At a Glance
- Lightweight; runs from command prompt
- Only available from a command prompt; info sometimes exceeds 80 characters
This command-line utility informs you of your hard drive’s health.
This is going to be a short review. Not because the free and
open source S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring Tools aren’t useful, but simply
because they’re, well, simple. Run from the command line, they tell
you everything you need to know about your hard drive’s health,
i.e., the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting
Technology) info and you can even instruct them to initiate your
drive’s S.M.A.R.T. self-test.
Commands are in the format smartctl -(command) -(drive). E.g.,
smartctl -h sda. Notice that the command uses the Unix/Linux
protocol for drives (sda, sdb, sdc, etc.) instead of drive letters.
That’s a hint at the tool’s heritage.
My only, and exceedingly minor, complaint about the S.M.A.R.T.
Monitoring Tools is that the information it presents is often wider
than the 80 characters that the Windows command line window
defaults to. To alleviate this problem, increase the width of the
command window by left-click on the “C:” icon at the top left of
the window, select Properties, select the Layout tab and increase
the width of the Window size to 120 or 160.
The S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring Tools are great, and for instances in
which you can access only a command prompt, invaluable. That said,
most users will be better off with Passmark’s also-free DiskCheckup,
which relays the same information via a graphical interface.
–Jon L. Jacobi