There is only one utility that Mac OS X should have… but doesn’t, and that’s constant SMART drive monitoring. The SMART status of your hard drive is an early-warning system that tries to predict when your hard drive is about to fail. Granted, some types of failures simply cannot be predicted, but SMART has saved thousands of terrabytes worth of data. Unfortunately, until recently only savvy users have been able to take advantage of it.
Mac OS X does let you check the SMART status of your drive, you can see it when getting info (or selecting) a drive in Disk Utility. But, that is hardly effective, since you basically have to do that daily in order to ensure your data is safe. Windows Vista raises the game, offering SMART status a part of their system health check, but it still doesn’t do the constant monitoring that SMART was designed to provide. Of course, SMART is constantly used in the server environemnt, but that’s no excuse for Windows and Mac not offering the same type of constant monitoring for normal people. After all, you probably value your data just as much as that IT Admin in a server room… right?
SMARTReporter offers just that. It checks your SMART status every hour, and has grown over the years. I personally did the first Universal Binary port of SMARTReporter, so I do have to admit, I am a bit partial for the program. But, that’s not hard to be… it has become the de-facto standard for SMART monitoring on Mac. Now, version 2.3.0 makes it even better. The version is a more-minor release, going after bug fixes and memory leaks. But, since this blog still has that new-blog-smell, it’s worth a big plug here.
Windows users, fret not. HDDlife offers free gadgets for Vista Sidebar and Google Desktop which basically do the same thing.