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Hard Disk Sentinel PRO - Mini-Review

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Update 2015-01-17 0614hrs: Hard Drive Sentinel is now up to version 4.60 (7377). I forgot to post about this when it updated a short while back.
In the OP, I have made minor updates to version number and supported OSes.

I wondered whether any of the wise denizens of DC might be able to offer some advice.
I am trying to figure out the best method and thermometer to use to recalibrate the temperature sensor on a hard drive. My drives are all 2.5" format drives, either housed in a laptop or in a USB-connected device enclosure, and some of the latter are sealed plastic enclosures and thus difficult to gain access to without risking breaking the enclosure.

I have come to the conclusion that the reported temps on some of the drives I use are inaccurate. Some feel hotter to the touch than others that HDS says are running at a higher temp.

The HDS Temperature report tab says:
It is recommended to calibrate the temperature and set the temperature offset on the S.M.A.R.T. page. This way later the correct temperature value will be displayed.

--- End quote ---

The HDS Help document says:
Temperature calibration
The temperature sensor built in most modern hard disks may give improper results. The difference between the measured and the actual temperature can be 7-9 Celsius degress or even more.

To fix this problem, it is possible (and recommended) to measure the actual temperature of the hard disk by using an external infrared thermometer or a front panel with temperature sensor and set the difference between the measured temperature and the temperature displayed by Hard Disk Sentinel (reported by the drive itself) as temperature offset. This is called calibration.

After the real temperature has measured (by the thermometer or other external temperature sensor), the offset can be calculated by subtracting the value reported by the software from the measured value. This offset can be positive (the software reports smaller temperature than the real) or negative (the software reports higher temperature than the real).

This offset can be specified on the S.M.A.R.T. page of the hard disk, after selecting attribute #194 (hard disk temperature) and using the + / - buttons (by clicking on the number between the icons, the offset value can be entered directly in Celsius units).

(Diagram: S.M.A.R.T. attributes, details and trends)

Hard Disk Sentinel will automatically increase (or decrease) all hard disk reported temperatures by the configured offset value. This way the correct (real) temperature will be displayed and used in all cases (for example, when checking hard disk temperature against a threshold and when saving reports etc.)

It is recommended to perform the temperature calibration on all installed hard disks if possible. Same type of hard disks may require different temperature offsets.

Note: if the calibration is not possible (the computer chassis cannot be opened), an estimated offset value can be determined by checking the first displayed temperature immediately after starting the computer and comparing the value with the environment (room, office) temperature. At this time, the CPU, video card or other components are not too warm and they do not affect the temperature of the hard disk. Of course this is true only if the computer had enough time to cool down to the environment temperature (it was not powered off for at least 8 hours).

For example, if the hard disk temperature is displayed as 17 Celsius degrees (immediately after starting the computer) and the room temperature is 22 Celsius degrees, +5 can be configured as offset value (because the hard disk cannot be cooler than its temperature). This offset is better than nothing but of course an external thermometer is needed to determine the proper temperature offset value.

Note: the temperature offset should be specified in Celsius units, regardless of the selected temperature unit (Celsius or Fahrenheit).

Note: the unregistered version automatically resets all offset values to 0 when the user restarts Hard Disk Sentinel.

--- End quote ---

I wondered whether any of the wise denizens of DC might be able to offer some advice.
-IainB (January 16, 2015, 11:54 AM)
--- End quote ---

Not much to suggest other than to say S.M.A.R.T. isn't a tool that gets relied on for absolute accuracy since it's less a real-time monitor and more a "heads-up" warning system that may help you predict immanent disk failure or help diagnose oddball conditions that suggest you're heading towards one.

In practice, I've generally found SMART is not all that useful on the user level. Because by the time the OS becomes concerned enough to forward a SMART-based alert to the user, it's pretty much too late anyway. I'm guessing the drive manufacturers probably make better use it for QC purposes and as a 'failure validation' tool when customers make warranty claims.

I'm not sure what your goal is by recalibrating the temperature sensor. If it's for intellectual curiosity or a learning experience, that's fine. If it's to get longer drive life, you might want to consider that some recent studies seem to have concluded thermal fatigue and high operating temperatures are nowhere near as much a contributing factor to drive failure as we once suspected. The bulk of the failures seem to occur for mechanical and electrical reasons unrelated to heat.

The excess heat generated by a hot drive can however potentially damage surrounding components, so it's probably not correct to simply dismiss hot running drives as "not a problem" in every circumstance.

I don't know if HDS is definitely "on" to an unaddressed problem - or if it's more something they're recommending simply because their product can do it. You'll get a lot of that with some utilities out there. But I don't have sufficient experience with HDS to make a call ...and I've never once heard of anybody manually recalibrating a drive's temperature sensor like that...sooo I guess I'll have to wait to hear how you made out if you decide to go ahead.

Luck! :Thmbsup:

@40hz: Thanks. After considering what you wrote there, I decided not to fiddle about with it, largely because it would not necessarily be productive/useful.

I'm puzzled by this: this is for a Seagate USB 2.0 external hard drive (1TB).
HDS says the disk is in perfect condition, but these SMART Raw Read and Seek Error Rates from HDS look confusing to me.
What is going on with this drive?

Hard Disk Sentinel PRO - Mini-Review

I ran CHKDSK on it, and no major probs.:


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