Ubuntu – How to check the SMART status of a SSD or HDD on current versions of Ubuntu 14.04 through 18.10

hard drivesmartssd

How can I check the SMART status of a drive under 14.04 and beyond? I've seen Checking HD SMART status on a fresh install but it doesn't seem to apply under 14.04 and later.

Best Answer

Disks Utility

Launch the Disks Utility (If you don't have it already, you can install Disks via the Software Center or open a terminal and issue the command sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility.

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Select the drive of interest then click on the menu button at the upper right corner and choose SMART Data & self tests

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Note that sometime between 18.10 and 20.04 the menu option has moved from the "hamburger menu" to the 3 vertical dots menu as shown below.

changes

Types of self-tests

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  • Short: Checks the electrical and mechanical performance as well as the read performance of the disk. Electrical tests might include a test of buffer RAM, a read/write circuitry test, or a test of the read/write head elements. Mechanical test includes seeking and servo on data tracks. Scans small parts of the drive's surface (area is vendor-specific and there is a time limit on the test). Checks the list of pending sectors that may have read errors, and it usually takes under two minutes.
  • Long/extended: A longer and more thorough version of the short self-test, scanning the entire disk surface with no time limit. This test usually takes several hours, depending on the read/write speed of the drive and its size.
  • Conveyance: Intended as a quick test to identify damage incurred during transporting of the device from the drive manufacturer to the computer manufacturer. Only available on ATA drives, and it usually takes several minutes.

How to interpret SMART-Attributes

The most important attribute in terms of failure rates is likely the 196 - Reallocated Sector Count, but considering Google research paper: _"...failure prediction models based on SMART parameters alone are likely to be severely limited in their prediction accuracy, given that a large fraction of our failed drives have shown no SMART error signals whatsoever." However, the majority of the drives (over 60%) in the study that failed did exhibit a smart failure, so as imperfect as it may be, it's still valid indicator.

Note that while the vast majority of recent drives support SMART not all drives do and implementations can vary. For more details on SMART see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.