When S.M.A.R.T. is not so smart!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Maveric169, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Maveric169

    Maveric169 The Voices Talk to Me

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    Well some of you may recall posts that I have made reguarding S.M.A.R.T. enabled HDD's. Most of them nowdays are. S.M.A.R.T. BTW stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology, this built-in technology in your harddrives is supposed to warn you before your harddrive fails or begins exibiting signs of wear that will lead to failure based on about 10 different statisics including data error rate, read errors, power cycles and uptime, spinup time, etc.

    Sounds great right? This great technology will warn you BEFORE your harddive fails so you have ample time to replace it. Right? WRONG!!!!

    As I have warned others countless times on this board, DO NOT TRUST "S.M.A.R.T." as it is anything but!

    Just today my 80GB Western Digital primary harddrive failed. I looks like one of the read armature drive arm motors failed. So the first thing I do is I do the dumb-dumb check. Check all connections, strip the system down to bare minimum and try again. No dice. Still get this LOUD clicking sound comming from the harddrive. So I gently tap the drive, and then it works for a bit then LOUD clicks again and nothing.

    Next step, force a checkdisk repair operation on next boot. Some sucess, checkdisk finds tons of problems, relocates the affected files, replaces some with internal backups and were are working again, in a VERY fragile mode. After a few tries I get the system to normal boot and I quickly find and download "Active Smart", a active trial software that will check and monitor the data provided by the harddrive.

    The Result, the drive is failing FAST! But what does S.M.A.R.T. it's self say?... A OK, no problem!!! This is obviously NOT the case, as I am fighting for every second of drive operation.
    Now I have a fairly current backup, about a 2 weeks old, yet older than I would like with a rapidly failing drive on my hands. So I make a quick run to Sams Club and pick up a 160GB WesternDigital Caviar harddrive (It was $80 same price BestBuy wanted for an 80GB), get it home, prepped, and installed.

    I fire up Acronis Drive Image and copy the the entire drive to the new 160GB Harddrive. Copy completes, reboot, verify everything is good, and the just as that is done, the 80GB drive FLATLINES!!! It tried to spinup, but no joy, it is forever dead!

    Here is the great part, S.M.A.R.T. still said the drive was OK, on reboot with the drive flatlined!!! No warning messages, no alerts from S.M.A.R.T., but I got one from XP saying the drive is not responding.

    The bottom line of this recent event is DO NOT TRUST, the not so smart, S.M.A.R.T.!

    Backups! Learn it, Live it, Use it!
     
  2. NetRyder

    NetRyder Tech Junkie Folding Team

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    Wow, good thing you got that backup done just in time. Nice move. [​IMG]
     
  3. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

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    S.M.A.R.T warned me before my 40 GB drive died. It let me know it was unable to write to certain parts of the drive, so i coppied what i could off the drive, and after a while of still using it it died.

    S.M.A.R.T in my case did its job. But then again, i run the S.M.A.R.T tests on all my drives for a rigorous check using the smartmontools that are for Linux/BSD and are located in the ports tree.
     
  4. American Zombie

    American Zombie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    What S.M.A.R.T. monitoring software were you using?

    Having S.M.A.R.T. enabled in bios means nothing if you do not have good monitoring software installed in your system.

    Even then the S.M.A.R.T. system can only find about 70% of what can go wrong with a drive.

    Since I do not have monitoring software installed in Windows I just disable S.M.A.R.T. in the bios and enjoy a bit better performance.
     
  5. egghead

    egghead Double O Egghead

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    smart is disabled in my bios by default

    it has alerted me to hard drives that are crappy so it does help but it's good to point out that hard drives can fail in an instant and all data is gone unless you seek expensive professional help.

    not sure why smart failed to diagnose any read or write errors to you.
     
  6. Maveric169

    Maveric169 The Voices Talk to Me

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    Well don't get me wrong I wasn't trying to say that S.M.A.R.T. never works, I was simply using my experience yesterday to show that even though S.M.A.R.T. is built in and can be enabled, you can't just blindly trust that it will warn you before harddrive failure like they advertise.

    With my new 160GB HDD there is a feature card and one paragraph says

    "Your new Hard drive is equiped with the lastest in Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology known as S.M.A.R.T. You can rest assured that this technology will warn you in the event that your hard drive fails or has problems. Giving you the needed time to create backups of your data to transfer to a new Western Digital hard drive."

    That statement there is very disconcerting and I plan on writing an email to WD as they don't even have instructions on enabling S.M.A.R.T. in the bios.

    I am going to start a poll thread, and maybe an admin can merge it with this thread reguarding s.m.a.r.t. drives and peoples results.
     
  7. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    Don't confuse marketing blurbs with technical specifications.

    BTW Was SMART turned onin your Bios Maveric? I did not see where you said that it was.
     
  8. Maveric169

    Maveric169 The Voices Talk to Me

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    yes, it was turned on.