Data loss due to problematic hard drives is very frustrating. In order to prevent it, you should regularly check the status of your drives by perusing the internal SMART values. Look for the entry “Error-free” in the Control Panel under “System and Security | Management | Computer management | Disk management”. This entry denotes that there is nothing wrong with your system. However, you can perform a more accurate test using the application CrystalDiskInfo. It automatically analyses all the accessible drives and represents them according to their status and current temperature.
Besides some information about the interface and the serial number, you will fi nd data about the drives' operating hours and startup operations. In case of SSD drives, the “Host write processes” field will be listed in terabytes and should be noted. The other area shows the SMART parameters read from the hardware. You can choose to view the results in decimal values by using the command “Options | Additional Options | Hex-value | 10 [DEC]”.
In the list, the column “Hex value” shows the raw data, while the “Current value” field shows the data normalized in relation to a “Limit value”. In case of drives, “Reallocated sectors” occasionally emerge. This may indicate user interface problems and even imminent breakdowns. Even if the drive itself evaluates the value as good (higher than limit value), you should carefully observe any developments. You can set the tool to run at start-up and even send you notifications via e-mail. A detailed evaluation of individual SMART values is diffi cult, but is not required in most cases. If you want to explore this topic further, a look at Wikipedia may prove to be useful: