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How to read smartctl reports


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#1 Al1000

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 12:33 PM

I know I'm not the only one here that uses smartmontools. Running it is one thing, but making sense of the reports is not so easy.

Here's a page I just found which has examples of reports of failing hard drives.

https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/Help#Howtoreadsmartctlreports

Note that all of them have entries in the "WHEN_FAILED" column.

Edited by Al1000, 02 September 2016 - 12:34 PM.


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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 05:40 PM

Interesting Al, I will make the time to have a look at this - it may contain the answer to a question I had about Speccy and Linux disc condition reports. I had a topic running here on why did I get dramatically different results when looking at the same hard drive in the same computer with obviously the same hardware. I never did get an explanation that satisfied me !

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/623253/speccy-and-linux-smart-discrepancies/

 

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#3 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 06:49 PM

Hullo, Al.

 

It's a wee bit of a minefield trying to interpret the results, as I'm sure you're aware. And, as far as I know, smartmon-tools doesn't work at all for SSDs.

 

There's the GUI version, of course; GSmartcontrol. It's amusing, TBH; I put an SSD in my old Compaq desktop around 9 months ago. From the very first check (less than two days later), GSmartcontrol insisted it was in imminent danger of failing..!

 

This is (I guess) because an SSD's 'disk-controller' works in a totally different fashion to that of a standard hard drive. There is a .pet for this floating around somewhere on the Forums, but I can't for the life of me track it down. I do have a copy of it on my MediaFire a/c; if you're interested in it for Lucid, perhaps, you can find it here.

 

And if you happen to be using an SSD, you can pretty much ignore output from this, aside from basic health-check stuff like temps, and things of that nature. Don't look at the 'Re-allocated Sector Counts'; you'll frighten yourself to death!  :P And don't even get me started on the 'Offline Uncorrectable'; the readings here for an SSD make absolutely no sense at all......  :rolleyes:

 

Would anybody care to take a stab at explaining to me the difference between 'old-age' and 'pre-failure'..?

 

@Chris:-

 

Looking at your link there, I can't help wondering if it's got anything at all to do with the way in which Linux utilises storage in a very different manner to Windows (including stuff like the way in which it buffers)..?

 

Just a thought.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 08 September 2016 - 07:05 PM.

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#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 10:50 AM

 

It's a wee bit of a minefield trying to interpret the results

 

I would not say you are wrong here !  Your suggestion that it is due to the different way Linux and Windows handle fiile storage is as likely a solution as any so far, it has to be some difference in the way they 'see' things. It just struck me as odd that looking at the same drive should produce such different results. This particular disk is I think the second oldest in my system so some 'old-age' comments might not be unexpected but to date it has shown no errors in service. It is used only for data and everything significant on it is well backed up so even if it did go bang I would not be too worried - yank, replace and restore.

 

Actually the oldest drive on my system is the drive containing Linux, a  second hand 500GB which came out of a tower I scrapped for a friend. It originally had XP on it. And again, it shows no errors in service. Sometimes you just have to wonder . . .

 

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#5 Al1000

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:39 AM

Much of the output is still a mystery to me. There is a wealth of information in their FAQ which I've barely looked at so far.

#6 Al1000

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 10:32 AM

Here's some useful info I noticed zingo156 posted in the XP forum:
 

If you would like to read more about SMART status you can do that here, take note the attributes in pink are considered more important when it comes to failure rates.



#7 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 11:51 AM

Hi, Al.

 

Agree with that..! You'll also find that if it thinks there's anything that's not as it should be, the text for the 'Attributes' tab will also be showing in red.....

 

(Just to draw your attention, like.)

 

I've included a screenshot for a run of GSmartcontrol I took a few minutes ago. This is on my old dell Inspiron 1100 laptop, which has had the original 20 GB Hitachi 'Travelstar' HDD replaced with a 64 GB KingSpec KSD-PA18.6-064MS PATA/IDE interface solid state drive. I've done the screenie as a link this time; it's full-screen (to show everything); I think it's a wee bit on the large side to include directly in the post itself.

 

http://i.imgur.com/873Eigu.jpg

 

You can see the 'Attributes' tab is red, indicating problems (!!) I've shown the 'tooltip' for 'Offline Sector Uncorrectable'; the drive is less than 4 months old, and the Dell doesn't get a lot of use.....but according to this, it's in imminent danger of failing! It showed the same thing two days after installation, too.

 

This replaced a 32 GB version of the same type of KingSpec SSD. That is now sitting in a home-made caddy on the floor of my 'big' Compaq desktop PC. The Compaq originally had a PATA/IDE WD 160 GB Caviar 'Black' HDD, but it was one of the very first to include SATA 1 ports as well, being manufactured at the time when SATA was just coming onto the market. The 'Black' has since been replaced with a 500 GB SATA 'Blue', since the GSmartcontrol test was looking very dodgy (it was over 10 yrs old), but I didn't see any need to waste the smaller SSD.....so I hooked it up to the IDE port via an adapter, and just added a few more Pups to my collection!

 

If I run GSmartcontrol on this one, not only does the 'Offline Sector Uncorrectable' show as a fail, but the 'Re-allocated Sector Count' is off the scale! KingSpec's own SSD health analysis tool, however, shows everything as being serene...

 

Just goes to show that you can't always go by what the 'industry standard' tools say..! BTW, interestingly, it appears that Intel SSDs will give proper readings with GSmartcontrol; it seems that as of the present time, they're the only ones that will. Odd.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 14 September 2016 - 11:56 AM.

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#8 pcpunk

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 02:28 PM

Good stuff guys!  

 

 

 interestingly, it appears that Intel SSDs will give proper readings with GSmartcontrol; it seems that as of the present time, they're the only ones that will. Odd.

 Was wondering about these SSD's, this might be a good sign.  The fact that they are compatible seems to be a bonus don't you guys think, they sure are costly?

 

Now I need to go and try them out.  I have one failing drive to do so, if there is any interest of specific tests from anyone just tell me.  Although, I'll need to remove the drive from the little Toshiba Specific housing, and then back in, wish I could afford to get another one.  Then create a Disk if available for GSmartcontrol, I forget.  The linux install on that drive is not really functional, it is in a bad sector.

 

Isn't "smartmontools" the same as GSmartcontrol?  If so I can create a Disk.

 

I would like to try the "Gnome Disk" on that one also, and compare it to "Crystal Disk" that I ran a while back.


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#9 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 02:48 PM

Isn't "smartmontools" the same as GSmartcontrol?  If so I can create a Disk.

 

 

As far as I know it is. It's the 'back-end' of the S.M.A.R.T reporting setup. GSmartcontrol is the GUI 'front-end'.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

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Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

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#10 Al1000

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 01:59 AM

You can see the 'Attributes' tab is red, indicating problems (!!) I've shown the 'tooltip' for 'Offline Sector Uncorrectable'; the drive is less than 4 months old, and the Dell doesn't get a lot of use.....but according to this, it's in imminent danger of failing! It showed the same thing two days after installation, too.


Have you had any problems with it? The equivalent of the red attribute in GSmartcontrol would be an entry in the "WHEN_FAILED" column in the output of smartmontools, which I've seen once on an old HDD that was failing at the time.

This is an older Seagate 500GB HDD I'm using in my desktop pc just now which according to smartmontools, has 13 Reported Uncorrectable Errors, Command Timeout value is above 0 and Current Pending Sector Count and Uncorrectable Sector Count is 24.

smartmon1_zpsovkkugmd.png

I have attached the full report for anyone who's interested; it also shows some details of errors that occurred - although it looks like they could all have occurred at or around the same time. It just so happens I saved this yesterday, the idea being I'll run smartctl again in a month or so and compare the output to see what has changed.

Attached File  smartmon_Seagate_14-9-16.txt   10.17KB   1 downloads

Edited by Al1000, 15 September 2016 - 02:00 AM.


#11 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 09:32 AM

Hi, Al.

 

Have you had any problems with it? The equivalent of the red attribute in GSmartcontrol would be an entry in the "WHEN_FAILED" column in the output of smartmontools, which I've seen once on an old HDD that was failing at the time.

 

 

That's just it, Al. It's 'in the pink', according to KingSpec's own health-monitoring tool.....at the peak of health. Their analysis tool took some getting hold of, though. Their site is all in Korean (!), and the hoops you've got to jump through to even find it, much less download it (along with translating it all as you go).....they're not going out of their way to make it easy for their customers. But then, the IDE/PATA interface SSDs are not exactly a big seller, so.....make of that what you will.

 

In the seven months I've had it, it's given me absolutely no trouble at all. Which kinda proves what I mean by the infrastructure of an SSD's controller being radically different to that of a standard hard-drive.....it's so different that GSmartcontrol only manages to pick up on a few common items. Look how many 'Unknown Attributes' are listed..... (*shrug*)

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 15 September 2016 - 09:34 AM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

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Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

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#12 Al1000

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 04:04 PM

I noticed all the unknown attributes, but missed the part where you said it's a solid state drive. :)

Perhaps this software is less reliable, or perhaps I should say more unreliable, with SSDs than with HDDs.

Hardware experts here at BC have told me before, that manufacturers' own testing software is usually the most reliable.

#13 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 05:57 PM

Hi, Al.

 

Not many people are using SSDs with the old IDE/PATA interface standard. Most are, of course, using SATA.....and SATA III, at that. I just thought it would be a good idea for 'livening-up' the Dell, since they've recently become available on the market; it's worked, too!

 

It wasn't until trying GSmartcontrol on it that I realised how extremely odd the read-outs were compared to the previous runs with the old Hitachi 'Travelstar'.....  :scratchhead:

 

I refuse to worry about it. For the price (around £35), it's achieved the desired result.....and given how little use the Dell gets compared to the 'big' Compaq desktop, it'll more than likely outlast the old girl..!

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

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