CrystalDiskInfo : Check Your Hard Disk Health
Once your hard disk has crashed, there is hardly anything that can be done- your data on hard disk is lost and it is unusable. But what if you could know beforehand if your hard disk is going to crash in near future? What if you could tell that your hard disk has started to show the signs of ageing. Windows offers no simple way to know about the health of your hard disk, but you can use the free CrystalDiskInfo tool to check the health of your hard disks. CrystalDiskInfo is a hard disk health monitoring utility that displays basic HDD information, monitors S.M.A.R.T. values and disk temperature.
CrystalDiskInfo is a free, open source and portable Windows application that can help you determine the health status of your hard disks. It supports not only the traditional hard disks but also modern SSD's (solid state drives). It can monitor the health status of your hard disks using various parameters. It also displays your hard disk's S.M.A.R.T data and its current temperature. It is also able to send you alerts through e-mail.
You can download CrystalDiskInfo from the Crystal Mark website. The download is available both as a setup installer and also as a portable edition. I downloaded the portable edition as you do not have to install anything. Just extract the contents of the downloaded portable edition archive and run the DiskInfo.exe file. The main interface of CrystalDiskInfo is very simple but loaded with technical information.
In the main window you can see the basic information like your hard disk model, serial number, firmware, power on count, power on hours etc. You would also be shown the S.M.A.R.T data of your hard disk. You can see temperature of your hard disk which is blue if under safe value and turns red if is above safe limits. It also shows a big health status block displaying good (in blue color), caution (in yellow color), bad (in red color) or unknown (in gray color). If you have a bad health status, then you should immediately back up your data on the selected hard disk and replace that disk with a new hard disk. If you have more than one hard disk, then you can select one of them to see the information about it.
By default, the temperature is shown in degree celsius units. But you can also make it show the temperature in fahrenheit if you want. You can select the measurement units of the temperature displayed from the menubar by selecting Function → Temperature Type and then choosing either Celsius or Fahrenheit.
You can set CrystalDiskInfo to automatically send you an alert e-mail in the events when the healthy status of your hard disks changes. For example, if the temperature of your hard disk crosses the safe value, you will be notified by an e-mail. You can set the e-mail alert settings from Function → Advanced Feature → Mail Settings. In the window that opens, you have to enter the SMTP server settings for your e-mail server like SMTP host, port, username and password. If you want to send the alert over a secure connection, then you can select the SMTPS/SSL checkbox.
Among other features of CrystalDiskInfo is its ability to present the S.M.A.R.T data in form of a graph, showing of the remaining life in case of SSD, control AAM/APM settings, and more. It can tell you beforehand if your hard disk is going fail and helps you plan for backing up your important data before its too late. You can download it from http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-e.html.