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The Seagate Barracuda in my 2011 iMac started to have hard drive failures.

However, disk utility and system information report S.M.A.R.T. status: verified

DiskUtility SystemInformation

I've retrieved detailed information using smartctl from https://www.smartmontools.org/:

smartctl 6.7 2018-08-20 r4761 [Darwin 15.6.0 x86_64] (daily-20180820)
Copyright (C) 2002-18, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
Device Model:     ST31000528AS
Serial Number:    5VPAE0WQ
LU WWN Device Id: 5 000c50 044e5e5f4
Firmware Version: AP63
User Capacity:    1,000,204,886,016 bytes [1.00 TB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Rotation Rate:    7200 rpm
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 4
SATA Version is:  SATA 2.6, 3.0 Gb/s
Local Time is:    Thu Aug 23 12:42:35 2018 CEST

==> WARNING: A firmware update for this drive may be available,
see the following Seagate web pages:
http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/207931en
http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/213891en

SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
See vendor-specific Attribute list for marginal Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82) Offline data collection activity
                    was completed without error.
                    Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                    without error or no self-test has ever 
                    been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:        (  600) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:            (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                    Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                    Suspend Offline collection upon new
                    command.
                    Offline surface scan supported.
                    Self-test supported.
                    Conveyance Self-test supported.
                    Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                    power-saving mode.
                    Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                    General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:    (   1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:    ( 171) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:    (   2) minutes.
SCT capabilities:          (0x103f) SCT Status supported.
                    SCT Error Recovery Control supported.
                    SCT Feature Control supported.
                    SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000e   083   077   006    Old_age   Always       -       70023408
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       419
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       2
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   080   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       109788937
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   055   055   000    Old_age   Always       -       40043
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       394
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0032   100   100   099    Old_age   Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       3500
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       4295032833
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   053   042   045    Old_age   Always   In_the_past 47 (Min/Max 46/47 #3224)
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   047   058   000    Old_age   Always       -       47 (0 13 0 0 0)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   042   015   000    Old_age   Always       -       70023408
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   098   097   000    Old_age   Always       -       109
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   098   097   000    Old_age   Offline      -       109
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 3500 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
    CR = Command Register [HEX]
    FR = Features Register [HEX]
    SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
    SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
    CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
    CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
    DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
    DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
    ER = Error register [HEX]
    ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 3500 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 40041 hours (1668 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:49.306  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      22:15:49.303  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      22:15:49.266  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 a0 00      22:15:49.265  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      22:15:49.265  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]

Error 3499 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 40041 hours (1668 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:46.313  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:46.313  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      22:15:46.310  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      22:15:46.309  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 46 00 00 00 a0 00      22:15:46.309  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]

Error 3498 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 40041 hours (1668 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: WP at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  61 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:43.320  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:43.317  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:43.317  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:43.317  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      22:15:43.314  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]

Error 3497 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 40041 hours (1668 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:40.378  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:40.378  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:40.378  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:40.378  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      22:15:40.375  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]

Error 3496 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 40041 hours (1668 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:37.423  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:37.423  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:37.422  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:37.422  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      22:15:37.422  READ FPDMA QUEUED

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

This does not look very good: pending, uncorrectable sectors, logged errors.

Loading the output on Linux into GSmartControl:

GSmartControl

So I'm wondering:

  1. I have a broken hard drive that results in read/write and file system failures
  2. S.M.A.R.T. attributes confirm that the drive is broken

Why does my iMac still report a verified S.M.A.R.T. status ?

  • 1
    I don't know exactly what if anything "verified" means, but can confirm that it doesn't mean the drive is OK. I've seen several clearly failing drives that showed "verified" status, including one that sounded disturbingly like a coffee grinder when running. – Gordon Davisson Aug 24 '18 at 17:19
  • I'm not sure, but "verified" may mean just that the data could be retrieved. Not verified would mean that the utility was unable to get the data. But just a guess. – fixer1234 Jul 30 at 4:29

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