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Most drives, both internal and external, have a disk health monitoring system called S.M.A.R.T. However, this information is useless unless you have an application that will read the information and alert you when a problem is found. This is where Disk Drill comes in. As one of our completely free data protection features, we offer S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring.

With S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring turned on, Disk Drill will alert you if any problem is found with your drive that indicates it might fail in the near future. These alerts can help you to take action and backup your data before you run into drive failure problems. As we all know, there are many variables that impact file recovery chances, so why not take every opportunity to prevent data loss before it happens? Below are some frequently asked questions about S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring.

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How do I turn on or off S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring?

When you first launched Disk Drill, if you checked the box next to “Monitor my disks for hardware issues,” then you already have it turned on. However, you can also turn that feature on or off by launching Disk Drill and going to Disk Drill > Preferences on the top menu bar. Select the S.M.A.R.T. tab and either check or uncheck the box next to “Monitor my disks for hardware issues (via S.M.A.R.T.).” With monitoring turned on, you will get alerts even if you do not have the Disk Drill app running.

How do I turn on or off the icon on my menu bar?

S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring can add an icon to the top-right of your Menu Bar for easy  monitoring and access. The default icon looks like a small gear. To modify this, go to Disk Drill > Preferences on the top menu bar and select the S.M.A.R.T. tab. If you check the box next to “Hide Menu Bar Icon” then no icon will be seen. If you check the box next to one of the disks in the list under “Choose disks you would like to display temperature for:” then the gear icon will change to a temperature display. Click on the C or F in the Preferences window to change the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Turning off the icon will not turn off the actual monitoring — you will still get alerts if problems are found.

How do I view the S.M.A.R.T. status information?

Launch Disk Drill. In the main Disk Drill window, you will see all of your available drives. Below the name of each drive or partition is a small circle with an “i” in it. The color of the (i) indicates its general S.M.A.R.T. status:

  • Green means that S.M.A.R.T. status is active and no problems are detected.
  • Red means S.M.A.R.T. is active and bad sectors or other S.M.A.R.T. issues have been detected.
  • Orange means S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring is not active for this volume. (See the section below on activating S.M.A.R.T. for external drives.)

Click the (i) to display that volume’s information details. In the window that pops up, click on the Check All S.M.A.R.T. Attributes button. All S.M.A.R.T. details will pop up, with a colored circle in the right column indicating the status of each monitored attribute. 

How can I activate S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring on my external drives?

You may have noticed that only your internal Mac hard drive is covered by default. But there is a way to turn on monitoring for your external drives as well. It requires downloading the third-party app SAT Smart Driver. See How Can I Monitor S.M.A.R.T. On External Drives? for complete instructions.

NOTE: S.M.A.R.T. status is not supported on MacBooks shipped starting in 2016

Yes, we can confirm that Apple no longer allows macOS to query the S.M.A.R.T. status of PCIe SSD drives on MacBooks 2016 and obviously newer. So, if you don’t see your internal drive listed in Disk Drill’s Preferences for S.M.A.R.T., it’s not Disk Drill’s fault 🙂

.updated: July 25, 2018 author: Jill