SMART Utility

SMART Utility 3.0 is Out!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

Finally, after many long nights, I’m excited to announce that SMART Utility 3.0 has been released. There are many new features and bug fixes in this release. This includes a menu icon, so the application does not need to be running, as well as some interface enhancements.

Download for 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Download for 10.4 (Tiger) here.

If you aren’t sure which version you have, here is how you can tell. Leopard and Snow Leopard have a black magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner. Tiger has a blue one.

Here are the full release notes:

  • Added menu extra, which uses app’s preferences to operate, including periodic checks and Growl notifications
  • Added last time updated to main window
  • Fixed a Growl notification misname for failed drives
  • Fixed a bug where the estimated time at the beginning of tests would be reported wrong
  • Fixed a bug where the info windows attached to a drive report would not close after closing the drive report
  • Fixed a bug where the Tests window would not close after scanning for new drives
  • Fixed a few bugs where setting preferences to only alert on new changes still caused some attributes and tests to be highlighted as failing
  • Fixed a bug where More Info button did not have a space between the words
  • Fixed a bug that would cause a harmless error message to pop up
  • Fixed a bug where test information in main window would not clear out when switching to an unsupported drive
  • Fixed a few memory leaks
  • Forced running in 32 bit on 10.5 due to OS issues
  • Now estimated time remaining in tests is a little more accurate at beginning of test (no more Calculating)
  • Now capacity shows in gigabytes
  • Now if there is only one partition, that will be displayed instead of /dev/diskX
  • Reordered general preferences for better organization and readability
  • Updated help to add information about tests
  • Updated smartctl engine to 5.40, which adds better support for SSDs as well as bug fixes

Enjoy! Please report any bugs to the Support email.

SMART Utility: Future of 10.4 Tiger Support

Friday, February 25th, 2011 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

With the release of the first beta of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, I have made a decision regarding the future of 10.4 Tiger support in SMART Utility. Version 3.0 will support 10.4 when it is release in the next week. Minor updates (3.0.x releases) will also support 10.4. However, version 3.1 may not support 10.4, and 3.2 will not support 10.4.

This is a difficult decision, and its one I put off for a long time. I know there are still a fair number of 10.4 Macs out there, and those are the ones ripe for using SMART Utility. I even still get requests for 10.3 support from time to time! But here is some perspective: It has been nearly 6 years since Tiger was released, and nearly 4 since the last major update came out for it.

So there are a couple of reasons why I am deprecating support for 10.4. The biggest reason is development time. If I continued to support 10.4, that would mean I would have to test 8 different configurations of OS/hardware support (10.4 PPC & Intel, 10.5 PPC, Intel 32 bit & Intel 64 bit, 10.6 Intel 32 & 64 bit, and 10.7 64 bit). I also have to maintain a separate build for 10.4 Macs, as that version has bugs when run on 10.5(such as progress bars not working properly). This adds up to a lot of work, especially as many 10.4 APIs are deprecated themselves on later OS’.

Next is that Apple is dropping support for 10.4 (and possible 10.5) in XCode 4, the next major release of the development tools. This means I would have to maintain a separate install of XCode when I upgrade to 10.7, which on top of the above reason equals a lot of management overhead- time I could be spending developing new features and fixing bugs. There are also a fair amount of features I would like to add, but that require 10.5 at least. Dropping 10.4 support would allow me to focus on them.

Finally, my anonymous system stats tell me me that about 15% or less of my users are running 10.4. This follows other stats I have seen- such as OmniGroup’s Stats page. In fact, 10.6 is run by the majority of users. An upgrade to 10.6 for Intel users is only $30, and I heavily encourage users to go that route. For PPC users, an upgrade to 10.5 can be had used for about $50. Both offer a lot of benefits over 10.4.

I hope that this will allow an informed decision by my current and future customers. Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns at mbutch@volitans-software.com.

SMART Utility Mentioned on Hypercritical

Friday, February 18th, 2011 | SMART Utility | 1 Comment

SMART Utility was mentioned in episode 5 of Hypercritical, and excellent podcast about Apple and related technologies with Dan Benjamin and John Siracusa. Its one of many great podcasts on Dan’s network, 5by5. I’ve been a fan of Dan’s since Gruber and his podcast The Talk Show. I used to listen to The Conversation until he canceled it, but then he started a whole slew of new podcasts, of which Hypercritical and Boom, Outta Here are two of my new favorites. Of course, I’ve followed John since early 2001 on Ars Technica, where he had some great reviews of every OS X version.

Anyway, enough butt kissing. I thought John and Dan did an excellent job of describing SMART and SMART Utility (except for calling it creepy! Haha!). However, I did want to followup with some more information about what they said.

John mentioned the algorithm SMART Utility uses, which calls a drive FAILING before SMART itself will say FAILED. He was correct in that its a judgement call, and it can be a little confusing in that regard. When SMART Utility finds something that could potential cause a drive to fail in the future, it does label it FAILING. Now, it could be failing now- ie soon the drive will fail completely. It could also be overly cautious and the drive will be fine. The algorithm was designed this way because when dealing with data, its better to be safe than sorry. So false positives are much better than false negatives.

This is also based on 10 years of dealing with hard drives, as well Google’s study(PDF) on hard drives (as John did mention). However there are preferences to “correct” the algorithm (as John also mentioned). I’m always verifying the algorithm is correct, and if improvements are needed, they will be made. For instance, version 3.1 will change the way errors that occurred many power on hours ago are dealt with.

Dan and John made comments that its not for your mom, and though I will sort of agree with that, I still believe they can use it. For instance, they can understand green, yellow and red. Also, the menu icon that is coming in version 3.0 will be great for them. Of course, its best if they have a family member or friend who knows a little more to help them out, or they can always contact me.

I hope that clears up any confusion, and thanks to John and Dan for the discussion. Now go listen to their podcasts!

Wanted: Beta Testers

Monday, September 13th, 2010 | Company News, SMART Utility | Comments Off

As development of SMART Utility 3.0 is waning down, I would like to test this release a bit more. The biggest addition is the new menu icon, and that needs to most testing. So I am looking for a few good beta testers. The only requirement is that you must have purchased SMART Utility (the license type doesn’t matter). There is no incentive other than getting some pre-release software.

If you are interested, send an email to support@volitans-software.com.

SMART Utility 3.0

Monday, June 21st, 2010 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

Its coming…

SMART Utility 2.2.2 is Out!

Sunday, May 9th, 2010 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

I’m pleased to announce the release of version 2.2.2 of SMART Utility. This version fixes numerous bugs.

Download 10.4 Build

Download 10.5+ Build

Full release notes:

- Fixed a bug that would prevent scanning on first launch

- Fixed a bug that would randomly cause problems and errors opening up a drive report (10.4 build only)

- Fixed a bug that would cause registration information to not be saved properly in all cases

- Fixed a bug that would cause a crash if the error log could not be read

- Fixed a formatting issue that would cause log text view and “Clear Log” button to be mis-aligned when resizing the log window

- Improved handling of bad or corrupt drive report files


Great Reason to Run SMART Utility: Gruber HD Failure

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 | Opinion, SMART Utility | Comments Off

John Gruber, of DaringFireball fame, just had his HD fail. He noticed it because everything was running very slow. He ran DiskWarrior which recovered his data but alerted him to a problem. SMART Utilility would most likely have alerted him to this issue a lot sooner. He was lucky because he also had a SuperDuper backup as well as a DropBox backup.

He makes a lot of good recommenations, and I encourage you to read the full story, but this is my favorite part:

Hard drives are fragile. Read as much as you can bear to about how they work, how incredibly precisely they must operate in order to cram so many bits onto such small disks. It’s a miracle to me that they work at all. Every hard drive in the world will eventually fail. Assume that yours are all on the cusp of failure at all times. It’s good to be spooked about how long your hard drives will last.

A hard drive failure can happen to anybody. Be prepared when it does, and be alerted before it does. That’s why I made SMART Utility.

SMART Utility 2.2 is Out

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

I’m please to release version 2.2 of SMART Utility. The biggest features are opening and saving SMART data reports, printing, and better support for SSDs. Get it here.

Full release notes:

- Added support for saving and opening drive reports in native format

- Added support for printing SMART reports

- Fixed bug where scanning capabilities that would cause an error

- Fixed bug where in rare cases scanning SMART data would cause a crash

- Improved debug log formatting

- Moved log files to a subfolder

- Now log window updates live

- Updated smartctl engine to 5.39 providing more fixes and recognizes more drives, including SSDs

- Updated eSellerate embedded engine to 4.0.0.7


SMART Utility 2.1.2 is Out

Monday, December 14th, 2009 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

Few bug fixes. Get it here.

- Fixed a crash on 10.4 Intel systems with Growl 1.1.6 installed (related to Growl Framework 1.2)
- Fixed bug where certain drives would only show “calculating…” for short tests
- Improved Estimated Time Remaining for short tests

SMART Utility 2.1.1 is Out

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 | SMART Utility | Comments Off

This one’s mostly bug fixes. Get it here.

Full Release Notes:

- Fixed bug where on new installs scans every 50 seconds instead of every hour
- Fixed bug where polling preference time shows unknown time
- Fixed bug where error window would not open on some drives
- Fixed bug where reading health would cause an exception
- Fixed bug where outputting debug message would cause crash in self test log
- Fixed bug where with French localization where main window and tests window would not localize self test error statuses
- Fixed default opening tab for preferences
- Fixed a small memory leak
- Improved debug log information output
- Now Main window saves its position
- Updated help with changes to polling as well as two new FAQs
- Updated eSellerate embedded engine to 4.0.0.6
- Updated Growl framework to 1.2 (which is 10.5 only but should still work for 10.4 Growl installs)