How can I check the SMART status of a drive under 14.04 and beyond? I've seen Checking HD SMART status on a fresh install but it doesn't seem to apply under 14.04 and later.


Disks Utility

Launch the Disks Utility (If you don't have it already, you can install Disks via the Software Center or open a terminal and issue the command sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility.


Select the drive of interest then click on the gear (menu button since 15.04) at the upper right corner and choose SMART Data & self tests

enter image description here

Types of self-tests


  • Short: Checks the electrical and mechanical performance as well as the read performance of the disk. Electrical tests might include a test of buffer RAM, a read/write circuitry test, or a test of the read/write head elements. Mechanical test includes seeking and servo on data tracks. Scans small parts of the drive's surface (area is vendor-specific and there is a time limit on the test). Checks the list of pending sectors that may have read errors, and it usually takes under two minutes.
  • Long/extended: A longer and more thorough version of the short self-test, scanning the entire disk surface with no time limit. This test usually takes several hours, depending on the read/write speed of the drive and its size.
  • Conveyance: Intended as a quick test to identify damage incurred during transporting of the device from the drive manufacturer to the computer manufacturer. Only available on ATA drives, and it usually takes several minutes.

How to interpret SMART-Attributes

The most important attribute in terms of failure rates is likely the 196 - Reallocated Sector Count, but considering Google research paper: _"...failure prediction models based on SMART parameters alone are likely to be severely limited in their prediction accuracy, given that a large fraction of our failed drives have shown no SMART error signals whatsoever." However, the majority of the drives (over 60%) in the study that failed did exhibit a smart failure, so as imperfect as it may be, it's still valid indicator.

Note that while the vast majority of recent drives support SMART not all drives do and implementations can vary. For more details on SMART see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

  • 3
    The gear symbol is in the upper right of your screenshot. In wily (15.10) it is not a gear anymore but the usual "menu" button. – Matthias Weiler Jan 13 '16 at 8:45
  • @MatthiasWeiler Your right! Thanks for catching that. Actually it's been that way since 15.04. Updating answer. – Elder Geek Jan 13 '16 at 21:32
  • 2
    I am using gnome-disk-utility UDisks 2.1.7 (built against 2.1.6) and the SMART option doesn't appear anymore. (?!) – alfC Mar 12 '16 at 15:17
  • @alfC Interesting. still appears for me. I am using gnome-disk-utility UDisks 2.1.7 (built against 2.1.7) You might try sudo apt update&&sudo apt upgrade – Elder Geek May 14 '18 at 18:49
  • 1
    @ElderGeek, I don't know. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place. I have gnome-disk-utility 3.28.1 UDisks 2.7.6 (built against 2.7.6) now and I see the option. – alfC May 14 '18 at 19:33

The commandline version of the libatasmart library used by Gnome Disks is called skdump part of the libatasmart-bin package which is not installed by default. Install by using:

sudo apt install libatasmart-bin

Next run the following command to see the SMART information by running the following command in the terminal (replacing /dev/sda by the path to your drive):

sudo skdump /dev/sda

As an alternative the smartctl from the smartmontools package could be used. Install by using:

sudo apt install smartmontools

You will then be able to get information on SMART by running the following command in the terminal (replacing /dev/sda by the path to your drive):

sudo smartctl --all /dev/sda

Note that smartctl tends to be overly verbose. Use the -q errorsonly argument to display only errors:

sudo smartctl --quietmode=errorsonly --all /dev/sda
  • 5
    If you don't want to install an MTA (Postfix) when installing smartmontools, use the command sudo apt-get install smartmontools --no-install-recommends - Postfix is the only package that won't be installed. – Paul Sep 24 '14 at 21:17
  • 2
    Also note that you may want to run sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda > sda-smart.txt since it can be a minor PITA to read the data from terminal. – Paul Sep 24 '14 at 21:20
  • 3
    A good walkthrough and tips can be found on the Ubuntu Wiki: help.ubuntu.com/community/Smartmontools – Andrew Ensley Sep 10 '16 at 20:52
  • Can this also do a surface scan? I have a hard drive that passes SMART but fails a surface scan. I want to perform a surface scan on my laptop too. – Chloe Nov 2 '17 at 0:40

Ubuntu 16.04

This answer is migrated from a duplicate question closed here (What happend to SMART data (disk selftest option)).

The question above has been changed to require Ubuntu versions after 14.04 but the answers haven't changed and don't apply to Ubuntu 16.04. As such it caused confusion as described in the closed question.

Select Dash the first option on the Launcher and type disks. Select the icon that appears. If the disks program isn't available you need to install it first with:

sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility

The disks main screen looks like this:

disks main

Notice the "hamburger" menu in the top right corner. Select it to get a drop down menu where you can select the SMART screen shown below:

disks SMART

If you require further explanation please comment below.

  • 1
    Everything in the other answers still holds true (more or less) to Ubuntu 16.04. – Kaz Wolfe Jan 21 '17 at 6:41
  • 2
    For me in 17.04 the Smart test option is grayed out? – user240891 Apr 27 '17 at 19:52
  • 1
    I have several USB HDD drives where the SMART test option is indeed grayed out. It depends on the model. – user258532 Nov 16 '17 at 22:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.