Risking the loss of digital data in the current technological age can cost you or your business, which is why people tend to have backups of their data. Another way to save your data on a computer is to keep an eye on your hard drive.
As with every electronic device, hard drives tend to fail due to their age or wear and tear, losing your data forever.
It would be to your advantage to know how long your hard drive(s) will last, so you can migrate your data to another drive, replace them in time, and save your data. This is why modern hard drives have a feature named S.M.A.R.T, or SMART, which is an acronym for “Self-Monitoring-Analysis and Reporting Technology.”
This feature lets you know the health status of your hard drive on your computer. This data can then be interpreted natively on your Windows 11 computer or using other applications.
Today, we are going to show you several ways to monitor your hard drive’s health so that you are aware of its current conditions, and prepared to replace it when necessary.
Table of contents
- What is SMART in Hard Drives
- How to Check Hard Drive Health in Windows 11
- How to Check Hard Drive Health in Windows 11/10
- Closing Words
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is SMART in Hard Drives
SMART is a feature found in most modern hard drives and SSDs. It is a reporting technology between your hard drive and the system BIOS that informs of its health and other information, such as current operational temperature, etc. It also maintains a log of other information, such as the maximum temperature achieved.
The status of the hard drive is monitored by many sensors. The values are then processed through different algorithms to give you certain values and data. A regular SMART attribute consists of the following items:
- Identifier: This defines the meaning of the attribute.
- Data: This contains the measured data in its raw form.
- Threshold: This value defines the failure limit.
- Value: This stored the current health value of the hard drive.
- Worst: This stores the worst value achieved in the lifetime of the hard drive.
- Status flags: This indicates the main purpose of the attribute. For example, it could be critical, or normal.
As we mentioned, most modern hard drives have the SMART feature. However, moving forward, if you notice that you are not seeing the results of your hard drive health as directed in the methods below, it is likely that your hardware does not support it.
Now that we have an understanding of how SMART works, let us look into how to check its status.
How to Check Hard Drive Health in Windows 11
Unlike Windows 10, Windows 11 can tell you your hard drive’s health natively, without the use of any external, or third-party tools. It has a health monitoring system where it indicates the current health remaining in percentages and also prompts you if it detects anything wrong with a connected hard drive.
The feature is available for Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSDs and is a component of the “Disks & volumes” Settings page.
Follow these steps to determine your hard drive’s health on a Windows 11 computer:
Start by navigating to the following:
System >> Storage >> Advanced storage settings >> Disks and volumes
Here, click on the hard drive you want to know the health of, and then click Properties.
On the Properties page, you shall find the “estimated remaining life” and “temperature” of the hard drive under the Drive Health section.
Note that if you do not find the information on the page above, your hard drive probably does not support the SMART feature.
Let us now continue to look at other methods to check your hard drive’s health. These methods would work on both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
How to Check Hard Drive Health in Windows 11/10
Check Hard Drive Health from Command Prompt
You can use the Windows Management Instrumentation Command (WMIC) command-line tool to check the status of your hard drive(s) through Command Prompt. However, the information obtained through this method is not very descriptive, as it does not tell the percentage of the hard drive’s estimated time remaining, but only if it is “ok” to function.
Here are the steps to check your hard drive’s health using the Command Prompt:
Now run the following cmdlet:
wmic diskdrive get model, status
As you can see from the image above, it shows the “OK” status for both of the hard drives connected to our computer.
If you would rather have a more detailed view of the health of your hard drive, there are a few other methods.
Check Hard Drive Health using CHKDSK
CHKDSK, or Check Disk, is a tool that scans your hard drive for corrupted files and fixes them. It also scans for bad sectors on the disk and attempts to repair them. Moreover, it can also tell you the health of your hard drive after it has been scanned.
Follow the steps below to repair scan your hard drive(s) using CHKDSK and check its health:
Run the following cmdlet:
Chkdsk C: /f /r /x
You will be asked to schedule the CHKDSK utility the next time the computer reboots. Enter Y for yes.
Now restart your computer. Once it reboots, the Check Disk utility will run and scan your hard drive. This can take a while, in some cases, hours.
Once the scan completes, you should be able to see your hard drive’s health.
Check Hard Drive Health using Manufacturer Tools
Many of the major hard drive manufacturers offer their own tools to monitor their hard drives. This includes Samsung, Western Digital, and Seagate. Such companies publish their own tiny tools and utilities, which you can install on your computer to monitor your hard drives.
We have linked the most popular ones below for you to download and install:
Check Hard Drive Health using Third-Party Software
For those who want more detailed information on their hard drive (and even other hardware on the computer), they can use professional third-party tools and applications to keep a keen eye on their hard drives.
The internet offers a wide variety of both paid and free tools that will translate the SMART information into readable and useful data, including your hard drive’s health.
We have listed 10 tools to check every hardware detail in a separate post, all of which will give you information about your hard drive(s), including its health.
Note that if you do not see the information in these third-party tools either, then it is likely that your hard drive does not support the SMART feature.
Many of us often neglect this, but knowing how much time your hard drive has left to survive is important, especially if you have important information stored on it with no backups and redundancy. Therefore, we recommend that you occasionally check its health and replace them when it’s low, especially if you have an older PC.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I check the health of my hard drive?
On Windows 11, you can check your hard drive’s health by going to Settings >> System >> Storage >> Advanced storage settings >> Disks and volumes. Click on the hard drive and then click Properties. Here, you will find your hard drive’s health.
On Windows 10, you can check your hard drive’s health using manufacturer tools, third-party tools, or through the Command Prompt by running the CHKDSK utility.
How to check if my hard drive has SMART?
To check if your hard drive supports the SMART feature, you must check if your PC can retrieve data from the hard drive. To do so, run the following cmdlet in the Command Prompt:
wmic diskdrive get model, status
If this shows the status as “OK,” it means your hard drive has the SMART feature.
How to disable the SMART feature on a hard drive?
The SMART feature can be disabled through the computer’s BIOS. Boot/restart your computer and access its BIOS using either of the “F2”, “F10” or “Delete” keys. Under the “Hard disk” or “Hardware” section, look for the SMART option and disable it. Your hard drive will no longer report its data to the BIOS.