Anyone who uses their computer to store important data should be concerned with the health of its’ disk drives. It is easy to schedule regular backups using the Windows Backup utility, but having some notice of an impending failure can be helpful. When a disk begins to fail plans can be made to replace it without a lengthy loss of use of the computer.
One way to check the health of your disks is to run the System Diagnostics data collector set in the Performance Monitor Console. This collector set creates a report that includes the current condition of the disk drives as well as other important system components such as the cooling system and processor. The collector set records data from the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) system that is built into Windows 7. S.M.A.R.T can predict impending failures of disk drives. If a disk is beginning to go bad it will be flagged in the Diagnostic report. The System Diagnostics data collector set can be run on demand or can be scheduled to run on a weekly or monthly basis.
To run a System Diagnostics data collector set and generate a report in Windows 7, go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Performance Monitor, expand Data Collector Sets /System and right-click on System Diagnostics. In the context menu click “Start” and watch until a green arrow appears indicating that the collector set is running. Right-click on the collector set a second time and select “Latest Report”. A report will be generated after 60 seconds that will include S.M.A.R.T data on disks.