smartctl – Smartmontools is a hard disk detection tool

Smartmontools is a command-line tool for monitoring and controlling SMART-enabled hard drives. SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a monitoring system built into most modern hard drives that can detect and report various indicators of drive reliability and health. Smartmontools allows users to view and interpret this data, as well as perform various diagnostic and maintenance tasks on the drive.

The basic syntax for using Smartmontools is as follows:

smartctl [options] device

Here, “device” refers to the hard drive device file (e.g. /dev/sda). Some common use cases for Smartmontools include:

  • Checking drive health: smartctl -H /dev/sda
  • Checking drive temperature: smartctl -A /dev/sda | grep Temperature
  • Running a short self-test: smartctl -t short /dev/sda
  • Viewing detailed drive information: smartctl -i /dev/sda


Smartmontools has a wide range of options for controlling and monitoring hard drives. Here is a table of some of the most commonly used options:

Option Description
-a Display all SMART attributes and their values
-c Display the device’s SMART capabilities
-H Display the device’s overall health status
-i Display detailed device information
-l Display the device’s log
-t Perform a self-test
-U Display the device’s attributes in a user-friendly format
-v Set the verbosity level (0-7)

Troubleshooting Tips

Some common issues that users may encounter when using Smartmontools include:

  • Permission errors: Smartmontools requires root privileges to access hard drive device files. Make sure to run the command with sudo or as root.
  • Unsupported drives: Not all hard drives support SMART monitoring. If you receive an error message indicating that the drive does not support SMART, it may be time to upgrade to a newer drive.
  • Inaccurate readings: SMART data can sometimes be misleading or inaccurate. If you suspect that the readings are incorrect, try running a self-test or consulting the drive manufacturer’s documentation.


Smartmontools is a powerful tool for monitoring and controlling hard drives, but it should be used with caution. Improper use of Smartmontools can potentially damage or destroy a hard drive, so be sure to read the documentation carefully and only use the tool if you know what you’re doing. Additionally, keep in mind that SMART data is not always accurate or reliable, and should not be used as the sole indicator of drive health.