Cool Tools: Hard Disk Sentinel

hds_std_230Recently I found a tool for Windows and Linux PCs that provides a long overdue service, and that is hard disk monitoring. Now, I don’t mean monitoring like some tools where it just looks at free space or temperature and that’s it, this tool set looks at everything you can think of. Yes it checks free space and temperature, but also reads, monitors and reports on S.M.A.R.T. data, errors, log information, performance and more. Check out a full list of features here.

One thing that this tool does that I really like is hard disk surface testing and data relocation. I don’t mean simple “can I read this” sector testing like most tools do, HDS does intensive surface testing making sure that the entire disk can be read from and written to properly. It can detect weak sectors, that would be sectors that still work and thus would pass a simple “read only” test, but are weak meaning they are not “good as new” and could be near failure. When it finds these areas, it can then relocate that data to known good areas and attempt to re-initialize those weak sectors. If that fails, they can be marked bad and not used, making sure that no data is placed anywhere that might be at risk of data loss. You can also setup rules to backup data to another place when these weak areas are found, this tool is highly customizable. There is another tool that does this kind of testing amazingly well, and it’s called Spinrite, from Gibson Research. The major disadvantage of using Spinrite though, is that you must book from a disk and run Spinrite from a DOS console. This allows exclusive and total access to the disks, and means that the testing is even more thorough, but your system is not usable while the tests are running. The trade-off of getting to have these tests performed while my system is up and running means a lot to me.

Unfortunately, this is not a free tool, although they do have a free trial you can use to test it out, and the pricing is very reasonable. All in all, I highly recommend this tool for any users PC. Now, aside from installing directly onto your PC, the license allows this tool to be installed onto a memory stick or thumb drive instead, allowing the tests to be run on many computers. This is when it is a golden tool for a PC technician’s kit. So, check it out and see what you think. I am very happy with it, and I hope you get some benefit from it too. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Cool Tools over in the Cool Tools section!

*Note: Please remember that this is not any kind of paid advertisement or review. I am posting this because of exactly what I said in the article, I found this tool and found it to be useful and wanted to share it with my readers. I just want to make sure that you know that I in no way am getting paid for this article, nor do I get paid if you buy the software, etc. This is a 100% honest review from a happy user!

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