Most PC users have no idea about the health of their hard drives. From the user perspective a hard drive generally works one day and the next day it doesn't. When a drive fails it's a catastrophic scramble to get data from the dead drive to a new drive. If users had a means to get a quick snapshot of the health of their drives, this could easily be avoided. No more would administrators have to pay steep costs for data extraction from dead drives. Gone also would be the extended downtime associated with pulling data off a troubled drive.
One tool that suits this task quite well is Acronis Drive Monitor. Although better known for their backup tool, it makes perfect sense that Acronis would create a tool that would enable the user to monitor the health of internal and external drives.
- Operating systems supported: Windows XP (SP2), Vista, 7, Server 2003 (SP2), Server 2008.
- Minimum requirements: Mouse or other pointing device, 256MB of RAM, 1GHz or faster processor.
- Free to download
Who's it for?
Acronis Drive Monitor is for anyone who needs a little help in predicting when an internal or external drive might go bad. Since the vast majority of users tend to forget that drives do go bad eventually, Drive Monitor will either email or display an alert when certain conditions have been met. It's easy to install, easy to set up, and easy to use, so nearly any level of experience can take advantage of this monitor.
What problem does it solve?
Have you ever had a drive go bad BEFORE you had a chance to back it up? Although we would like to think that everyone does regular backups, the truth is quite the opposite. And without knowing the health of your drives, you cannot know when those drives are going to go belly up. Acronis Drive Monitor keeps you apprised of the health of your drives so you can be ready in case of an emergency.
In order to use the email alerts the user will have to have an SMTP server available. If the user only has an Exchange server they might have difficulty getting email alerts working. The other issue is that when there is a problem with a drive the only available solution is to open up a knowledge base article (from Acronis.com) that attempts to show you a solution for the problem. Drive Monitor does not attempt, in any way, to resolve issues other than to reset parameters for a check.
- Automatic disk checks
- Monitors event logs
- Immediate alerts
- Weekly status reports
- RAID support
- Integrates with Acronis Backup and Restore
- Available support
- Monitor using S.M.A.R.T. or a custom script
Bottom line for business
Whether you back up your data or not, you should, without fail, deploy a tool like Drive Monitor to monitor the health of your hard disks. Since the cost of Drive Monitor is free, it's a no brainer! You will find more information about drive issues than you might have ever known existed and, in the end, you will save yourself a lot of time and hassle in avoiding the task of transferring data from dead drives.
Have you encountered or used Acronis Drive Monitor? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.