HDD Health monitors S.M.A.R.T. data in many systems | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

HDD Health monitors S.M.A.R.T. data in many systems

Monitoring your hard disks might be a hit-or-miss affair with this freeware.

PanteraSoft's HDD Health is a compact piece of freeware based on a good idea: monitoring your hard drives' S.M.A.R.T. data to alert you when temperatures get too high, disk space gets too low, or signs point to impending disk failure. HDD Health then issues pop-up, audible, or e-mail alerts in any combination you choose. But while the latest build claims compatibility with Windows 7, we found that HDD Health wouldn't display S.M.A.R.T. data in 64-bit Windows 7 installations, something other users have had issues with as well.

HDD Health is designed to run in the background, typically when Windows starts, but its system-tray icon accesses its user interface and settings. The program showed two tray icons, one each for our C drive (an SDD) and D drive (a conventional disk drive). Each showed Temp data as not available and the drive's health at 98 percent, yet neither showed either drive in the program's drives menu, nor any S.M.A.R.T. data in any of the provided fields. The Partitions tab correctly identified our system's partitions and drive letters and the capacity and available space of each, and the System tab showed basic data about our PC, but even clicking SMART Attributes on the Drives menu failed to extract the data. We rebooted and verified that our drives and BIOS had S.M.A.R.T. capability enabled; they did. We had to open the Help file from the program's system folder; another indicator of incompatibility with 64-bit Windows systems. The Help file offers good instructions for using HDD Health but shed no light on our problems.

Our experiences mirror user reports that suggest HDD Health works best in 32-bit Windows systems with a single hard disk and no external or USB drives. We recommend downloading and trying HDD Health for yourself, in your own system. If it displays S.M.A.R.T. data for your C drive, all is well, and you can let HDD Health help you keep it that way. If your system has S.M.A.R.T. enabled yet HDD Health doesn't display your drive's data, we wouldn't trust it to monitor our drives accurately, whatever its status display indicates.

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