Hard drive failure is one of the worst things, if not the worst thing that can happen to a computer user. Every other component can be replaced, hard drives included, but what can’t be replaced is the data that’s lost when a hard drive dies. Backups are a must, at least for very important data. Another thing that you could do is check hard drive health from time to time. HDSentinel is a free command line utility with the help of which you can easily check hard drive health.
HDSentinel works on Windows too, but for the purpose of this how to, we’re sticking to the Linux version of it. On the screenshot above this free hard disk health checker has already checked the health of the hard drive. Usage is pretty straightforward. You just have to type in an absolute path to the downloaded executable and add to the end of it letter r preceded with a dash.
sudo /home/user/Downloads/HDSentinel -r
All this has to be run as root, so there should also be sudo at the very beginning. As soon as you pass this command, short report should appear. It’s important to note that this isn’t all the info that you can get out of this free hard drive health checker. That’s why we added r at the end of the command, to save a full report to a file. Every hard drive that you have connected is gonna be checked, there’s no need to specify them individually. HDSentinel saves the report in the home directory of the currently logged in user.
Report that you get is rather long, but that’s great because it gives you an opportunity to find out what’s going on with your hard disk. Health of every hard drive on your system should be listed somewhere near the top of the document. Here’s a short video of HDSentinel in action. This is on Linux Mint 14 running Xfce, but the same thing works on pretty much every other distribution.