Hard Disk Sentinel (HDS) is pioneer software in hard disk analyzing. It monitors your hard disk status, temperature and health, thereby leading to early prediction of hard disk failures and preventing data loss.
Now-a-days all types of HDDs such as IDE/Serial ATA/SCSI have S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) feature. Though SMART is very popular it is still not a standard across all manufacturers. Because of this, a manufacturer-independent disk health analyzing method is necessary to determine the real status of any hard disk. Hard Disk Sentinel can do this for you.
HDS comes in three flavors – standard, Professional and Enterprise. Use link below for Product Comparison:
I have used the Professional portable-trial version 4.00 for my review.
Following are the main components of HDS:
1. The status window
2. Tray icon
3. Disk icon
4. Quick menu
5. Main window
1. The status window
Clicking on the “Show Status Window” button on the toolbar a small status window for hdds is displayed. It shows current temperature and disk state. A click on the same shows the free space available on the disk.
As the status window stays on top of every other open window, it is very easy to monitor the state of hdd.
2. Tray icon
Hard Disk Sentinel displays the status of hdds in the tray icon. It shows the temperature of the hdd. Color code for temperature can be configured.
3. Disk icon
This will display the status and free space of the disk in My Computer. For portable version of HDS you could enable the same from Configuration>Disk Control.
4. Quick menu
This menu is displayed on right mouse click on the tray icon. It has the following noticeable handy options:
1. Show or hide the status window
2. Open the configuration page and set preferences.
3. Display temperature statistics of a hard disk.
4. Display detailed information about a hard disk in the main window
5. Main window
Below are the descriptions of the button (from the help file):
This is the main interface of HDS. As you can see from below the interface is sleek, colorful and soothing to eyes. It integrates all features and functions.
This section deals with various settings provided for your ease such as Alerts, E-mail configuration, Advance options, Disk Control and various others.
I would now like to talk about the real working of HDS as we have covered the menus and sub-sections to some extent.
As from last image above you could see that the main window clearly provides us an overview of the disk(s). This includes Performance, Health and estimated Lifetime. As my HDD is just 18months old, I get 100% for Performance & Health.
The Temperature Monitoring section shows the current, average and maximum temperatures measured for the day. Additionally shown is Max Temperature during the entire lifespan. Though the software automatically sets thresholds based on the HDD make/model, you may choose to set your own threshold values.
As you can see from pic above a Graphical display is shown for the current session, as well as Daily Average, Daily Maximum and Daily Minimum from the period HDS was installed till date. This is very useful to quickly keep an eye on HDD temperature to know when it becomes hot. Also, you can see invariable high/low temperatures detected. Additionally, you can also save these graphs in either BMP or JPG formats.
The SMART tab shows a list of attributes based on your HDD type-IDE/SATA.
As seen above for each Attribute we have a Threshold, Value, Worst, Status, Data, Offset and Enable fields. The most important for any novice user will be Status, because if status is OK, I’m good. Just below the SMART attribute table we are presented with Attribute graph. On this graph it is possible to examine how the attribute changed. The two endpoints of the graph reflect the first measured value (installation day) and the most recent (current) value of the attribute. All other days between these two dates are selected automatically. For example, in the figure above I chose to see graph for “Spin up Time”. So it shows me the spin-up time values from the first use occurrence till date. As you might have noticed, the spin-up time for my HDD went up by 25 points in just 3 days, which is a point of concern for me.
On the information tab, many details of the HDD are displayed. These include but not limited to: manufacturer and model type, revision (internal version) and serial number of the hard disk.
I wish developer could provide a mechanism to expand/collapse the details for each of the list information, as then it would become very easy to see specific details. Nevertheless, you could still copy the entire data to clipboard and play around with in excel.
The Log & Alert tabs would get populated only in event of any issues/notifications. I’m lucky to have them as blank.
The Disk Performance tab shows you the Real-time statistics of HDD. It monitors the current write and read speeds and it checks how the current usage is stressing for the hard disk. This is displayed in a percentage (%) value, just like the user can examine the CPU usage in the task manager.
Other Important Features/Functionalities:
1. Report – HDS provides a very detailed report on your HDD. It is very extensive and contains every possible attribute. You can save the report in either text or html format.
2. Random Seek Test – This test is used to verify the noise level, track-to-track seek time and temperature levels of HDD. You can select from quick, normal, deep, long intensive or custom duration test. You can also save the test results as JPG format. I went for a Quick test and below is the result.
3. Surface test – It includes READ, WRITE, WRITE + read, Read + WRITE + read test (refresh data area) and Reinitialize disk surface tests. Some of these tests could result into data destruction also. Therefore, make sure you read the description of the test before starting the same. Also, due to huge size of the disk, there tests may run for a long time. However, you may choose to limit the test to specific blocks from the Configuration option. Some of these tests require you to register/buy.
4. Hardware Self Tests – this includes Short self test, Extended self test and Conveyance self test (if supported). Short self test verifies the major components of the hard disk (read/write heads, servo, electronics, internal memory, etc) and takes only 2 minutes. The Extended self test goes for surface scan to find bad sectors. While, the Conveyance self test performs manufacturer-specific test steps.
5. Remote Control – From Configuration>Integration you could provide the settings to use HDS remotely.
6. Operation Modes – HDS can work in two different modes. It can either run as an Application or as a Service. By default, it runs in Application mode. The service mode is available only on NT based operating systems.
Previously I have faced a situation wherein my HDD failed completely overnight.. It was very shocking to me as it was pretty new and therefore, I never took any backup. HDS is one-time pay software (lifetime license with lifetime free upgrades) which once installed relieves you of losing your data. It not only monitors your HDD for overall health, but also its temperature, seek test and surface test features make it an ultimate life-saver.
So, if you can’t afford losing your data, get yourself Hard Disk Sentinel now, or repent always.
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