A hard drive is a delicate piece of engineering. The magnetic platters inside a drive spin at thousands of revolutions per minute, with read/write heads skimming over their surfaces thousands of times a second.

If anything fails in this high-precision setup, the effects to your data can be catastrophic, so it’s a good idea to perform routine checks to ensure smooth running. Hard Disk Sentinel does just that. Here’s how to install and run this invaluable piece of software.

Check out the video above to find out how to install and run the software.

 

Step 1: Download and install Hard Disk Sentinel

Step 1: Download and install Hard Disk Sentinel

Hard Disk Sentinel is a paid-for application, but you can download a demo version that’s free to use for 30 days.

Go to www.hdsentinel.com/download.php and click the download link for Hard Disk Sentinel. Unzip the downloaded file and run the hdsentinel_pro_setup.exe file, keeping the default settings. The application should launch automatically when the installation has finished.

 

Step 2: Check the health of your hard drive

Step 2: Check the health of your hard drive

Hard Disk Sentinel’s interface looks complex, but little of it is required for basic use. In fact all you really need to be concerned with is the information at the top of the Overview tab — the status of the current hard drive’s performance and health. Select the hard drive to check in the left of the application window (if there’s more than one) to see these.

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Step 3: Monitor hard drive temperature

Step 3: Monitor hard drive temperature

Hard drives get hot in use and, since they’re sensitive to high temperatures, it’s sensible to keep an eye on this. Hard Disk Sentinel shows more information about the selected drive’s state on its Temperature tab and it will warn you if a safe limit is exceeded. If the temperatures on this tab are consistently high, consider improving the cooling system of your PC.

 

Step 4: Check the hard drive’s SMART status

Step 4: Check the hard drive’s SMART status

Hard drives have a set of built-in diagnostic checks called SMART (short for Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology) that keep tabs on many aspects of performance. Click the S.M.A.R.T. tab in Hard Disk Sentinel and you can view this list of checks, although they may not make much sense.

Any item in the list that doesn’t have an ‘OK’ status indicates a problem, but it’s better to trust Hard Disk Sentinel’s automatic monitoring of these results - it will warn you if any are abnormal.

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Step 5: Perform a diagnostic hardware test

Step 5: Perform a diagnostic hardware test

If you’re concerned about the health of your hard drive, Hard Disk Sentinel can perform a hardware test that takes a couple of minutes to complete. Activate it by heading to the Disk menu and selecting Short Self-Test. If your hard drive fails this test, running Extended Self-Test can identify and potentially fix the problem, but you’ll need to buy the application for that. It’s

Hard Disk Sentinel also offers other tests that can help pinpoint specific hard drive problems. These are all detailed in its Help system.

 

Step 6: Leave Hard Disk Sentinel running in the background

Step 6: Leave Hard Disk Sentinel running in the background

Hard Disk Sentinel starts automatically with Windows and displays an icon showing the current hard drive temperature in your Windows Notification Area - just click this to open the application.

The application also adds a small status indicator to Windows’ hard drive icons for easy reference - a green tick means all is well.

Do you perform checks on your hard drive? Let us know in the Comments below.