Is there a way to know when a Mac’s hard disk drive is about to fail? Yes. And no. One of two outcomes are available to every disk drive you own. One, it will fail and you’ll lose all or most of your data.
And, two, you might have some advance notification with the right app on your Mac.
What’s The Price Tag On Notification?
Much of the time, when a Mac’s disk drive goes south, it does so without warning. There’s no notice, no alert, no early warning. The disk can just die and wipe out whatever is stored on it.
Also much of the time, there’s a limited warning. Your Mac begins acting all wonky and out of sorts. It’s slow to boot up. It’s slow to open apps or save files. Sometimes crazy things happen on the screen.
Those are warning signs of impending disaster awaiting whatever is stored on your Mac’s disk drive.
There’s a better way. Option number three is S.M.A.R.T. It’s the self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology built-in to most disk drives these days.
The right app can track S.M.A.R.T alerts and give you a warning that it’s found errors which may result in a failure. That’s what SMARTReporter does.
SMARTReporter is the cheap Mac app that sits in the background and periodically monitors your Mac’s hard disk drive. It checks your Mac’s log files for I/O errors. It can check RAID disks that become degraded. It even checks for how much space is left on your disk drive (which can also cause erratic behavior).
You control how frequently SMARTReporter checks your Mac’s disks. The app resides in your Mac’s Menubar so you’re merely a click away from details and status.
You have options to launch it at startup, give you multiple notifications (including email or text messages), and receive daily status emails for each disk.
There’s even built-in Growl notification support, and the latest version is ready for Mac OS X 10.8, which has notifications built-in.
Even the icon set and colors are selectable. All these options give you more ways to combat the potential for catastrophic data loss, and SMARTReporter costs only a few bucks.
With all this background checking going on, is your data safer? Probably. But S.M.A.R.T. doesn’t work 100-percent of the time, and neither does SMARTReporter. All it can do is check the S.M.A.R.T. status and tell you what’s going on. Sometimes disk drives just die without issuing any warning.
This isn’t a 100-percent fail safe, ultra-secure notification system of impending doom to your Mac’s hard disk drive. But it’s an affordable layer between no warning at all, and the potential of some warning which could save you time and grief.