Check your hard disk for problems

Checking the hard disk

Hard disks have a built-in health-check tool called SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology), which continually checks the disk for potential problems. SMART also warns you if the disk is about to fail, helping you avoid loss of important data.

Although SMART runs automatically, you can also check your disk’s health by running the Disks application:

Check your disk’s health using the Disks application

  1. Open Disks from the Activities overview.

  2. Select the disk you want to check from the list of storage devices on the left. Information and status of the disk will be shown.

  3. Click the menu button and select SMART Data & Self-Tests…. The Overall Assessment should say “Disk is OK”.

  4. See more information under SMART Attributes, or click the Start Self-test button to run a self-test.

What if the disk isn’t healthy?

Even if the Overall Assessment indicates that the disk isn’t healthy, there may be no cause for alarm. However, it’s better to be prepared with a backup to prevent data loss.

If the status says “Pre-fail”, the disk is still reasonably healthy but signs of wear have been detected which mean it might fail in the near future. If your hard disk (or computer) is a few years old, you are likely to see this message on at least some of the health checks. You should backup your important files regularly and check the disk status periodically to see if it gets worse.

If it gets worse, you may wish to take the computer/hard disk to a professional for further diagnosis or repair.