On the information page, many details of the hard disk are displayed. These include but not limited to: manufacturer and model type, revision (internal verion) and serial number of the hard disk. These can be used to verify and identify the hard disk.

The logical drive(s) associated to the disk are displayed. This may be helpful when there are lots of hard disks installed and there are many logical drives in the system.

By using the right mouse button, it is possible to copy the information displayed in the table to the clipboard. Later it is possible to paste this information into a text file, e-mail or document.

IDE, Serial ATA hard disk

Hard Disc Sentinel img 09 atainfo Information

IDE and Serial ATA hard disks are controlled and identified via the ATA interface. Hard Disk Sentinel detects and displays the physical characteristics (for example, the total number of sectors, the error correction bytes, etc). The Buffer size can be important: it is the size of the internal disk cache. When performance is important, it is recommended to use hard disks with larger buffer sizes.

The maximum and currenlty selected Ultra DMA modes are displayed. The latter determine the current theoretical maximum data transfer rate between the disk and the host. Of course larger value is better.

If the current Ultra DMA mode is (0), the system does not use the Ultra DMA transfer mode and works only in PIO (Programmed I/O) mode. This drastically decreases the performance of the disk and the whole system because the processor must wait for each read/write operations to complete. It is recommended to examine the configuration and fix this problem (for example by re-arranging hard disks and optical devices or using new cables). Ultra DMA mode 33 (2) means that an old IDE cable is used with only 40 wires instead of newer IDE cables with 80 wires. It is not recommended the use of round or too long cables.

Note: on some controllers or systems it is possible that the drive operates in PIO mode but the Ultra DMA mode was previously selected and this is displayed in this window. If you are not sure but you experience slow performance, please verify the current setting in the device manager by selecting the properties of the (IDE) controller.

Note: Hard Disk Sentinel checks if the ATA information table is completed and the checksum of the table is correct. The latter ensures that the information detected and displayed are correct. If this is not true, it is possible that some values may not be correctly reported by the hard disk (for example the performance value, the UDMA transfer mode and serial ATA properties). There is a warning displayed in these cases:

Hard Disc Sentinel img 36 ata Information

Invalid ATA Control Byte or ATA Checksum Value does not affect the detection and display of health and temperature values.

Acoustic management

Hard Disc Sentinel img 10 acoustic Information

It is possible to view and modify the acoustic settings, if this feature is supported by the hard disk. Higher acoustic levels will enable faster (but louder) operation. Setting a lower level will make the disk slower and more silent (the read/write head positioning will be slower and more silent). The acoustic setting has no effect on the drive rotation speed. If the drive supports acoustic management, it is possible to change the level by clicking on Adjust.

The most important ATA features are displayed, so the extra functions can be checked (for example, security mode, power management, etc).

S.M.A.R.T. Details

Hard Disc Sentinel img 54 smarttest Information

The results and details of hardware self-tests of the hard disk is displayed in this section. The supported self-tests can be executed here by clicking on Click To Start. The estimated time of the self-tests are displayed (the manufacturer provided these estimates) but the self-tests may take much more time to complete than the displayed. The Short self-test tests the functionality of main hard disk components (head, servo, electronics). The Extended self-test and Conveyance self-test options (if supported) execute manufacturer-specific test steps. The Extended self-test verifies the complete surface of the hard disk. During this operation, the problematic areas (if any) are verified, so it is recommended to periodically execute this test.

During the test, a window is displayed with the current status of the disk. When the test is completed, the success or failure (and the failing element, which can be servo, electronic, head, etc.) is displayed. During the self-test the hard disk can be used. Usually the HDD LED is dark during the tests but it may be audible that the hard disk is operating. Read/write operations during the test may slow down the test – and vice versa: because of the test the read/write operations may be slower, so it is recommended to execute test in idle periods.

Note: the Extended and Conveyance self-tests (if supported) can be used only in the registered version.

SCSI hard disk

For a SCSI hard disk the information required to identify the hard disk are displayed. The vendor provided string and the status of the failure prediction function are also displayed with the detected raw ASC and ASCQ values.