Some of the Attribute values are updated as the disk operates.Others are updated only through off-line tests that temporarily slow down disk reads/writes and, thus, must be run with a special command.

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The original SMART spec (SFF-8035i) was written by a group of disk drive manufacturers.

In Revision 2 (April 1996) disks keep an internal list of up to 30 Attributes corresponding to different measures of performance and reliability, such as read and seek error rates.

Red Hat's existing products contain the UCSC smartsuite versions of smartctl and smartd, but the smartmontools versions will be included in upcoming releases.

To understand how smartmontools works, it's helpful to know the history of SMART.

Instead, the disks simply return an OK or NOT OK response to an inquiry about their health.

A negative response indicates the disk firmware has determined that the disk is likely to fail.

In this article, I explain how to use smartmontools' smartctl utility and smartd dæmon to monitor the health of a system's disks.

See smartmontools.for download and installation instructions and consult the WARNINGS file for a list of problem disks/controllers.

Often, entire days are lost repeating recent work, re-installing the OS and trying to recover data.

Even if you have a recent backup, sudden disk failure is a minor catastrophe.

The ATA-5 standard added an ATA error log and commands to run disk self-tests to the SMART command set.