Acronis, a provider of HDD backup, disaster recovery and security solutions for Windows, has announced the release of a new free disk monitoring tool called Acronis Drive Monitor.
Acronis Drive Monitor is a free software application that monitors the health of server, PC and laptop hard disk drives. It helps to alert users to problems that may indicate an imminent failure and in doing so gives users time to react by saving the data contained on their hard drive and allowing them to arrange for replacements.
When Acronis Drive Monitor identifies a problem, it generates an email or onscreen alert describing the specific finding. It offers a simple and easy to understand explanation of the alert guiding the user to the steps they need to take to remedy the issue. A color coded summary provides an overview of the disk's health at a glance and weekly reports summarize the findings.
Acronis Drive Monitor checks disk health in the following three categories and reports deviations from normal operation to users:
1. State and health of physical drive (including temperature, seek error rate, spin-up time and more than 20 other indicators) via a disk-resident monitoring function called S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). Acronis Drive Monitor also supports other storage, such as non-S.M.A.R.T.-compatible RAID systems, via scripts.
Two important parameters that you should keep an eye on are Health and Power On Time. The health is calculated by taking into account all parameters of S.M.A.R.T. and by how much the values deviates. The health percentage gives you a overhaul view of the condition of your drive.
The Power On Time (or Power On Hour) is another useful parameter that gives you a good estimate of the total remaining lifetime of the drive. The general expected lifetime of a hard disk in perfect condition is 5 years (running every day and night on all days). This is equal to 1825 days in 24/7 mode or 43800 hours. You will be extremely lucky if your hard drive lasts that long. In my opinion, anything around the vicinity of 20,000 hours is indication of enough wear and tear and possibly time for replacement.
2. Critical events that may indicate an increased risk for data safety, even when S.M.A.R.T. output data shows no abnormalities. These include: logical file system corruptions on NTFS and FAT file systems, corruption of dynamic disk logical structure, failed read or write operations that might indicate faulty hardware or drivers, and Volume Shadow Copy service failures.
3. State of disk backups. Acronis Drive Monitor alerts users when no backup solution is found, that is, backup solution from Acronis such as Acronis True Image Home, Acronis Backup and Security 2010 and Acronis Backup & Recovery 10. This is just one way to push users into buying their products, but I’m not blaming them. If you use an alternate solution you can just ignore the warning or disable backup monitoring.