Over the past 10 years, the two main problems I’ve had with Mac hardware are disk drives and motherboards. Three Mac motherboards croaked in Macs from 2001 to 2006 and none since. In that same time span, three Mac hard disk drives have died. In the case of the failed hard disk drives, each Mac had a utility to warn me of impending doom and didn’t.
Is SMARTReporter That Smart?
The app I’ve used to help monitor the SMART status on Macs in recent years is SMARTReporter. How it works (or, is supposed to work) is simple enough. Most modern Mac hard disk drives come with a built-in S.M.A.R.T status capability, a Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. SMARTReporter simply polls the technology in the hard disk drive looking for something that could cause a problem.
SMARTReporter resides as an app in your Mac’s Menubar. Setup and usage could not be much easier. It’s truly a set it and forget about it app.
It can be set up to poll all the hard disk drives connected to your Mac. You have control over which disk drive, and how often the polling takes place, in addition to what type of alert to receive should a failure (or warning) occur.
The Menubar appearance can be set to a variety of icons, including the all important Red for a drive that may be failing.
SMARTReporter also contains preference settings for emailing alerts, and log storage.
The only problem I see with SMARTReporter is that it has failed to register a warning before a hard disk drive dies. In two of the three failure occasions, it registered a failed hard disk drive. The third disk would not startup.
This type of reporting is not an exact science, which may account for why SMARTReporter is free. It’s not possible for it to catch all hard disk drive errors, and some drives can fail without issuing errors. When it works, it only works on ATA, SATA, or eSATA hard disk drives, not older SCSI or FireWire drives.
For now, I keep SMARTReporter running on all my Macs in the hopes that it will catch some hard disk drive problem before failure. Besides, it’s free.