View Full Version : SMART - Disk Utility vs. Drive Genius

06-27-2017, 06:27 PM
I had a RAID enclosure from OWC go down. Talks with OWC said it is probably an enclosure problem, so I took all 4 drives out and reformatted each using a bare drive "dock".

Apple's Disk utility indicated 2 drives are "failing" and the other 2 are "verified".

All 4 disks have been fully (long version) formatted without any problem.

I have an old copy of Drive Genius (version 4). I used the checks it has, including the "long" versions they call "physical check" and "consistency check", as well as "instant drivepulse".

All drives are the exact same - Hitachi 3TB mfg JAN-2011. All are from the same lot with the same firmware which was a requirement for the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 hardware RAID box.

My question - After reading about SMART I have found that there isn't a single "standard".

Does anyone here know the reason why Disk Utility would report "failing" while DriveGenius 4 reports "verified"?

06-27-2017, 06:44 PM
Welcome to our forums.

Disk Utility reads the SMART and reports on its findings. I suspect that Drive Genius goes a bit deeper but really have no idea why the reports are different. However, if SMART is showing as failing, then the drives are probably failing. Those drives are from 2011 and have had a good run. Maybe time to replace all four?

06-27-2017, 07:29 PM
I use Drive DX and it records an 'Advanced SMART status' with a per centage of 100% and I would think Drive Genius would do similar.

06-27-2017, 07:43 PM
There are many parameters that go in to a successful S.M.A.R.T test. Here are some of them (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.). Not every utility that does the test checks every parameter. See here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_S.M.A.R.T._tools). If To complicate matters IIRC different utilities have different pass/fail values for the parameters they do test.

06-27-2017, 07:50 PM
Another parameter to consider is cost. Drive Genius isn't cheap at $99 bucks. Drive DX is a bit more doable at $19.99.

If for example...Drive Genius is better...it better be "$80 bucks better"! Lol

- Nick

06-27-2017, 11:21 PM
I appreciate the responses very much. Update is below.

1. The drives are from 2011 but were only used for storage. They didn't get much actual use. Technically the RAID failed in 2015. I just put it in a closet and was trying to decide what to do with it and the drives this week.

2. I got Drive Genius (version 4) for free when I bought the drive so no money lost. I had not used it before, but figured since I had it I'd check it out.

3. It was weird when the RAID failed and refused to even mount. I had two identical RAID boxes so I took out the drives from the failed RAID and put them in an identical enclosure. It also showed 2 drives failing but mounted and I got all my data off of them and onto a new RAID enclosure I bought.

4. I guess I can see 2 drives failing at the same time. They were identical drives from the same lot so there was probably a manufacturing issue in that lot. That said I'm not sure I want to trust the 2 "good" drives for anything. I hate to throw drives out, but... No reason to take a chance since the entire lot is suspect.

5. It is probable that the old OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 hardware RAID box is OK. But - It requires all drives to be from the same manufacturer, same drive model and even the same firmware which I didn't know when I bought it. Lesson learned. No way I want to invest in 4 drives (plus a spare or 2) to find out for sure. Better to get a new Thunderbay if/when I actually need it.

So - I'll throw them all out and call it a day.

Weird thing - When I bought 2 RAIDs from OWC (thunderbolt Thunderbays from OWC) I got Softraid free. I guess it hadn't had time to "check" the drives I took out of the old enclosure and formatted them and ran the the Drive Genius (version 4) utilities. I left one of the "failing" drives in the dock and got on with some other stuff. A few hours later Softraid notified me of a failing drive. It was, of course, the "failing" drive that was still in the dock. Both Disk Utility and SoftRaid IDed the drive as "failing". So much for Drive Genius (version 4).

Again, I thank each of you for the feedback.

06-27-2017, 11:42 PM
What type of drives are these?

Drive Genius 4 is actually a defragmentation utility and one should never run a defrag over SSDs, but I guess these are platter drives after reading your first post again. Whatever you use to check costs money, but SMARTReporter is pretty cheap and never fail, and even better has a trial version:-


06-28-2017, 02:41 AM
@harryb2448 - SMARTReporter says it is only for internal drives.

I haven't run a defrag on a drive in - Well, at least 15 years or more. And yes - I know defrag on an SSD is totally useless. It can be done, technically, but won't actually do anything. Yes - All of these are spinning rust.

Actually Drive Genius has quite a few utilities of which defrag is only one. While I think it's pretty useless it's not really fair to say it is just a defrag utility. But like I say - I had not used it before. I'm not a believer in any of the many utilities that make claims like "will make your computer run faster!".

The only thing I DO keep up to date is DiskWarrior. It really isn't necessary in this day and age, but over the years it has "saved" me several times. I'm still steeped in some of my old ways. I do run Diskwarrior on all attached drives once every 2 weeks. Oh, and I do have a copy of DataRescue 4 (which I also got free from OWC a few years back) which is what I recovered the data from the problem OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 with back in 2015.

I have a late 2012 iMac maxed out with an internal SSD that I have 3 16TB OWC Thunderbays in RAID 5 attached to, as well as 2 12TB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2's (also in RAID 5), 2 external drive docks (each with 2 bays) and an older version of the OWC 8TB Mercury Elite Pro Dual (in RAID 5). The old OWC 8TB Mercury Elite Pro Dual in RAID 5 is the only drive that is in constant daily use. All the rest are just storage which get written to and that's pretty much it.

I have a small side business. I keep off site backups for some local companies. I have a special temp/humidity controlled "closet" with over 80 bare drives and a few more RAID boxes with backup data that companies drop off and pick up as needed.

I had not realized that Softraid is not just monitoring my Thunderbay RAID drives, and that it apparently monitoring ALL my drives, so I'm a happy camper. Other than the 12TB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 failure in 2015 I haven't had a drive failure in many years. I can't even remember the last time I had a drive failure.

As an FYI I'm almost 70 and IT was never my "business" - I'm a retired business standards specialist (my website is elsmar dot com - I'm Marc). I *thought* I understood SMART until now. I sort of did, but obviously there isn't a total consensus on all parameters (e.g.: heat). I'm old, but I'm still learning.

Again, thanks for the responses. They are appreciated.

06-28-2017, 05:31 AM
My error. Thought I had read RAID was supported. Back to the drawing board.

06-28-2017, 08:26 AM
I just glanced at the page in the link and I think it said internal drives only. It may support internal RAID if one has a tower.

06-28-2017, 05:17 PM
lol you are still in nappies bucko. There are so many things we oldies thought we understood Marc! :D

06-29-2017, 01:59 AM
How true. Then again, I don't keep up with things like I used to.

06-29-2017, 08:01 AM
I use Drive DX and it records an 'Advanced SMART status' with a per centage of 100% and I would think Drive Genius would do similar.

I want to retract my statement about Drive DX. I had glanced at their page the other day. I looked at it fully this morning. It says: "Mac OS X does not support diagnosing external drives using S.M.A.R.T. technology “out of the box” . In order to allow your Mac to diagnose external drives, you will need to install a special third party driver. Please note that this is a requirement of Mac OS X, and not DriveDx.".

I looked at it fully this morning and it does work on external drives with this caveat: "If you want to perform external drive diagnostics on OS X – currently there is only one option – you can install 3rd party kernel extension – SAT SMART Driver. SAT SMART Driver is free open source project (published under Apple Public Source License) by Jarkko Sonninen. It is hosted on GitHub."

Then again, the issue is what Disk Utility reports vs. a stand alone program. I may try the SAT SMART Driver to see if it makes any difference in Disk Utility reports. I'm busy today but if I do any further investigation I'll report it in this thread.

OH - I'm still on El Capitan FWIW.