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Hard drive and SSD status monitor utility SMART Alec coming from OWC for macOS in July

Long-time Mac upgrade vendor OWC will soon launch SMART Alec, a utility to keep an eye on the health reporting data from SSDs, hard drives, and Fusion Drives connected to a Mac.

SMART Alec's Advanced Warning System employs "Disk Data Analysis" and "Predictive Failure Analysis," according to the company, to monitor the drives for impending trouble. The app itself will be free, with an in-app purchase allowing for monitoring external drives with compatible enclosures that are able to pass SMART status.

Basic features include pre-emptive warnings of a drive that the utility believes is on the way out, immediate notification of a drive in the process of failing, and a visual representation of disk health. All information is available in a log.

The $9.99 upgrade to the app includes SMART on external drives including Thunderbolt-connected arrays, email notifications of a problem, and the ability to blink a drive's access light corresponding to the disk you've selected in the application, useful for RAID arrays.

In future releases, the app will upload data from users who have opted into data sharing into its self-learning system. The system will analyze performance and failure information from thousands of disks to provide statistical information about the most —and least —reliable disk models available. Data will be shared with which users opt in to the data sharing program.

The free SMART Alec essential drive utility and $9.99 SMART Alec upgrade with USB/FireWire disk monitoring and other additional features will ship in July, with the free version available through the Mac App store. A Windows version is in development.

An open beta is in progress now.

Accurate SMART reporting and predictions rely on predictable failures, which can be spotted from slow input and output processes. Unpredictable failures, such as sudden electronic component failure or catastrophic mechanical failure may not give any warning.

Google studies on consumer grade hard drives in 2006 showed that in the 60 days following the first SMART warning, a drive was on the average 39 times more likely to fail than a drive without the same warning, all other factors identical. It also showed that 36 percent of drives failed without throwing a SMART error.