Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

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linmint0001
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Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by linmint0001 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:32 pm

I would like your opinion on whether it is a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. monitoring on external hard disk drives. I am trying to understand how S.M.A.R.T. functions and I am unsure of how it will work on Linux Mint. Will Linux Mint automatically scan the external HDD when it is mounted, or does the monitoring only works when I run the diagnostic commands from the Terminal? If the monitoring system only works when the commands are issued from the Terminal, is it better to just enable S.M.A.R.T. for the test and then turn it off or is it best to leave it on by default? Above all, I want to avoid damage to the external HDDs, as they contain the backup of my data.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!!!

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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by rickNS » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:05 pm

linmint0001 wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:32 pm
Will Linux Mint automatically scan the external HDD when it is mounted,
Yes Mint takes care of it for you. No intervention required. SMART data can be found in the "disks". The information may not be there immediately the first time you plug in a drive for the first time.
Last edited by rickNS on Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by AZgl1500 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:07 pm

To my understanding, that is just a feature in the HHD's interface, and has nothing to do with your OS.

So, turning it on will allow the HDD to report back to your OS that it is starting to suffer some bad blocks.

And, it has the advantage of marking blocks as "Bad" and that will keep the OS from trying to store good data in a bad block.

I always turned it on, and never wondered about it again.

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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by WharfRat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:47 pm

External hard disk drives attached via usb are not supported:
smart.jpg
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by rickNS » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:04 pm

Funny it seems to work for me, disks utility. Attached 250GB via USB.
Screenshot at 2018-03-16 18-58-18.png
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by AZgl1500 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:16 pm

It is working for my 6 TB Seagate USB on USB 3.0

SMART Data Results 800 pixels.png

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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by WharfRat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:32 pm

AZgl1500 and rickNS,

How are they attached :?:

Maybe it's the dock that I'm using :?
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by AZgl1500 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:10 pm

WharfRat wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:32 pm
AZgl1500 and rickNS,

How are they attached :?:

Maybe it's the dock that I'm using :?
I'm not using the 6 TB drive in a dock, it was factory supplied with a 120 VAC wall wart for power, and a cable to plug into the PC. I also have a dock in the office, I will try that in a bit and see how that works.


I always make a point of using the exact USB cable that comes with the USB HDD, I label those suckers with Dymo tape.... dinky little toy USB cables do NOT transfer data properly.

My Seagate is new to me, purchased about 4 months ago, and I plugged the factory USB cable into my laptop's 3.0 USB port.

I have previously used the same drive/cable combo on a USB 2.0 port but the transfer rate suffered severely.

I just now plugged it into the USB 2.0 port and it still works for me


.
SMART USB 2.0 port.png

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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by rickNS » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:23 pm

WharfRat wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:32 pm
AZgl1500 and rickNS,

How are they attached :?:

Maybe it's the dock that I'm using :?
Standard backup type HDD, attached to always powered USB 2.0 port.
I could double check, but pretty sure I have had an old HDD attached to combo USB/ESATA port, and SMART info was available on that as well.
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by phd21 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:35 pm

Hi linmint0001, & Everyone Else,

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

Usually, if the drive supports SMART, then it is already on. But if for some reason it is not on and the drive supports SMART, then you can use "smartctl" to turn it on. The drive has to be active and "mounted" as well.

My WD USB external drive shows up in my SMART apps like gSmartcontrol and the SMART was enabled by default. I have it connected to a 4-port self-powered USB v2 hub. The odd thing is that my KDE Partition Manager editor does not show the SMART status on the USB connected drives, only the internal drives?

...
gSmartcontrol1.jpg
gSmartcontrol
Last edited by phd21 on Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by WharfRat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:49 pm

Well, I have to stand corrected.

I attached the same drive with a SATA to USB 2.0 adapter and
smart2.jpg
So it appears to be the dock :?
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by Pippin » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:08 am

Depends on dock/used controller/firmware:
https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/TocSupport
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by WharfRat » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:39 am

Pippin wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:08 am
Depends on dock/used controller/firmware:
https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/TocSupport
It has to be the dock.

I plugged in a Western Digital Technologies, Inc. My Book Essential and SMART shows as enabled.

This is the dock in question
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by Pippin » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:50 am

Since Gsmartcontrol on Mint is old, one can update drivedb.h
https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/Down ... vedatabase

Code: Select all

# ls -l /var/lib/smartmontools/drivedb
total 328
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 180455 Jan 30 16:18 drivedb.h
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 149670 Feb  6  2016 drivedb-old.h
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by phd21 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:50 am

Hi WharfRat,

Looks like a nice dock with USB and eSata connections, but I wonder why it does not allow SMART? Did you try a different USB port and or use an eSata port?

You could contact the manufacturer and ask them, or return it for another. Perhaps it can be updated?

I updated the smartmontools using their PPA to a newer stable version.


FYI: The regular way to update the Smartmontools drive database was changed or is not working for me (sudo update-smart-drivedb), but this worked for me:
Updating Smartmontools Drive Database
https://www.thomas-krenn.com/de/wiki/Sm ... ualisieren

To install this using console terminal, type in, or copy & paste, each line below one by one:
Click "Select All" above command, right click the highlighted command, select Copy (or Ctrl+Insert), click in the console terminal window, and right click paste (or Shift+Insert), repeat for each command.

Code: Select all

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mirror/smartmontools/master/drivedb.h
2018-03-17 11:05:26 (385 KB/s) - ‘drivedb.h’ saved [177945/177945]

Code: Select all

sudo mv /var/lib/smartmontools/drivedb/drivedb.h /var/lib/smartmontools/drivedb/drivedb.h.old

Code: Select all

sudo mv drivedb.h /var/lib/smartmontools/drivedb/

Code: Select all

sudo chown -c root:root /var/lib/smartmontools/drivedb/drivedb.h
changed ownership of '/var/lib/smartmontools/drivedb/drivedb.h' from user69:user69 to root:root

Then logout and log back in, or restart...

Hope this helps ...
Last edited by phd21 on Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by WharfRat » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:48 am

Thanks phd21 and Pippin :D

I downloaded the newer drivedb.h and it now shows as enabled :shock:
smart3.jpg
Other suggestion prior to utilizing drivedb.h made no difference.

Mystery solved - thanks a lot guys...
ImageImage

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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by phd21 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:17 pm

Hi WharfRat,

You are welcome from all of us that replied ...
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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by linmint0001 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:40 pm

Thank you very much to all of you for replying to my post! I certainly learned a lot about this topic and I now feel reassured that enabling S.M.A.R.T. on my external hard drives will be helpful. I appreciate your time and help! :D

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Re: Is it a good idea to enable S.M.A.R.T. on external HDDs?

Post by phd21 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:53 pm

Hi linmint0001,

You are very welcome form all of us that replied.

I personally think it is always smart to use SMART for drives that support it.
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