What is SMART on a hard drive?
SMART is the acronym for the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology. It forms an industry that monitors and reports the fault conditions in a peripheral storage device, it maybe as a result of normal wear and tear or from damage. The purpose of SMART is to reduce the chances of getting the data lost through providing enough warnings to these conditions.
SMART needs a hard disk which can support the features and some kind of software for checking the status of the drive. Big manufacturers of drives always incorporate the SMART feature in the drives that they produce, and many of the new PC systems and motherboards contain BIOS routines which help in checking the SMART status of that drive. In case your PC does not have an in-built SMART support, then some utility software should be set up to help check on the status of SMART on the drives. An important point to note: the hard disk does not generate SMART alerts, it only avails status information. Status data should be regularly checked in order for this feature to be of value.
How SMART works on a hard drive
The SMART drive will monitor the internal performance of the media, motors, heads, and the electronics of the drive. The SMART drives are capable of monitoring various performance factors in order to assess the reliability and therefore be able to predict a future device failure. However, SMART cannot be able to detect all the impending drives failures, thus should just be taken as an advisory service, and not as a substitute for backing up your files regularly.
SMART is a good tool on a hard drive but is not foolproof: it is able to detect some of the problems on the drive but it cannot detect all of them. When SMART fails to generate an alert, do not assume that there is definitely a drive problem, or maybe, that due to lack of an alarm the drive cannot be having a problem. SMART is not a replacement for maintenance or for proper hard disk care, or for current and routine backups.
In case you get to experience a SMART alert using your drive, then you must stop immediately from using it and then contact the drives manufacturer for technical support and instructions. Many companies take SMART alerts as enough evidence that your drive is faulty, and can for that matter issue you with an RMA for its replacement.