Hard Disk Sentinel Pro Review
Hard Disk Sentinel Pro Review
HDDs (short for Hard Disk Drive) and SSDs (Solid State Drive) are digital devices which store all the data including the operating system, different programs, drivers, utilities on the one hand and the files stored by a computer user (i.e. photos, videos, text documents, music, and so on) on the other hand. HDDs and SSDs are the most important and essential parts of the computer and they need continuous and precise care and maintenance because if they fail and become unusable you will lose all your precious data. To monitor the status and health of hard and solid state drives Hungarian software developers have created a great tool called Hard Disk Sentinel.
Hard Disk Sentinel Pro is one of the best programs in its class. It is well designed, very functional, supports all kind of drives and includes a lot of useful features. It allows you to find out many details about the technical features of hard and solid state drives; its temperature, health status, etc. Thus, shortly saying, the main aim of the program is to identify, test, diagnose and solve problems related to drives.
Hard Disk Sentinel Pro provides detailed textual description, tips and reports with the most comprehensive information about the HDD and SSD drives installed on your computer or external media (USB flash drives, and so on). There are many different options for alert notifications and reports that help to ensure maximum safety of your valuable data.
Download and Interface
The program can be obtained through the official site. The developer offers three different versions- Standard, Professional and Enterprise. The full comparison list and the main differences between them are shown below on the screenshot.
In principle, the Standard version includes all necessary features which are more than enough for ordinary computer users but the Professional one contains many other tools such as complete surface analysis of disk drives, file compression, etc., and it is nearly the same as the Enterprise version therefore we have chosen it for our review.
The Professional installer is available in both an EXE. and a portable version. I decided to download the portable version for my review. It is offered in a ZIP file and its size is about 21 MB; after extraction it takes up about 30 MB. The trial version is limited meaning that some functions are disabled but it still includes everything needed for testing purposes.
The price of the program is acceptable; only $ 62.50 for a lifetime license. I think the price is worth paying because compared to the price of a large HDD or SSD, which are very expensive, that’s not much at all. Not only does it help you keep an eye on the health of your drives, by doing so it can help you save your precious data when it notices one starting to fail.
At first sight it seems that the interface of the program is a little clumsy and overcrowded. But it is not so. Everything is conveniently and comfortably arranged; every section, every button has its function and purpose.
There is a Menu Bar at the top (it includes six categories- File, Disk, View, Report, Configuration and Help) that provides you with plenty of information from checking for a new version through the current version of the program.
A little below you can see the Command Toolbar for quick access to the main tools of the program. A number of things can be performed with the help of them, for instance, manage, test, save, etc. your physical hard disks.
The main window of the program is divided into two panes; on the left side you can view a list of available physical hard or solid state drives presented on your system and on the right side Hard Disk Sentinel shows some detailed information about them. There are seven tabs: Overview, Temperature, S.M.A.R.T., Information, Log, Disk Performance and Alerts.
Main Features of the program
Hard Disk Sentinel is an ideal solution for data protection; the program can be effectively used to prevent hard and solid state drive data loss caused by an unexpected failure. Thanks to a lot of advanced features it helps you to view and analyze every detail of your drives. Thus, even the smallest problems with them will not be missed by the program.
In this section the program allows you to check your physical drives performance and health. If the selected drive shows up in the green zone it means that your drive is functioning properly and there are no actions you need to take at that time. Basically everything is in an excellent working state. If drives are marked in yellow or red color this means that Hard Drive Sentinel has found some bad sectors or other problems on the drive and informs you about all these issues in detail.
Below the drives health rating it will display some information about the total running time of the drive, roughly estimated remaining lifetime and lifetime writes (SSDs) or total start / stop count (HDDs).
At the bottom of this section is a graphical chart which displays the health of HDD or SSD drives over time if you keep Hard Disk Sentinel running over a length of time. By clicking on a small icon in the form of a floppy disk you can save this graph as a BMP or JPG image.
All the information which is displayed in this section is very important and can be crucial for the proper and safe performance of your PC. As such you can check it on daily basis and immediately backup all your precious data to prevent valuable data loss for good when it shows an alert.
HDDs have a lot of moving parts and when under heavy use they undergo a lot of load. The more we use them the more work they must do and the higher their temperature becomes. With OEM computers in particular, cases are usually tightly packed and could be insufficiently cooled. If you happened to build your own PC this isn’t likely to be as much of an issue but you still might be surprised by what you find in this section.
It will give you detailed information about the temperature of your drives past and present. The program allows you to view:
Today’s average temperature
Today’s maximum temperature
Maximum temperature of entire lifespan of the drive
Maximum temperature ever measured
Minimum temperature ever measured
You can set custom temperature thresholds and specify the percentages for yellow and red temperature limits.
At the bottom you can view current, daily average, daily maximum and daily minimum temperature of the disk in the graphical form which can be saved as an image file.
Very often the price of lost data is much higher than the price of the actual HDD or SSD. Unfortunately, disk failure might occur suddenly. Data restoration is very expensive and it does not have an absolute guarantee of success. Therefore all modern drives are equipped with self-diagnostic system called S.M.A.R.T. which monitors the performance and health of the drives and alerts you in the event of any failure to prevent data loss.
S.M.A.R.T. is short for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology. Hard Disk Sentinel uses this technology and gives you a lot of information about every aspect of your drives, for instance, Raw Read error rate, Drive Power Cycle Count and many others.(see the screenshot below).
For each attribute the program displays a graphical chart below with thorough statistics and reports. You have also an opportunity to copy the entire page to your clipboard and save it in to a text file.
This section contains detailed and thorough information about all disk drives installed on your system. The program provides you with the following information:
Hard Disk Summary
Serial ATA Features
For all problems found in HDD and SSD disks installed on your system the program creates detailed log files and saves them in this section. Unfortunately, this feature is available only in the registered version; therefore if you want to take full advantage of this function you should register Hard Disk Sentinel.
Logs are a very important feature of the program because you are able to view thorough info about every problem found on your system and take all necessary actions for correcting them.
In this section you can view your disk performance in real-time. The program constantly monitors disk data rate information, namely, Total data read, Total data write, Current transfer rate, and so forth (see the screenshot below).
At the bottom there are two graphs which show Disk Activity and Transfer Rate of your disks.
The program can generate the alerts, for example, when the disk is overheated or its health has reached a lower level. These alerts are collected here in the form of a list and grouped by date and event.
The program allows you to perform tests on your drives. There are several test types- Short Self-Test, Extended Self-Test and Conveyance Self-Test.
These three test types belong to a group of so-called non-destructive tests, i.e. during tests no data will be modified or erased.
Short Self-test takes only minutes to complete. The program tests the major components of the disk, for instance, read and write heads, etc.
Extended Self-test thoroughly examines all components of the disk.
Conveyance Self-test deals with the mechanical parts of the disk.
Hard Disk Sentinel can fully test the surface of your HDD. Some of them are safe for the stored data, but others are destructive, i.e. all the stored information will be permanently erased during the testing process.
You must first select a hard drive and the type of test that will be performed. A detailed description of the test is displayed after selecting. It informs you about its impact on the stored data. It is strongly recommended that you carefully read this information before starting the tests.
The following tests are available:
Write + Read Test
Read + Write + Read Test
Reinitialize Disk Surface
All information obtained through the program can be saved as text or HTML reports.
The program also has a very rich set of configurations. You can configure a wide range of settings, for example, Preferences, Status, Window, and so on (see the screenshots below).
The thresholds/icon temperatures in particular can be helpful if your drive has overheated before and you want to keep an eye on it.
The Operations area even includes a ‘Panic backup’ section where you can set up rules created in the ‘project’ section for any hard disk or just a specific one in the event an alert from the ‘Alerts’ area is triggered. This could be anything from launching a specific program in order to initiate a backup or uploading files to an ftp server. You can begin burning an optical disc with specific data, send an email containing a certain file, start creation of a compressed archive, etc..
Hard Disk Sentinel is a recognized and advanced solution for monitoring HDD and SSD drives. The program has a lot of features to help users monitor the use of disk space and temperature. It allows you to create and schedule jobs, do automatic backups, view S.M.A.R.T. attributes of the disks, configure different types of alerts, generate reports. You can customize the keyboard shortcuts, protect the program with password, etc. It won’t prevent a drive from failing but in many cases it can give you a warning in time and allow you to backup up your data elsewhere before the actual failure occurs.
Hard Disk sentinel is a real must-have for every computer user. I strongly recommend it!
1. Full control of disk temperature and status
2. Full support of S.M.A.R.T. technology
3. Disk tests
4. Full customization and detailed reports
And many others