How to Check Mac Disk Drive Health Accurately

drive-monitorIt is always a good practice to check your Mac status on a regular basis. Time to time information about the Mac status and its performance helps in analyzing the health of the Mac system. This helps in keeping the system optimized at any time as well as in avoiding any future issues.

Although Mac machines do not fail often, any mishandling or improper use of the machine can lead to various performance related issues. A user might experience slow system start-up, heating, and bad sectors on the hard drive due to lack of proper maintenance and care. However, Mac system comes with many Mac disk check tools to ensure optimal performance at all times. A Mac user can make use of such tools for optimizing Mac performance, checking Mac drive health, drive partitioning, cloning, and more.

Mac Disk Utility is a powerful all-in-one inbuilt tool to perform all the above mentioned tasks. You can use this utility to verify hard disks (internal and external) for bad sectors, to check Mac health, and more. On the basis of the results, you can make the required changes or take appropriate actions to avoid any future failure. For example, by knowing about the presence of bad sectors on the hard drive, you can conclude that the Mac drive is going to fail. However, the Disk Utility cannot fix the things that are already failing in your Mac drive.

Checking Hard Drive Health

Checking hard drive health is very simple with Disk Utility. The Disk Utility makes use of a verification process to tell about the drives health. You can follow the below mentioned steps to check drive’s health using Disk Utility.

  1. Navigate to the /Applications/Utilities folder and launch Disk Utility
  2. From the left side menu select the Mac hard drive
  3. Click on the ‘First Aid’ tab
  4. From the lower right corner, click on ‘Verify Disk’ and let it run

Once the Disk Utility verifies the Mac hard drive, it pops up a message about the drives health. The Disk Utility uses a color coding scheme to display messages telling about their severity. A message that appears in black indicates everything is normal and a red message indicates something is wrong. While the Disk Utility analyzes the Mac hard drive it shows a series of messages indicating what is happening in each and every step.

  • Verifying partition map for ‘APPLE Media’
  • Checking prerequisites
  • Checking the partition list
  • Checking for an EFI system partition
  • Checking the EFI system partition’s size
  • Checking the EFI system partition’s file system
  • Checking all HFS data partition loader spaces
  • Checking Core Storage Physical Volume partitions

Finally, the following message is displayed, indicating that there are no issues with the partition.

  • The partition map appears to be OK

However, in case you get any message indicating some error, then you might have to repair the Mac disk. You might also get a red message with some lines of errors like ‘This disk needs to be repaired’. To overcome such situations, click on the ‘Repair Disk’ button to start the repair process. In case of the boot disk, this option will not work. You can run the ‘Repair Disk’ option by rebooting into the recovery HD partition. You need to follow the below mentioned steps to do that. Note: It is strongly recommended to backup your drive before performing the steps.

  1. Hold down the Command+R button while reboot the Mac
  2. Choose the ‘Recovery HD; option from the boot menu
  3. From the Mac OS X Utilities screen, choose the ‘Disk Utility’ option
  4. Choose the hard drive and click the ‘First Aid’ tab
  5. Click on the ‘Repair Disk’ option

Once done, the issue would be resolved and you can boot he OS X normally as before. However, Disk Utility is not considered to be a complete tool to determine drive health. There are various other professional tools like ‘Stellar Drive Monitor’ that can efficiently and accurately monitor Mac hard disk status. You can follow the below mentioned steps to monitor disk activities and display its fitness level.

  1. Launch ‘Stellar Drive Monitor’. This would display the main interface of the software.
  2. Click ‘Continue’ to proceed.
  3. The next screen allows you to select a hard drive or volume to see a summarized information, detailed information and SMART for overall health.
  4. Select a partition or a disk and choose any of the following options: SMART Status, Scan, or Drive Performance.
  5. Click ‘SMART’ to see the attributes of the corresponding disk. The attributes displayed on the screen can also be saved as a log file by clicking on the ‘Save log’ button.

Note: The SMART feature cannot be used for volumes.

  1. Click ‘General Stats’ to see a general description of the selected disk or volume. You can also save this information as a log file.

Note: This feature can be used for both disks and volumes

  1. Click ‘Full Description’ to get the basic information about the disks and volumes. You can use the ‘Save Log’ option to save the entire information as a text file.

Note: You can click the ‘Scan’ button on the main interface to perform scanning of the drive and identify healthy and the bad blocks. This software uses a color coding scheme to do this.

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