Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How hot is your hard drive?

The biggest problem on laptops is cooling, because everything is cramped into such a tiny space. What many people don't realise is that if your hard drive overheats it will fail. Catastrophic failure from overheating will lose more data than if you drop your laptop. You could lose everything. It happened to me.
I wish I had found this utility earlier. It's called HDTune, and its most useful feature (for me at least) is that it can tell you the temperature of your hard drive, and warn you if it's getting too hot.
Had I seen this warning message when I first bought my IBM ThinkPad laptop, the drive may never have crashed, and I wouldn't have lost weeks worth of time waiting for it to be fixed and reinstalling everything.
You can also scan your hard drive for errors and see the speed of the drive. I'm not a hardware junkie so this doesn't mean too much to me, and I use Spinrite from time to time to test the drive properly, so all the other data is lost on me. It isn't always able to get the drive temperature from the hard drive hardware. This depends on the hardware itself.
The program is only 392kb in size, and only uses 868kb of RAM when it's running, so it isn't bloatware. For the most part all you see is a small icon in the system tray (next to the time) with a temperature reading. The program can be set to load when you start Windows, and it just works. Brilliant!


Unknown said...

not sure which Thinkpad drive you did these tests in the image posted but I have a 4 or 5 year old model T40 also with a 60gb drive (as in the image) and these are my results, machine is on 24/7 and is constantly processing data/email/ftp's


Donn Edwards said...

Apolofies: the picture wasn't from my ThinkPad, where the drive overheated and crashed completely and had to be replaced within 8 days of first using the laptop.

The picture is from my replacement Acer notebook, because IBM can't fix the overheating problem on my ThinkPad. See the other blog entries for details. It is now running as a Linux Server with a Thermaltake cooling fan to prevent it from overheating.