Version 21 (modified by Gabriele Pohl, 9 years ago) ( diff )

New Chapter "Case studies"

Smartmontools Documentation

Table of Contents

  1. Manpages
  2. Tutorials
  3. Case Studies
  4. SMART Testing
  5. SMART Attributes
    1. RAW Values
    2. Our Collection On Vendor Specific Issues
    3. External Information Resources
  6. Warnings

In this section we provide documentation upon basic and general understanding of smartmontools. Have a look on the FAQ Page too, where you find information concerning more specific issues.


If you are having trouble understanding the output of smartctl or smartd, please first read the manual pages installed on your system:

  man 8 smartctl
  man 8 smartd
  man 8 update-smart-drivedb
  man 5 smartd.conf

Here are on-line versions of the smartmontools man pages:

smartctl manual page
smartd manual page
update-smart-drivedb manual page
smartd.conf manual page

Note that these are the manual pages for the current version of smartmontools in the developers SVN repository; they might not correspond to the (possibly older) version of smartmontools installed on your system. So the manual pages installed on your system should be regarded as definitive for your installation.


Monitoring Hard Drive Health on Linux with smartmontools ("Random Bits", Jan 2009)
Step by step for beginners. Clear instruction with very nice layout :-)

Monitoring Hard Disks with SMART (Linux Journal, Jan 2004)

Soyez Smart (Francais) from GNU Linux Magazine France n°68

Vorbeugen statt Crash (Deutsch) from LinuxUser 2004/10

Crash Prevention (English version of above) from Linux Magazine Dec 2004

Case Studies

SMART Testing

- Types of tests

Offline test (Data collection)
Short Selftest
Long Selftest
Conveyance Selftest (ATA only)
Selective Selftest (ATA only)

- Handling and configuration

Automate selftests with smartd
Special options for powermanagement

SMART Attributes

If you find strange output, or unknown attributes, please look in the below listed pages with vendor specific info.
When you don't find an answer to your question there, send an email to smartmontools-support and we'll help you try and figure it out.

RAW Values

Different vendors, different interpretation.. The RAW values of SMART attributes (temperature, power-on lifetime, and so on) are stored in vendor-specific structures. Sometime these are strange. Hitachi disks (at least some of them) store power-on lifetime in minutes, rather than hours. IBM disks (at least some of them) have three temperatures stored in the raw structure, not just one. And so on.

Bruce Allen said on smartmontools-support list (2007-08-31): The raw values for certain Attributes have vendor-specific meanings and are hard to interpret unless you know exactly how the vendor uses them on that specific disk model. The bit pattern might be a mix of flags, counters, and bitmasks, for example, leading to large and strange numbers. I wouldn't worry about the raw values very much. The normalized values (VALUE/WORST/THRESH) should have a sensible interpretation.

Nevertheless smartmontools have a new EXPERIMENTAL feature to log Attributes Raw Data in external files. See option --attributelog in smartd manpage and read the authors instructions.

Franc Zabkar has a special interest in deciphering raw values. Read some of his elaborated postings on smartmontools-support mailing list.

Our Collection On Vendor Specific Issues

Hard Drives

IBM (Hitachi)
Western Digital

Solid State Drives / CompactFlash Cards


External Information Resources

See Links page.



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