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Please recommend Windows software that can read S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology; often written as SMART) values from hard disk drives (HDDs) that are connected via USB.

Requirements:

  • Detect and read values from hard drives connected via USB (including USB 3.x)
  • Compatible with Windows 7
  • Gratis

What I've tried (and surprised they didn't successfully detect USB-connected hard drives during testing):

  • NirSoft's DiskSmartView v1.21
  • HDD Guardian v0.71

Note that, during testing, both of these tools worked excellently for SATA-connected drives.

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    As far as I know the software is not the problem but the used USB-SATA adapter. If the adapter does not pass the SMART data then then the software can not display them.
    – Robert
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:35
  • @Robert Thanks for your comment. Do USB HDDs plugged directly into a motherboard's USB ports go through a USB-SATA adapter? Jul 11, 2022 at 18:31
  • No most USB HDDs are just an SATA HDD plus SATA to USB adapter. Only a few HDDs directly have a controller that speaks USB. So the adapter is not on Mainboard but integrated in the HDD enclosure.
    – Robert
    Jul 11, 2022 at 20:43
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    @Robert Ah, so you're saying it may likely be an enclosure issue (meaning the adapter chip in the enclosure doesn't support passing SMART data). It seems odd because the external drives have Western Digital factory (sealed) enclosures, and IIRC WD has been a proponent of SMART values since early on. I wonder if specialized WD software can read the values. Jul 12, 2022 at 1:21
  • @Robert BTW, do you know of any external SATA->USB HDD cases that support SMART values? If so, I can post a question over on Hardware Recommendations SE. Jul 12, 2022 at 1:22

2 Answers 2

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A list of USB to SATA bridges that support passing through SMART commands is provided at https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/USB. This is not specifically a list of cases or docks, but the chipsets that those use inside. Unfortunately, it's often difficult to determine the chipsets inside a USB case or dock until you have it in your possession and can either inspect it via software or physically, since manufacturers publishing the details of the chipsets their products use is hit or miss.

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Gsmartcontrol works well. I've been using it for many years. Download it here: https://gsmartcontrol.shaduri.dev/downloads

I've used it regularly on Windows and Linux.

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