CrystalDiskInfo is a top-notch disk-watcher

Monitor the health and temperature of your system's disk drives with this fine, free tool.

CrystalDiskInfo is one of the tools we turn to when we want as much useful data as possible about our system's hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) as well as many external drives. This free system utility monitors the health and status of your drives and displays the information in a compact, easy-to-read interface. CrystalDiskInfo monitors and displays your drives' temperature and SMART data, and it can even alert you when things start to go wrong.

CrystalDiskInfo's user interface displays your drives' health status and temperature sensor data (where available) in a bar along the top of the window. Selecting any drive's icon displays its details in the main view. The program opened with our C drive, an SSD. CrystalDiskInfo displayed its name, model number, and capacity. Many SSDs lack temperature sensors; ours included, so the temperature read zero degrees. But CrystalDiskInfo displayed a lot of useful data, including Power On Count and Hours, Host Reads and Writes, Firmware version, and Standards. Under Features, it showed that our SSD was compatible with SMART, TRIM, and NCQ as well as 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA). CrystalDiskInfo displays detailed SMART data in the optional bottom view under a variety of headings. The second tab showed our HDD's data, including Rotation Rate. The program's settings include interface languages, fonts, and copy options. But the Function menu contains the most interesting stuff, such as a separate Graph that can display dozens of disk parameters, startup and temperature display options, workarounds, and the ability to open the Windows Device Manager and Disk Manager directly. Under Advanced Features, we found the AAM/APM Control console (with an Auto Adaptation option). We could also set up mail alerts, view the event log, and more. Under Health Status Settings, we could set Thresholds of Caution for our HDD's sector counts.

The program's system tray icon displays a selected disk's temperature and accesses a Collective Settings submenu that makes it easy to set common parameters such as Alarm Settings for temperature and Health Status. There's an excellent, fully indexed Help file, too. CrystalDiskInfo is a regular fixture in our PC toolbox.

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