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Does SMART usually give adequate stats to predict an HDD failure?

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Jul 20, 2002
After someone here suggested replacing my Seagate HDD because it had a steadily increasing number of reallocated sectors I've been checking my HDD's SMART stats regularly. There are other SMART stats that speedfan marks as critical so I also check those. In general will one or more SMART stats go critical or begin displaying anomalies before a HDD completely fails?
No. SMART isn't as smart as you might think. It's one way of monitoring a drive and possibly avoid a impending failure, but it's not reliable for that. I've had drives suddenly fail with zero SMART errors or alerts. I've had drives develop bad sectors that steadily increased with SMART warning of failure, then stopped (developing bad sectors), and continued to work for years after without any more problems.

Btw, increasing reallocated sectors on a Seagate drive means it's time to replace it. It will just continue to increase till it finally fails. Knowing the signs of failure for each drive manufacturer helps with making a decision when you see any SMART errors. Generally though, reallocated sectors that increase over time is definitely one indicator of a failing drive across all manufacturers.
I think I can see your point Mpegger. I suppose the head servo mechanism could fail or the spindle motor/motor-controller at any time and that would never be monitored by SMART. If an HDD were to fail, but the platters were undamaged, is it possible all the data could be recovered just by swapping the platters into another HDD chassis of the same type?
Yes, that has been done plenty of times by many. Just be aware, that exact same models are usually required for such an operation to be successful (same controller board, firmware revision, etc), as well as a "clean room" setup to increase the odds of success. The smallest amount of dust on the platters could cause complete failure of the head(s) and/or ruin the platter itself. Many have built a clean room box for such a task. And even if successful, you should consider it a one time use only. Boot up and if it runs, get the data off the drive!