By Steve Bass
Hard drives are about as dependable as a teenager promising to come home by midnight. The more you know about your drive–the brand-specific idiosyncrasies and the diagnostic sounds that drives produce–the better prepared you are for the inevitable crash.
Hard Drive Inspector is a handy tool to monitor your drives for spin rate, seek time, and almost 20 other potential problem spots. The program also supplies specs–including drive model, firmware version, and serial number, all perfect when calling for warranty support.
The drive’s temperature is displayed in the system tray; if the drive gets too toasty (I have mine set for 120 degrees Fahrenheit), you can get an e-mail alert, or better, automatically put the computer in Standby mode. You can view a summary health report that’s enough for most of us; the S.M.A.R.T. report has the details. Hard Drive Inspector costs $30, but you can download a 15-day trial version to give you a feel for the tool; the trial is fully functional, though limited to one drive. Nonetheless, it’ll tell you everything you’ll need to know about your drive.
Note: At press time (an antiquated phrase if I ever heard one), the Hard Drive Inspector’s site is temporarily down. You can read about the product by looking at a Google cache.
It’s not as comprehensive as Hard Drive Inspector, but if you’d prefer a freebie (of course you would!), download CrystalDiskInfo.
TechBite’s columnist Steve Bass and PC World Contributing Editor publishes a free weekly newsletter with commentary on the technology products he loves, the strategies for getting the most out of them,and the gotchas that can cause computing misery. Sign up for the newsletter here