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smartmontools is a utility to read and monitor the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) information of ATA/SATA and SCSI/SAS drives.



S.M.A.R.T. support needs to be enabled in the BIOS or EFI firmware for correct operation.

USE flags

USE flags for sys-apps/smartmontools Tools to monitor storage systems to provide advanced warning of disk degradation

caps Build against sys-libs/libcap-ng to allow smartd to drop its privileges.
daemon Install the monitoring daemon (smartd) and associated scripts.
selinux !!internal use only!! Security Enhanced Linux support, this must be set by the selinux profile or breakage will occur
static !!do not set this during bootstrap!! Causes binaries to be statically linked instead of dynamically
systemd Enable use of systemd-specific libraries and features like socket activation or session tracking
update-drivedb Install a script to update the drivedb file.


Install sys-apps/smartmontools:

root #emerge --ask sys-apps/smartmontools



root #smartctl -h
smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [x86_64-linux-5.10.61-gentoo] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,

Usage: smartctl [options] device

============================================ SHOW INFORMATION OPTIONS =====

  -h, --help, --usage
         Display this help and exit

  -V, --version, --copyright, --license
         Print license, copyright, and version information and exit

  -i, --info
         Show identity information for device

         Show words and bits from IDENTIFY DEVICE data                (ATA)

  -g NAME, --get=NAME
        Get device setting: all, aam, apm, dsn, lookahead, security,
        wcache, rcache, wcreorder, wcache-sct

  -a, --all
         Show all SMART information for device

  -x, --xall
         Show all information for device

         Scan for devices

         Scan for devices and try to open each device

================================== SMARTCTL RUN-TIME BEHAVIOR OPTIONS =====

  -j, --json[=cgiosuvy]
         Print output in JSON or YAML format

  -q TYPE, --quietmode=TYPE                                           (ATA)
         Set smartctl quiet mode to one of: errorsonly, silent, noserial

  -d TYPE, --device=TYPE
         Specify device type to one of:
         ata, scsi[+TYPE], nvme[,NSID], sat[,auto][,N][+TYPE], usbcypress[,X], usbjmicron[,p][,x][,N], usbprolific, usbsunplus, sntjmicron[,NSID], sntrealtek, intelliprop,N[+TYPE], jmb39x[-q],N[,sLBA][,force][+TYPE], jms56x,N[,sLBA][,force][+TYPE], marvell, areca,N/E, 3ware,N, hpt,L/M/N, megaraid,N, aacraid,H,L,ID, cciss,N, auto, test

  -T TYPE, --tolerance=TYPE                                           (ATA)
         Tolerance: normal, conservative, permissive, verypermissive

  -b TYPE, --badsum=TYPE                                              (ATA)
         Set action on bad checksum to one of: warn, exit, ignore

  -r TYPE, --report=TYPE
         Report transactions (see man page)

  -n MODE[,STATUS], --nocheck=MODE[,STATUS]                     (ATA, SCSI)
         No check if: never, sleep, standby, idle (see man page)

============================== DEVICE FEATURE ENABLE/DISABLE COMMANDS =====

  -s VALUE, --smart=VALUE
        Enable/disable SMART on device (on/off)

  -o VALUE, --offlineauto=VALUE                                       (ATA)
        Enable/disable automatic offline testing on device (on/off)

  -S VALUE, --saveauto=VALUE                                          (ATA)
        Enable/disable Attribute autosave on device (on/off)

  -s NAME[,VALUE], --set=NAME[,VALUE]
        Enable/disable/change device setting: aam,[N|off], apm,[N|off],
        dsn,[on|off], lookahead,[on|off], security-freeze,
        standby,[N|off|now], wcache,[on|off], rcache,[on|off],
        wcreorder,[on|off[,p]], wcache-sct,[ata|on|off[,p]]

======================================= READ AND DISPLAY DATA OPTIONS =====

  -H, --health
        Show device SMART health status

  -c, --capabilities                                            (ATA, NVMe)
        Show device SMART capabilities

  -A, --attributes
        Show device SMART vendor-specific Attributes and values

  -f FORMAT, --format=FORMAT                                          (ATA)
        Set output format for attributes: old, brief, hex[,id|val]

  -l TYPE, --log=TYPE
        Show device log. TYPE: error, selftest, selective, directory[,g|s],
        xerror[,N][,error], xselftest[,N][,selftest], background,
        sasphy[,reset], sataphy[,reset], scttemp[sts,hist],
        scttempint,N[,p], scterc[,N,M], devstat[,N], defects[,N], ssd,
        gplog,N[,RANGE], smartlog,N[,RANGE], nvmelog,N,SIZE

  -v N,OPTION , --vendorattribute=N,OPTION                            (ATA)
        Set display OPTION for vendor Attribute N (see man page)

  -F TYPE, --firmwarebug=TYPE                                         (ATA)
        Use firmware bug workaround:
        none, nologdir, samsung, samsung2, samsung3, xerrorlba, swapid

  -P TYPE, --presets=TYPE                                             (ATA)
        Drive-specific presets: use, ignore, show, showall

  -B [+]FILE, --drivedb=[+]FILE                                       (ATA)
        Read and replace [add] drive database from FILE
        [default is +/etc/smart_drivedb.h
         and then    /var/db/smartmontools/drivedb.h]

============================================ DEVICE SELF-TEST OPTIONS =====

  -t TEST, --test=TEST
        Run test. TEST: offline, short, long, conveyance, force, vendor,N,
                        select,M-N, pending,N, afterselect,[on|off]

  -C, --captive
        Do test in captive mode (along with -t)

  -X, --abort
        Abort any non-captive test on device

=================================================== SMARTCTL EXAMPLES =====

  smartctl --all /dev/sda                    (Prints all SMART information)

  smartctl --smart=on --offlineauto=on --saveauto=on /dev/sda
                                              (Enables SMART on first disk)

  smartctl --test=long /dev/sda          (Executes extended disk self-test)

  smartctl --attributes --log=selftest --quietmode=errorsonly /dev/sda
                                      (Prints Self-Test & Attribute errors)
  smartctl --all --device=3ware,2 /dev/sda
  smartctl --all --device=3ware,2 /dev/twe0
  smartctl --all --device=3ware,2 /dev/twa0
  smartctl --all --device=3ware,2 /dev/twl0
          (Prints all SMART info for 3rd ATA disk on 3ware RAID controller)
  smartctl --all --device=hpt,1/1/3 /dev/sda
          (Prints all SMART info for the SATA disk attached to the 3rd PMPort
           of the 1st channel on the 1st HighPoint RAID controller)
  smartctl --all --device=areca,3/1 /dev/sg2
          (Prints all SMART info for 3rd ATA disk of the 1st enclosure
           on Areca RAID controller)


smartctl is a utility that is used to control and monitor S.M.A.R.T. enabled drives.


Print information of a drive, including S.M.A.R.T. support:

root #smartctl -i /dev/sda

Identify the Drive

Determine the identifier of the drive you want to enable S.M.A.R.T. for

root #smartctl --scan


Enable S.M.A.R.T. on a drive:

root #smartctl -s on /dev/sda

Print health

Print the S.M.A.R.T. health status of a drive:

root #smartctl -H /dev/sda

If the result is PASSED, the drive is in good health. If the result is FAILED, drive failure is imminent and the data should be backed up.

Print capabilities

Print the S.M.A.R.T. capabilities of a drive, including supported tests and the time required to run them:

root #smartctl -c /dev/sda

Print vendor specific attributes

Print the vendor specific S.M.A.R.T attributes of a drive:

root #smartctl -A /dev/sda

Running Tests

Discover the exceptional capabilities of smartmontools and unlock a wealth of technical insights by running comprehensive S.M.A.R.T. tests on the drive.

  • Offline Test (offline):

Assess the fundamental functionality and immediate offline reliability of the drive with the Offline Test. This test offers a swift evaluation of the drive's basic operations, providing valuable diagnostic information. The command to embark on this diagnostic journey is as follows:

root #smartctl -t offline /dev/sda
  • Short Self Test (short):

Scrutinize the critical components of the drive and conduct a focused scan of a specific disk portion with the Short Self Test. This test is designed to swiftly detect any immediate issues and provide valuable insights into the drive's overall health. To initiate this focused analysis, execute the following command:

root #smartctl -t short /dev/sda
  • Extended Self Test (long):

Delve deep into the drive's surface and perform a meticulous scan of the entire disk with the Extended Self Test. This comprehensive examination provides a detailed analysis of the media's health and integrity, offering in-depth insights into the drive's overall condition. To initiate this meticulous assessment, execute the following command:

root #smartctl -t long /dev/sda
  • Conveyance Self Test (conveyance):

Evaluate the drive's reliability under various conditions, including transportation and regular use, with the Conveyance Self Test. This test ensures the drive remains dependable and resilient in different scenarios. It is recommended to run this test after moving the drive or experiencing a power loss. To engage in this essential evaluation, execute the following command:

root #smartctl -t conveyance /dev/sda

After executing a test, carefully monitor its progress using the appropriate command to retrieve its status. It is important to note that these tests may require a significant amount of time to complete due to their thorough nature. Once the tests are finished, examine the results to determine the health status of the drive:

  • If the result indicates PASSED, it signifies that the drive is in good health and performing optimally, providing reassurance and peace of mind.
  • If the result indicates FAILED, prompt action is necessary as it indicates imminent drive failure. In such cases, it is strongly advised to back up the data without delay, safeguarding against potential data loss.

By performing these tests on a regular basis, users can ensure the reliability and longevity of their drives by proactively detecting and addressing potential issues at their early stages.

  • To cancel an ongoing test (abort-test):

Issue the cancellation command for the specific test in progress. The command will be similar to the one used to start the test, but with an additional parameter to cancel it.

root #smartctl --abort-test=test /dev/sda

Replace test with the appropriate test identifier and /dev/sda with the correct drive identifier.

Canceling an ongoing test is generally not dangerous to the drive or its data if done correctly. The smartmontools utility is designed to handle test cancellations gracefully, minimizing any potential adverse effects. However, keep in mind the following points:

  • Incomplete Results: Canceling a test will result in incomplete test results, which may limit the insights gained from the test. Interpret the available data with caution.
  • Data Integrity: Canceling a test does not pose an immediate risk to the drive's data integrity. However, it is always prudent to maintain regular backups of important data to safeguard against unforeseen events.
It is important to exercise caution when canceling tests and consider the potential impact on the test results. If possible, it is generally recommended to allow tests to complete for accurate and comprehensive results. However, in specific situations where canceling becomes necessary or desirable, following the proper cancellation procedure should not pose significant dangers to the drive or its data

Print logs

Print a S.M.A.R.T. log of a drive:

root #smartctl -l LOG /dev/sda

The possible values for LOG include:

  • error: Print the S.M.A.R.T. error log. This log provides information about any errors encountered by the drive. If the result is No Errors Logged, it indicates that the drive is in good health. If there are some old errors, the drive is likely in good health. However, if there are numerous recent errors, it may indicate imminent drive failure, and it is recommended to back up the data.
  • selftest: Print the S.M.A.R.T. self-test log. This log contains the results of the short, long, and conveyance tests. It provides insights into the drive's performance and health based on the outcomes of these tests.
  • selective: Print the S.M.A.R.T. selective self-test log. This log displays the results of selective self-tests performed on the drive. It helps assess the health and reliability of specific areas or attributes of the drive.
  • background: Print the S.M.A.R.T. background scan results log. This log shows the results of background scans performed on the drive. It helps detect and report any issues found during background scanning operations.


To send out notifications using custom scripts, place those scripts in the directory /etc/smartd_warning.d. To run all scripts, add @ALL to the -m directive in /etc/smartd.conf. If the -m directive also contains an email address, it should be in the following format:

FILE /etc/smartd.conf

Single Drive Monitoring:

This configuration monitors the drive /dev/sda, enabling automatic Attribute autosave, overall health status notifications, and per-drive S.M.A.R.T. Status notifications. Notifications will be sent to

FILE /etc/smartd.conf
/dev/sda -a -o on -S on -m

Multiple Drives:

This configuration monitors both /dev/sda and /dev/sdb. Each drive has the same options as in the previous example, but notifications will be sent to different email addresses.

FILE /etc/smartd.conf
/dev/sda -a -o on -S on -m
/dev/sdb -a -o on -S on -m

Customized Schedule:

This configuration includes a customized schedule using the -s option. The specified schedule runs tests on Saturday at 02:00 (S) and on the 3rd day of each month at 06:03 (L).

FILE /etc/smartd.conf
/dev/sda -a -o on -S on -m -s (S/../.././02|L/../../6/03)

Selective Drive Monitoring:

This configuration selectively monitors different drives with specific options.

  • /dev/sda is monitored with automatic Attribute autosave, overall health status notifications, and per-drive S.M.A.R.T. Status notifications sent to
  • /dev/sdb is monitored with the same options as above, but with a customized schedule that runs tests on Saturday at 02:00 (S) and on the 3rd day of each month at 06:03 (L). Notifications will be sent to
  • /dev/sdc is monitored for overall health, with notifications sent for any error occurrences. Notifications will be sent to
FILE /etc/smartd.conf
/dev/sda -a -o on -S on -m
/dev/sdb -a -o on -S on -m -s (S/../.././02|L/../../6/03)
/dev/sdc -H -l error -m

S.M.A.R.T. daemon

smartd is a daemon that continuously monitors the S.M.A.R.T. information of drives. It can be configured via /etc/smartd.conf. See man smartd.conf for more information. smartd will log any errors to /var/log/messages.

In this example smartd monitors 4 drives and sends a test e-mail on startup. It also runs a scheduled test every week on Friday at 3:00 a.m.

FILE /etc/smartd.conf
/dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-000000_00000000 -m -M test -H -l error -l selftest -f -s L/../../5/03
/dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-111111_11111111 -m -M test -H -l error -l selftest -f -s L/../../5/03
/dev/disk/by-id/ata-WDC_WD20EARS-00MVWB0_WD-000000000000 -m -M test -H -l error -l selftest -f -s L/../../5/03
/dev/disk/by-id/ata-WDC_WD20EARS-00MVWB0_WD-111111111111 -m -M test -H -l error -l selftest -f -s L/../../5/03

OpenRC service

FILE /etc/conf.d/smartd
# Add a net dependency for the smartd service

To start smartd:

root #/etc/init.d/smartd start

To start smartd at boot:

root #rc-update add smartd default

To debug smartd and check for possible configuration errors:

root #smartd -d
To stop the debugging instance of smartd, use Ctrl+\

External resources