SMARTD, a brief intro …


Whats it?

  • Smartd stands for SMART Disk Monitoring Daemon.
  • smartd is a daemon that monitors the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) system built into many ATA-3 and later ATA, IDE and SCSI-3 hard drives.
  • SMART is a monitoring system for computer hard disks to detect and report on various indicators of reliability, in the hope of anticipating failures.

Smart Developers:

  • Bruce Allen (Initiator and Project Leader)
  • A professor of physics at the U. of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and a Director of the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover
  • Home page is

Windows interface & cygwin package

  • Christian Franke (Developer and Maintainer)?
  • other open source contributions include some small patches for Cygwin and (Firefox/Thunderbird/SeaMonkey and Bugzilla) codebase, a Windows port of hdparm, and a recent Cygwin port of GRUB2.

Other Contributors

  • Casper Dik (Solaris SCSI interface)?
  • Christian Franke (Windows interface and Cygwin package)?
  • Douglas Gilbert (SCSI subsystem)?
  • Guido Guenther (Autoconf/Automake packaging)?
  • Geoffrey Keating (Darwin ATA interface)?
  • Eduard Martinescu (FreeBSD interface)?
  • Frederic L. W. Meunier (Web site and Mailing list)?
  • Keiji Sawada (Solaris ATA interface)?
  • Sergey Svishchev (NetBSD interface)?
  • David Snyder and Sergey Svishchev (OpenBSD interface)?
  • Phil Williams (User interface and drive database)?
  • Shengfeng Zhou (Linux Highpoint RocketRaid interface)?


  • On Debian based systems

# apt-get install smartmontools

  • On rpm based distros

# yum install smartmontools

  • Path


How to check if the harddisk is smart capable?

# smartctl -i /dev/hda

If we get the following output for the above command then its smart capable.

SMART support is: Available – device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

Enable smartd at startup

  • To Enable at bootup

# /sbin/chkconfig –add smartd

  • To disable at bootup

# /sbin/chkconfig –del smartd

Starting & Restarting

  • smartmontools provides a start-up script in

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/smartd which is responsible for starting and stopping

  • start smartd by giving the command:

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/smartd start

  • and stop it by using the command:

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/smartd stop

  • smartd will attempt to enable SMART monitoring on ATA devices and polls these and SCSI devices every 30 minutes (configurable)?
  • The default location for these SYSLOG notifications and warnings is /var/log/messages.
  • smartd can be configured at start-up using the configuration file /usr/local/etc/smartd.conf

Checking overall health

  • Performing a SMART overall-health self-assessment test

# smartctl -Hc /dev/hda

  • For vender specific SMART attributes

# smartctl -A /dev/hda

smartd.conf: sample entries

  • /dev/hda -a m,root@localhost
  • /dev/hdc -a -I 194 -I 5 -i 12 -s L/../../7/03

Checking status using signals

  • the superuser can make smartd check the status of the disks at any time by sending it the SIGUSR1 signal
  • kill -SIGUSR1 <pid>


  • killall -USR1 smartd


  • smartd provides a flexible way by which we can monitor hard disk health.


  • We can only predict a certain percentage (64%) of hardisk failures by smart.
  • Failures that occur abruptly such as defective electronic equipment or mechanical failure may lead to failure of harddrive without any earlier warnings.


Article Authored by Rahul Janak

Author, Rahul, is a Systems Engineer with SupportPRO. Rahul specializes in Level 1 Linux Administration. SupportPRO offers 24X7 technical support services to Web hosting companies and service providers.

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