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I have a WD Elements drive that I use for Time Machine backups, I used Disk Utility to verify the disk, it found errors and I tried repairing it, which failed, so I reformatted the drive and it appears to be working for now... However when I attempt to verify the disk again via Disk Utility, it quickly spits back a response stating that everything is fine.

I am looking for SMART testing software that thoroughly tests the drive for errors. I checked out the downloads that WD offers for this drive but they only have this sort of diagnostic tool for Windows, whereas I need one for Mac OS X Lion. Every SMART diagnostic tool I have come across states that it supports Leopard/Snow Leopard.

Can anyone help me out here? Thanks in advance.

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3 Answers

I think I'd have to agree and disagree with both of the other previous posters, more or less.

What you did was you likely had a sector go bad on your drive, so you reformatted it and during this process the bad sector got remapped to a spare sector.

Of the tools mentioned, as far as I'm concerned, Scannerz is probably the best hard drive tool on the market. It doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. It analyzes both the drive surface and mechanicals, and provides warnings that point out problems other miss. It is NOT new, it's almost 2 years old I think and I noticed it went up in price. They used to have a USB launchable version that I guess they got rid of.

I wouldn't dismiss SMART reporting and "Smart Reporter" is, like Kurt said, a good choice. There are some SMART reporters out there that are commercial and flat out don't work. One of them actually interprets SMART data erroneously. I wouldn't be terribly alarmed if a SMART report showed some errors, but it shouldn't be misinterpreting them or reporting false errors.

A lot of the tools on the market for drives are getting really pretty old and they're outdated, and some of them appear to do nothing more than serve as interfaces to utilities that have long been on the OS. I'd say a good suite for handling problems would be:

a. Scannerz for hard drive scanning. b. SMART Reporter for SMART evaluation c. Disk Warrior for fixing indexing problems.

Disk Warrior hasn't been mentioned yet, and I don't even know if people still have indexing problems on their drives. I haven't for years, but some people swear by it.

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Here's a couple tools that I've used for SMART on OSX Lion, both of which will do at a minimum SMART tests. The second is a full suite, of diagnostic and optimization tools.

  1. General SMART utility - Smart Reporter

  2. Full featured disk repair utility - Drive Genius 3

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Check out Scannerz at http://www.scsc-online.com. Scannerz is a new tool that's supposed to be hardware oriented. It can not only do the regular surface scan other tools do, but it also has test procedures in the manual to help isolate problems that appear to be drive related but are in fact related to cabling or the drives control circuitry itself.

I was having problems with erratic behavior on a Firewire drive and other tools would give me a "pass" on one test, then a "fail" on another. The Scannerz users manual told me how to use the tool to evaluate the the system. Turned out the Firewire cable had an intermittent contact or break in it.

SMART, by the way isn't, IMHO, very good. It's erratically implemented across the board. I have an old Titanium with a 100G internal IDE drive that gets used for e-mail and light web work. The SMART software I use has been telling me that the drive is about to fail any minute....it's been telling me that for 3 years now. This is really an old klunker machine that gets used for odds and ends, so if the drive goes I don't care, but I was greatly surprised that several SMART implementations have been warning me so long about such a non-event.

Also, on Macs, SMART won't work on external drives, only internal drives. At least that's the way it is with USB and Firewire. Maybe it's different for Thunderbolt I/O. You might want to check the Wikipedia write up on SMART.

Hope that helps.

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