Does SMART know best?

Gene Heskett gene.heskett at
Sun Feb 3 18:14:05 UTC 2008

On Sunday 03 February 2008, Timothy Murphy wrote:
>I've been getting more and more serious warnings from smartd on a computer
>(one I hardly ever use, though I do use it for backups),
>eg in /var/log/messages
>Feb  3 14:59:12 blanche smartd[2624]: Device: /dev/sda, FAILED SMART
>self-check. BACK UP DATA NOW!
>Feb  3 14:59:12 blanche smartd[2624]: Device: /dev/sda, 2554 Currently
>unreadable (pending) sectors
>Feb  3 14:59:12 blanche smartd[2624]: Device: /dev/sda, 11353 Offline
>uncorrectable sectors
>The number of Offline uncorrectable sectors increases each day,
>though the number of Currently unreadable sectors is more or less constant.
>smartctl has been telling me for several days
>that the drive has only one more day to live ...
>SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: FAILED!
>Drive failure expected in less than 24 hours. SAVE ALL DATA.
>The computer seems to me to be working perfectly
>under Fedora-8 and Windows.
>Does Smartd know better than me ...?
>As a matter of interest, could I replace this ATA/IDE disk with a SATA disk?
>If the end of the world really is nigh.
>Incidentally, I see from smartctl that the drive
>is almost 3 years old:
>Error 20419 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 26309 hours (1096 days + 5
>Is it mean of me to suspect that the manufacturer
>tells smart to issue these messages when the warranty is running out ...?
I have drives older than that.
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   062   062   000    Old_age   
Always       -       27922
And I'm booting from it...

My instant reaction is that the drive really is about to die, and its advice 
to pull your data is excellent advice.  Usually once a head failure starts, 
the disk surface is damaged also, and the remaining life can be only minutes 
if everything all lines up.
>Timothy Murphy
>e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/
>tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
>s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

Cheers, Gene
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 soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
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A:	The impossible dream.

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