a woman on her laptop using Kingston SSD manager to check on her SSD’s health

Maintaining your SSD’s health using SMART monitoring

a SATA SSD icon

SSDs are more reliable and durable than HDDs because they don’t have any moving parts. That means they can withstand accidental drops. However, the architecture of the NAND cells that store data in SSDs does put a limit on write endurance. The flash memory cells can only be programmed and erased a limited number of times. Therefore, it’s important to know how the SSD will be used in a system and thus gauge how long a drive will last. Fortunately, an SSD’s health and reliability can be monitored using SMART.

What is SMART monitoring?

SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology. It is a system built into most modern hard drives and SSDs and is designed to monitor the status of your drive and identify issues that need to be fixed. SMART is extremely useful for monitoring the health of your SSD, life-remaining, and for reporting on a variety of attributes such as min/max/average temperature, lifetime host reads/write, power-on hours and even how often unexpected power losses have been recorded by the SSD.

Kingston SSD Manager

a screenshot of Kingston SSD Manager app in a laptop screen

For SATA SSDs, SMART reporting isn’t standardised. Most drive manufacturers have created their own tool in order to monitor SSD life-remaining and check the SMART status of their drives. Drive manufacturers take their own approaches to SMART monitoring, but generally, they measure similar performance and reliability attributes.

SMART reporting is standardised for NVMe SSDs. However, there is minimal data defined so manufactures may augment the data by implementing vendor unique log pages containing extra proprietary data.

Kingston Technology SSDs can be monitored using the Kingston SSD Manager (KSM) application. It provides users with the ability to monitor and manage various aspects of their Kingston solid-state drive. Kingston SSD Manager offers the ability to:

  • Monitor your drive’s health, status and disk usage
  • View drive identification data
  • View and export detailed drive health and status reports
  • Update drive firmware
  • Securely erase data
  • Manage TCG Opal and IEEE 1667
  • Overprovision with Host Protected Area (HPA) on data center SSDs

Download the Kingston SSD Manager app and check out our User Guide for an in-depth breakdown of the different features. In any case, Kingston Support are available to assist you with any questions you have.

Are there other ways to maintain an SSD’s health?

Although SMART monitoring is a great way to monitor the health and overall functioning of your SSD, there are other things you can do to proactively help maintain your SSD’s health.

  • Ensure the latest storage drivers are installed
  • Shutdown your computer properly, don’t force shutdown
  • Ensure storage-related BIOS updates are performed
  • Backup your data regularly
  • For Kingston SSDs, check Kingston SSD Manager for important firmware updates that may improve function or fix bugs

Conclusion

It’s always a good idea to periodically check the health of your SSD. KSM can allow you to continually monitor your drive’s health, gain an important insight into your disk usage, alert you to possible firmware updates and investigate any problems that might suggest your SSD is close to its end of life. If your SSD health has drastically decreased over its lifespan, consider upgrading your SSD to a high-performance drive.

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