Product Reviews

Real-Time Hard Drive Monitoring

Catch drive problems before the crash with Intelli-SMART 2.0.

SMART stands for Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology, a standard for diagnostic firmware on hard drives endorsed by most major drive manufacturers, including Seagate, Samsung, IBM, Compaq, Maxtor, Quantum, Western Digital, Toshiba, and others. If you’ve purchased a computer in the last few years, odds are your drives are SMART-compliant. The basic idea is simple: The drive keeps track of operating parameters, such as RPM and error rates, and uses this information to predict the chances of a drive failure. However, until now, there wasn’t an easy way for an end user to see the data gathered by a SMART drive.

Intelli-SMART now provides that easy way, and can be installed under Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000. The utility loads a system service that watches for alerts from SMART-compliant drives. When an alert happens, Intelli-SMART pops up a warning window to tell you what’s happening and to advise you to back up your data. It also keeps a log of past alerts and actions. Intelli-SMART’s alerting options are reasonably flexible. In addition to the pop-up alert, it can play a sound, flash a tray icon, or repeat an alert for up to 15 minutes. It can also send email directly to a system administrator, which makes it useful for monitoring remote systems. If you’re responsible for mission-critical computers, this utility can make you more proactive in catching problems before they cause data loss.

When a SMART-compliant drive issues an alert, Intelli-SMART warns you of an impending drive failure and to back up and change the drive.

Intelli-SMART is a good addition to the system administrator’s toolbox. Download a 15-day evaluation copy or purchase the software directly from the vendor’s Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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