SMART tests with smartctl

Installation of Smartmontools

The Smartmontools can be installed on Ubuntu using the package sources:

sudo apt-get install smartmontools

To ensure the hard disk supports SMART and is enabled, use the following command (in this example for the hard disk /dev/sdc):

sudo smartctl -i /dev/sdc

Example Output:

smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [x86_64-linux-3.5.0-39-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
 
=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital RE4 Serial ATA
Device Model:     WDC WD5003ABYX-01WERA1
Serial Number:    WD-WMAYP5453158
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 00385d526
Firmware Version: 01.01S02
User Capacity:    500,107,862,016 bytes [500 GB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Mon Sep  2 14:06:57 2013 CEST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

The last two lines are the most important as these indicate whether SMART support is available and enabled.

Available Tests

SMART offers two different tests, according to specification type, for and SCSI devices.[1] Each of these tests can be performed in two modes:

  • Foreground Mode
  • Background Mode

In Background Mode the priority of the test is low, which means the normal instructions continue to be processed by the hard disk. If the hard drive is busy, the test is paused and then continues at a lower load speed, so there is no interruption of the operation.
In Foreground Mode all commands will be answered during the test with a “CHECK CONDITION” status. Therefore, this mode is only recommended when the hard disk is not used. In principle, the background mode is the preferred mode.

ATA/SCSI Tests

Short Test

The goal of the short test is the rapid identification of a defective hard drive. Therefore, a maximum run time for the short test is 2 min. The test checks the disk by dividing it into three different segments. The following areas are tested:

  • Electrical Properties: The controller tests its own electronics, and since this is specific to each manufacturer, it cannot be explained exactly what is being tested. It is conceivable, for example, to test the internal RAM, the read/write circuits or the head electronics.
  • Mechanical Properties: The exact sequence of the servos and the positioning mechanism to be tested is also specific to each manufacturer.
  • Read/Verify: It will read a certain area of ​​the disk and verify certain data, the size and position of the region that is read is also specific to each manufacturer.

Long Test

The long test was designed as the final test in production and is the same as the short test with two differences. The first: there is no time restriction and in the Read/Verify segment the entire disk is checked and not just a section. The Long test can, for example, be used to confirm the results of the short tests.

ATA specified Tests

All tests listed here are only available for ATA hard drives.

Conveyance Test

This test can be performed to determine damage during transport of the hard disk within just a few minutes.

Select Tests

During selected tests the specified range of LBAs is checked. The LBAs to be scanned are specified in the following formats:

sudo smartctl -t select,10-20 /dev/sdc #LBA 10 to LBA 20 (incl.)
sudo smartctl -t select,10+11 /dev/sdc #LBA 10 to LBA 20 (incl.)

It is also possible to have multiple ranges, (up to 5), to scan:

sudo smartctl -t select,0-10 -t select,5-15 -t select,10-20 /dev/sdc

Test procedure with smartctl

Before performing a test, an approximate indication of the time duration of the various tests are displayed using the following command:

sudo smartctl -c /dev/sdc

Example output:

[...]
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time: 	 (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time: 	 (  83) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time: 	 (   5) minutes.
[...]

The following command starts the desired test (in Background Mode):

sudo smartctl -t <short|long|conveyance|select> /dev/sdc

It is also possible to perform an “offline” test.[2] However, only of the standard self test (Short Test) is performed.

Example output:

smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [x86_64-linux-3.5.0-39-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
 
=== START OF OFFLINE IMMEDIATE AND SELF-TEST SECTION ===
Sending command: "Execute SMART Short self-test routine immediately in off-line mode".
Drive command "Execute SMART Short self-test routine immediately in off-line mode" successful.
Testing has begun.
Please wait 2 minutes for test to complete.
Test will complete after Mon Sep  2 15:32:30 2013
 
Use smartctl -X to abort test.

To perform the tests in Foreground Mode a “-C” must be added to the command.

sudo smartctl -t <short|long|conveyance|select> -C /dev/sdc

Viewing the Test Results

In general, the test results are included in the output of the following commands:

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdc

Example:

[...]
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2089         -
# 2  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      2087         -
# 3  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2084         -
 
SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
[...]

The following command can also be used, if only the test results should are displayed:

sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sdc

Example output:

smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [x86_64-linux-3.5.0-39-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
 
=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2089         -
# 2  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      2087         -
# 3  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2084         -
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s