A hard drive is a setup of electronic and mechanical components, which provides huge amount of space (i.e. in GBs and TBs) for data storage. After rigorous usage for a long time, or when they are too much old, many of the storage blocks turn into bad blocks (physically damaged blocks). Unfortunately, operating systems fail to read/write access the bad blocks of the hard drives, as they are damaged permanently. The gradual increment in the number of bad blocks on a hard drive leads to its failure at an undefined time.

Well, hard drives do not always fail instantaneously. In fact, they gradually lead to failure and cause the loss of huge amount of data at once. Knowing the fact that you cannot prevent the hard drive failure, you can actually avoid data loss using commercial a drive-monitoring tool.

Stellar Drive Monitor keeps a watch on your Mac drive all the time, and ultimately lets you overcome a forthcoming data loss situation. One of the best features of the software is that it runs in the background and keeps a regular watch on all the parameters contributing to overall health status of the hard drive.

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S.M.A.R.T. Status

S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a technology that involves monitoring the hard drive of the computer in order to detect various threats, errors, and disastrous events, and reports the overall health status of the hard drives.

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As I mentioned earlier, the software runs in the background and keeps a watch on the hard drive and its various parameters contributing to its health status, without bothering you in any sense. When a critical situation is expected to arrive, the software issues a warning message and demands shutdown for system’s safeguard. In fact, the S.M.A.R.T. Status itself comprises of many health parameters, which as a whole weigh up the overall health status of the hard drive.

Stellar Drive Monitor also displays some basic information about the hard drive under ‘General Stats’ tab in the S.M.A.R.T. window. This information includes, ‘Drive Title’, ‘BSD Name’, ‘Connected via’, ‘Free Space’, ‘S.M.A.R.T. Status’, ‘preferred Block Size’ and many other parameters.

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Additionally, the software provides ‘Save Log’ option at the bottom of the screen, as you can see in the screenshot above.

In case you want to see the information about the individual volumes, switch to ‘Full Description’ tab right in the S.M.A.R.T. window. As you can see in the screenshot below, the basic information about the individual volumes is displayed under that of the hard drive.

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To see the full description about the hard drive, select it in the ‘Drive Stats’ window and click the S.M.A.R.T. button, and then switch to the ‘Full description’ tab in the S.M.A.R.T. window.

Hard Drive or Volume Scan Information

How about you get to see the bad blocks on the hard drive? Well, Stellar Drive Monitor enables you scan the hard drive for bad blocks. In case it finds the bad blocks, it displays them as blocks of red color. On the other hand, all the healthy blocks are displayed as the blocks of green color. However, you can change the color code scheme.

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Scanning the hard drive for bad blocks is a process that is named the ‘Surface Scan’. In case the hard drive is reported to have so many bad blocks, you should back up all the data and upgrade to a new hard drive at the earliest.

The software lets you stop the ‘Surface Scan’ process in between, in case you have to; however, next time when you go for it, it does not restart right from the point it was stopped at.

Drive Monitoring Preferences

When you are authorized to control things happening around you, it becomes quite interesting to live the life, isn’t it? Stellar Drive Monitor enables you set drive monitoring preferences every time before scanning the hard drive or a volume for bad sectors, where monitoring preferences define a reaction of the software if the temperature of the hard drive or the volume crosses the defined threshold limit.

In addition to temperature limit, Stellar Drive Monitor lets you set temperature unit, Startup options, critical temperature at which system should shut down, frequency of updates, and a default email ID to which the software sends an email containing scanned report. In case you want the email ID changed at a later time, you can also do it without facing any trouble.

Performance Report

As mentioned above, Stellar Drive Monitor lets you set monitoring preferences, based upon which a drive performance report is generated, which on the other hand helps you analyze and evaluate the overall performance of the hard drive or the volume. The report also includes data transfer rate (read/write operation within the specified time) as one of the factors measured in order to evaluate the performance of the hard drive or a volume. You can view the report in two different forms, i.e. graphical view (Bar and Line chart) and in the form of raw data.

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Once the report is generated, the software provides you two different options – Save Report (saves report to your computer at a selected location) and Email Report (sends report to an already provided email ID through an automated email).

System Requirements

  • Processor: Intel
  • RAM: 1 GB Recommended
  • Disk Space Required: 50 MB
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later

Pros

  • Software runs in the background and keeps a watch on various parameters of hard drive’s health status.
  • Provides real-time condition of the health status of the hard drive or the volumes
  • Able to scan and display bad sectors on the hard drive
  • Manual settings of monitoring preferences, such as Threshold Temperature
  • Sends performance report via email
  • Simple interface makes it easy to use
  • No effects on system performance

Cons

  • Pricey tool
  • Does not support external hard drives

The Bottom Line

Stellar Drive Monitor is a smart and efficient tool to analyze and evaluate hard drive health status. However, the software is pricey and supports internal hard drives only. Therefore, it scores 4 out of 5 marks.