SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) allows you to gather and assess if a hard drive has or is near failure. On Debian and Ubuntu based systems (including both flavors of Mint) the smartmontools package contains everything you need to check your drives.
It’s usually a good idea to make sure your Linux distrobution’s repositories are up to date:
sudo apt-get update
Start by installing the smartmontools package to give you access to the utilities to check your hard drive from the command line:
sudo apt-get install smartmontools
Once the package is installed, you can start checking your hard drives. It’s a good idea to run a short test first. To do this type the command below, replacing /dev/sda with your hard drive.
smartctl --test=short /dev/sda
The command will tell you how long it is going to take to test the drive. Normally this is only a few minutes for a short test but can be hours for a longer one:
=== START OF OFFLINE IMMEDIATE AND SELF-TEST SECTION ===
Sending command: “Execute SMART Short self-test routine immediately in off-line mode”.
Drive command “Execute SMART Short self-test routine immediately in off-line mode” successful.
Testing has begun.
Please wait 2 minutes for test to complete.
Once you’ve waited for the drive test to finish you can check the health status of your hard drive. Your first option is a summary telling you if it’s passed or failed:
smartctl -H /dev/sda
If you want more information on the status of your hard drive you can run the following command:
smartctl -a /dev/sda
In the event you find anything you’d consider to be suspicious or your hard drive has been acting strangely you can run a longer test, but this usually takes a few hours to complete:
smartctl --test=long /dev/sda
It’s important to note that a SMART test is only one indication of a failing hard drive. You could test a drive and it pass but still fail the following day. Clicking noises are a good indication of a hard drive that has or is about to fail. You should always have a good backup of all of your data. If your hard drive does fail your disk provider may have tools available on their website to allow you to check them or require you to provide information for an RMA.