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I love my MBP, but I constantly hear the disk spinning up and down. I can't find something similar to smartctl in linux to monitor my load cycles. I don't want to burn my disk out in a year. Can someone recommend an alternative?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you're looking for programs to monitor the SMART status on your hard drive:

  • Disk Utility in your Utilities folder. Click on the hardware (not the partition) and at the bottom you'll see S.M.A.R.T. Status as either Verified (Good) or Failed.
  • SMARTReporter - lives in your menu bar and will give you the SMART status of any drive connected.

If you want a Mac version of smartctl there is an older GUI app that includes 5.38 called smartctl as well. The other alternative is to either compile it from source or use one of the several packaging projects available for Mac OS X.

Additionally if you're worried about the amount your hard drive is spinning down and having to spin back up you can turn off "Put hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" in the Energy Saver Preference Pane in System Preferences.

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is there any easy way to just get the load cycle count? – hvgotcodes Aug 7 '10 at 1:19
If you have smartctl linked above installed: PATH/TO/ -a disk0 | grep 193 | awk {'print $NF'} (No need to have the application running). You could couple this with GeekTool – Chealion Aug 7 '10 at 2:53

If you have Homebrew, Macports, or Fink they have a package called smartmontools which includes smartctl. Install one of those package managers and install that package.

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i do have macports. I am quite used to smartmontools, but am wondering how safe it would be to run on a mac. Plus I don't really want to 'corrupt' my mac install with OSS. Maybe I should't think that way... – hvgotcodes Aug 9 '10 at 14:46
Ah, it's not corrupting it at all. MacPorts is supplementing it. Hell, Webkit is OSS and pretty much the entirety of the Unix underpennings are OSS. Point is, you're already pretty corrupted! Now, as for Macports, it already segregates it's own installs of unix software into /opt. Installing stuff in Macports does not touch the Apple supplied underlying OS X system unix underpinnings. – crazysim Aug 10 '10 at 0:34
Out of curiosity, I ran it and I got this. 193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0012 001 001 000 Old_age Always - 1392024 3 years old Macbook 2007. No conservation plan for cycles. Backups, daily and tested of course. Honestly, I couldn't care less if it died because whatever the price of a 120GB 2.5" SATA is right now is nothing. Conclude whatever you want. – crazysim Aug 10 '10 at 0:46

If you want to see what may be writing to disk:

fseventr -- GUI for FSEvents

sudo rwsnoop -v -- at the commandline; uses DTrace to monitor which processes read/write to disk, also try sudo iosnoop and sudo fs_usage -e -f filesys as other ways to probe what is going on. You may need to pipe output to a textfile for better analysis...

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