From CSLabsWiki

S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology; sometimes written as SMART) is a monitoring system for computer hard disk drives to detect and report on various indicators of reliability, in the hope of anticipating failures.

When a failure is anticipated by S.M.A.R.T., the user may choose to replace the drive to avoid unexpected outage and data loss. The manufacturer may be able to use the S.M.A.R.T. data to discover where faults lie and prevent them from recurring in future drive designs.

-Source: Wikipedia


SMART is used mainly for testing the status of the hard-drive. For most systems, if a hard-drive is failing the BIOS boot screen would inform you that your drive is about to fail. SMART can also be used to confirm that your hard drives are in fact good drives to use in your system.

Users of S.M.A.R.T. in COSI to date

September 08, 2011 - Started running SMART on IBM RAID Storage SCSI HDDs in order to confirm the failed status of the 4 failed ones in the two arrays and to confirm that the rest of the drives are good for the creation of new arrays.

How to run a SMART test on HDDs in Linux

Assuming that your HDDs have S.M.A.R.T. and that it is enabled, once booted into any modern operating system you should be able to run several tests as well as see the drive's status using a free Linux utility called "smartmontools"

  1. To run any test first install smartmontools.
  2. Once smartmontools are installed you should run
    sudo smartctl -H /dev/sd*
    1. where * is a wildcard for your HDD -a being the first one, b the second, etc.
    2. this will give you the basic SMART status of the Hard Drive, i.e. OK, Failed, Failing.
  3. Run tests!
    1. If all you need to do is run a simple maintenance test or routine checkup then use
      sudo smartctl -t short /dev/sd*
      to run a basic test to check the HDDs state.
    2. If you need to test an HDDs health due to fear of failure or to check stability for an important system you will want to run
      sudo smartctl -t long /dev/sd*
      for a full scan of the drive. Note that this test will take a very long time.
  4. To display the results of the test just run
    sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda
  • Multiple tests can be run on multiple drives at the same time, if your machine has the power to do so.

Helpful scripts

These are scripts you can modify and run to pull out helpful information from the tests. Just download and execute.

Scripts coming soon!

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