So if your hard disk health is of concern, here’s a quick way to figure out if there’s an issue. I will assume (in this case) that the computer has no operating system, but the utility can be used even if it does. Below is a step-by-step tutorial on how to test the health of your hard disk using an ubuntu live cd.
Here are the steps:
- Boot from your live cd.
- Now when you’re at your desktop you’ll want to bring up the terminal (see figure below).
- Now with your terminal open you’ll need to install the disk utility we’ll be using. So in the terminal, type:
sudo apt-get install smartmontools
- It’ll throw up a whole bunch of crazy computer stuff. It’ll likely ask you if you want to install it (and a whole bunch of other packages) type y and hit enter. See below:
- Very good, now let’s check to make sure your hard drive is coherent and uses S.M.A.R.T.. SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology and basically stores info about your hard drive’s performance. To make sure your hard drive is using it (it almost certainly is) go ahead and type:
sudo smartctl -i /dev/sda
/dev/sda is the path to what is likely your primary hard disk. This isn’t always the case, especially if you have multiple drives which could be sdb sdc or something else. For those in that situation, I feel safe assuming that you know which one you’re after.
- If it’s available and enabled, you’re good to go.
- If it’s available but not enabled type
sudo smartctl -s on /dev/sda
and carry on.
- If it’s not available and therefore not enabled, this tutorial won’t be of much help to you.
- Now, time to test do a long test. Place the computer somewhere where it won’t be disturbed and type:
sudo smartctl -t long /dev/sda
- After waiting for the recommended amount of time, come back and type:
sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda
and it wil give you the stats on its latest tests. If those stats are blank, it just needs some more time.
That should give you all the info you need to determine if your drive is toast.