How To Be Warned Of Impending Hard Drive Failure

Justin Pot 25-04-2012

Don’t let a dying hard drive on your Mac catch you by surprise. Be warned before anything happens to your precious data. SmartReporter is a free application for your Mac that can warn you of hard drives problems, thanks to S.M.A.R.T. data. This gives you a heads up, because errors on a hard drive can mean problems are coming soon.


Your warning can come in the form of a Growl popup, an alert dialogue or even an email. Find out if your hard drive has problems before it’s too late to ensure all of your data is backed up 5 Local Mac Backup Solutions That Aren't Time Machine There are lots of Mac backup options out there, and many of them have features that Apple's default backup app just can't compete with. Read More , because professional file recovery is expensive.

Hard drives are amazing. They spin extremely fast all the time so that you can create and access data, but everything that moves that quickly and that frequently will break down at some point. We’ve taught you the 5 signs your hard drive might be dying 5 Signs Your Hard Drive Is Failing (And What to Do) Since a majority of people today own laptops and external hard drives, which get dragged around quite a bit, a realistic hard drive lifetime is probably around 3 - 5 years. This is an extremely... Read More , and shown you the tools Windows users can use to predict the death of a hard drive 4 Tools To Predict and Prevent Hard Drive Failure f there is one piece of equipment in your computer that you would predict to fail first, what would it be? Read More . We’ve even shown you how to use a Ubuntu Live CD to check your hard drive’s health 4 Reasons Every Windows User Should Have An Ubuntu Live CD Read More .

What we haven’t done is shown you a Mac tool for warning you about hard drive decline. SmartReporter is that tool, and it’s remarkably easy to set up and use.

Using SmartReporter

Start up SmartReporter for the first time and the software will scan your hard drives. Once that’s done, you’ll see your drives along with a little bit of information:

hard drive failure mac


If you’re the curious type, you can check out the specific tests run to determine whether or not your drive is healthy. It may however seem cryptic to you.

hard drive failure

Are you confused by all of this gibberish? Don’t be overwhelmed- it’s just a list of tests being done on your drive. A quick review of what S.M.A.R.T. data What Is Data Corruption? How to Fix a Corrupted Hard Drive Data corruption can destroy the data on your HDD, so it's wise to keep backups. Too late? Find out how to repair your hard drive. Read More is can be helpful, but basically you need to know that errors on the disk are a sign that things might go wrong soon.

Does an error guarantee that something will go wrong? No, but if you’re seeing errors, there’s a higher chance the drive may die soon. You don’t necessarily need to buy a new hard drive right away, but if you’ve been putting off backing up, now might be a good time.


So if something is going wrong, you’ll want a warning. As I said earlier, there are a few options for this:

hard drive failure

Set up whatever warnings your heart desires; you can even run a certain program if you want. SmartReporter will also run in your tray, where you can access it and the information it offers whenever you like:

hard drive failure mac


The icon will even change color depending on the health of your drives, giving you yet another way to stay up-to-date regarding their health.

Download SmartReporter

Ready to install this program? Click here to download SmartReporter. There’s a universal binary, and even a binary for users of OS X 10.3. That’s really old, so chances are if you have a Mac that’s up and running you can install SmartReporter.


If your data is important to you, it’s important you be aware of the health of your hard drive. Macs aren’t magical – the hard drive inside them can fail, just like any drive. Software like this can give you a warning, but it’s not enough. Make sure you’re backing up your data regularly to avoid losing anything forever.

Do you know of another way to be warned of imminent hard drive failure on your Mac? Fill me in in the comments below, where you can also feel free to ask questions.


Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Hard Drive, Notification.

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  1. imamac
    April 26, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Just checked it out. The latest version is not free. But they do offer an older "Lite" version at no cost, but it is no longer supported.

    • Justin Pot
      April 26, 2012 at 5:05 am

      They must have noticed I wrote this up, and wanted to make me look stupid. Oh well, at least there is still the "Lite" version. Thanks for commenting!