s own SSD. It allows you to run diagnostics for SSD health, lifespan and overall performance. SSD Life will tell you accurate results and any important flaws that can influence the remaining lifespan or read/write speeds.
-image from toshiba.com
Ssd Health Check 1.5 Month
However, the free trial version only lasts seven days and has limitations on some features. After the trial expiration date reaches, you need to pay for it for later-on using.
Now, all the contents about SSD health check tools have been told to you. It’s your turn to make a choice. You can pick one according to your demand. If you pick MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can check SSD health by following the given steps in the post. While for other SSD health check
tools, you should follow the on-screen steps to finish the operation.
If you have any doubt or advice to MiniTool software, please contact us by writing an email directly via [email protected].
SSD Health Check FAQ
There are 5 signs indicate that your SSD is failing.
Ssd Health Check 1.5 Inch
- There are errors involving bad blocks.
- Files cannot be read or written.
- The file system needs to be repaired.
- Your computer frequently crashes.
- Your drive becomes read-only.
If these signs appear, it indicates that your SSD is failing and you need to take some measure.