Would you use or buy Hard Disk Sentinel Pro?

  • Total voters
    39
Software
Hard Disk Sentinel Pro
PROS
- Deep analysis of the HDD/SSD
- Detailed monitoring of HDD/SSD's health.
- Hardware & Software integrity tests.
- Many customization possible
CONS
- Old interface design
- One test is not easily accessible.
- Some tests are dangerous to the system in the hands of beginners.
BOTTOM LINE
HDS is a very useful HDD/SSD analysis software , you have full details about your drive, complete monitoring of its health and most precious of all : you will be warned when your drive will start to deteriorate, giving you time to move your precious datas before it is too late.
D

Deleted member 178

Hard Disk Sentinel

Hard Disk Sentinel (HDSentinel) is a multi-OS SSD and HDD monitoring and analysis software. Its goal is to find, test, diagnose and repair hard disk drive problems, report and display SSD and HDD health, performance degradations and failures. Hard Disk Sentinel gives complete textual description, tips and displays/reports the most comprehensive information about the hard disks and solid state disks inside the computer and in external enclosures (USB hard disks / e-SATA hard disks). Many different alerts and report options are available to ensure maximum safety of your valuable data.

No need to use separate tools to verify internal hard disks, external hard disks, SSDs, hybrid disk drives (SSHD), disks in RAID arrays as these are all included in a single software.

Hard Disk Sentinel monitors hard disk drive / HDD status including health, temperature and all S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology)values for all hard disks. Also it measures the disk transfer speed in real time which can be used as a benchmark or to detect possible hard disk failures, performance degradations.
Hard Disk Sentinel - HDD health and temperature monitoring

Hi guys,

So I will review Hard Disk Sentinel, as you read above, HDS is a physical drive monitoring tool. Some will say "why need such tool?"
As you know all your datas reside in a drive, so with the continuous strains we put on it, it is a good practice to monitor its health. You won't appreciate that your HDD/SSD (containing all your precious photos) suddenly stops and dies before you backed them up.

There enter Hard Disk Sentinel...

Installation:

Nothing fancy here the installation run smoothly.

The User Interface

A bit oldish in design to my taste :D

Overview Tab

Below is the main window of the user interface.



All relevant informations collected via SMART attributes are shown:

- Drive serial number, health and temperature.
- Drive's partition and space usage.
- Drive's performance, power on time, remaining lifetime, start/stop count.

Temperature Tab

Everything about the drive's temperature is detailed on this tab.



You have the option to set your own temperature thresholds.

S.M.A.R.T Tab

SMART Infos are presented here, but what is SMART?

S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is introduced by IBM. It was created to monitor the disk status by using various methods and devices. A single ATA hard disk may have up to 30 such measured values (attributes). Some of them directly or indirectly affect hard disk health status and others have statistical information.

Today all modern IDE/Serial ATA/SCSI hard disk have S.M.A.R.T. feature. It is not really a standard - so the meaning of the attributes may be different from manufacturer to manufacturer. Because of this, a manufacturer-independent disk health analysing method is neccessary to determine the real status of any hard disk. Hard Disk Sentinel can do this, please see the condition calculation methods section.

Many attributes are used by all manufacturers and they are used in the same (or near same) way. That's why for example it is possible to detect the temperature and the power on time of many hard disks. These values (and many others) are monitored by this application.

According the S.M.A.R.T. specifications, when a problem is detected, the hard disk should work for at least 24 hours to perform the data backup. But in many cases this time is not enough - that's why it is important to recognize problems and prepare before it's too late.

The main panel shows the detailed SMART attributes defined by the drive's manufacturer (those can vary depending the manufacturer and drives models), their threshold value and status, the offsets (which can be modified in the Offset column. )

It also shows the Attribute graph views which display two different kind of numbers. By default, the Display data field is selected, so the raw, manufacturer-independent numbers are displayed.


Information Tab

All the infos about the drive is displayed here:



Interestingly, you can enable/disable some of your drives features if supported like:

- Acoustic features (Higher acoustic levels will enable faster (but louder) operation. Setting a lower level will make the disk slower and more silent)
- ATA/ SATA features
- SSD features
- SMART details
- Security mode

Log Tab

If something is wrong about your drive, degradation datas and absence of response of HDS querries will be displayed here.

Disk Performance Tab



On this page, the amount of transferred (read and written) data are displayed both in the current session and since installation. By using this, the daily average write and read amount values are displayed also.

Alert Tab

The alerts generated by the drive are listed on this page.


Drive Tests

Now we go deeper in the software, monitoring the drive is one thing but sometime you have to test it to detect some inconsistencies, damaged clusters and even hardware & mechanical issues.
Some tests are inoffensive to the stored datas while others may destroy them.

Generally, two different tests are available: hardware self test, and software testing (both are available in Hard Disk Sentinel). The later category contains the random seek time test also, which is a special test as it does not verifies the surface, just the seek capabilities of the drive.

The hardware tests can be better than software methods because they can examine the disk system and components (for example head, servo, electric components and so) by a special way which is not possible by software methods. It does not affect the stored information so they can be used any time (on IDE and S-ATA hard disks which support them), without any special preparation or backup. The use of hardware tests are recommended periodically, especially on perfect (or near perfect) disks to reveal any hidden problems.

In some cases, these hardware tests (Disk -> Short self test, Disk -> Extended self test) are not available, not supported or they result in an error quickly even in relatively low number of problems. No further information is returned about the result, for example it is not possible to list the sector(s) which are damaged. In such case, an appropriate software testing method is required.

When we speak about software testing, it is important to know that the WRITE operation affecting the disk surface is the most important: this forces the hard disk to verify the integrity of the data sector, reallocate it if required and repair weak sector. Because of this, all READ type tests (for example, scandisk but the format also) cannot be used to repair disk problems (and in many cases they even can't detect such problems). Scandisk verifies and fixes logical errors only (file system related errors) which are not really connected to physical disk status, errors (this is why they usually vanish after complete re-partition and re-format of the disk).
HDS support 3 kinds of drive's integrity tests :

1- Hardware Self Test

The hardware self tests built in IDE / Serial ATA / SCSI / SAS hard disks test the hard disk status quickly or with very high detail. 3 sub-tests are available, short, extended, conveyance.

The short and extended self tests are supported by the hard disks but some models support other (conveyance) self test also. The list of all supported self tests and the estimated time of such tests are displayed on the Information page of the hard disk.

Short Test:
The Short self test verifies the major components of the Drive (read/write heads, servo, electronics, internal memory, etc). This test takes only some minutes.



As you can see in the screenshot (above), my drive has no issues, the test took around 1 minute.

Extended Test
The Extended self test is similar as the Short Test and add a complete surface scan which pinpoints the problematic areas (if any) and forces the bad sector reallocation. It is recommended to periodically use this test to verify the disk health - especially on a hard disk with less than 100% health.
On my drive this test took around 2 hours.

Conveyance Test
The Conveyance self test (if supported) performs manufacturer-specific test steps. This usually verifies the mechanical parts of the hard disk to ensure that no handling damage occurred.
This test took 2mn on my drive.
note: this test can only started from the Information tab. (this would more convenient to make it available in the "disk" scrolling menu.

2- Random Seek Test

This test verify the noise level, track-to-track seek time and temperature levels of the drive, especially under excessive disk usage.
The test is especially useful after changing the acoustic level to verify how the modified setting affects the noise and seek time. This verification can be done by a short (quick) test.



The screenshot above show a quick test performed on my HDD.


3- Surface Test

The last and most intrusive test, the surface of the hard disk can be examined with various methods. Some of these methods are safe for the stored data but others are destructive: the stored information are permanently erased during the test operation, so be careful while doing it.







Several methods are available:

  • READ Test - Reads the disk surface to verify if all sectors are accessible and readable. The test is safe, it does not affect stored data. Disk problems may remain hidden and revealed disk issues are NOT fixed. This is similar as Scandisk.
  • WRITE test - Overwrites the disk surface with configurable pattern. Forces the analysis of any weak sectors and verifies any hidden problems and fixes them by reallocation of bad sectors (this is drive regeneration). Enables better use of the disk as after the test the spare area will be used instead of any problematic sectors.
  • WRITE + read test (Pro version only) - Overwrites the disk surface with configurable pattern and then reads back sector contents, to verify if they are accessible and consistent. Forces the analysis of any weak sectors and verifies any hidden problems and fixes them by reallocation of bad sectors (this is drive regeneration). Enables better use of the disk as after the test the spare area will be used instead of any problematic sectors.
  • Read + WRITE + read test (refresh data area) (Pro version only) - Reads stored data from each blocks, writes back the contents and finally reads the information and compare with original contents. By the extensive test, an additional write cycle is used before writing back the contents to improve the efficiency of the error correction (drive regeneration). The operation is usually safe for the stored information but data loss may occur if the system is not stable and/or upon power failure, overclocking, memory/power supply/cable problems and other factors. The test can be used to refresh the data area of the storage device, without the need of complete erase but it is still recommended to backup important data before this test.
  • Reinitialize disk surface (Pro version only) - Overwrites the disk surface with special initialization pattern to restore the sectors to default (empty) status and reads back sector contents, to verify if they are accessible and consistent. Forces the analysis of any weak sectors and verifies any hidden problems and fixes them by reallocation of bad sectors (this is drive regeneration).
Enables better use of the disk as after the test the spare area will be used instead of any problematic sectors.
Very intensive and time-consuming test, especially if the level (the number of overwrite cycles) is set to higher value.
The simple version of this test is usually (incorrectly) called as low level format by other tools. It can be effectively used to permanently destruct stored information (Navso P-5239-26 standard data destruction).

Final Note:

As you can see now, HDS is particularly sophisticated and will give you extended awareness of your drive health.

Many setting's options are available so you can tailor HDS to your needs.

I would recommend you to use Hard Disk Sentinel (paid version), it is worth the purchase and will allow you to rescue your datas before your drive goes down.

Thanks for reading.
 

tonibalas

Level 40
Verified
Trusted
I have used the standard version of this program and i wasn't satisfied.
After checking my HDD it reported that the estimated remaining life was 45 days.
I knew that my drive had a problem but after the check up the HDD was operating at a slower speed
and it lasted more than 4 months.
By the way the HDD didn't die but i replaced it with an SSD Samsung EVO 850 and now my laptop feels like new:).