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Sometimes SMART parameters can be useful for predicting HDD level of wear.

After a recent HDD crash, I've looked at apps like CrystalInfo and HDD Sentinel, but can you recommend one that is best at running in background and notifying the user about possible problems in as many was as possible (desktop notification, email, ...)?

If Windows-10 can do that on it's own, pointers are welcome as well.

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As far as I know, Windows itself does not monitor SMART status on it's own (though I know at least Windows 7 will notify you if it hits a read or write error on the disk, and I assume newer Windows versions will do so as well). Many modern motherboards have some level of monitoring available (when turned on, they will pause during POST if the overall health assessment reports failed (which usually is long past when you should be replacing the device)).

For third-party stuff though, there are two options I know of for Windows:

  1. CrystalDiskInfo: Freeware, easy to set up, provides a tray icon and notifications, as well as letting you easily check graphs of attribute values. This is what I use on the Windows systems I have that I don't multiboot Linux on, and what I recommend to most people who don't want to go rummaging around on their system to get things set up to their liking.
  2. smartmontools: This is the canonical open source tool for SMART status monitoring and drive testing. The main package is command-line only, though there is an official GUI from a different developer (GSmartControl). If you're willing to get your hands dirty, this is what I would suggest using, as it gives you much better options for direct inspection of device attributes. It's also a better option for server systems, as it provides (with a separate third-party package) email alert capabilities. If you use the Chocolatey package manager, smartmontools can be installed through that (as can GSmartControl, and blat (the package it needs for email notifications).

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