Monitor your media with Hard Disk Sentinel

System Tray

After startup, the application places a small icon in the system tray of your desktop environment. The icon indicates the temperature of the active mass storage device with a green background for tolerable values and a red background if temperatures are too high.

In the icon's context menu, you can select the Show main window option to restore the minimized program window to the foreground. The Exit option closes the tool and also removes it from the system tray.

At the Prompt

Professional server systems usually do not have a GUI; administration is usually via a secure connection in the shell. For admins and desktop users who prefer to use command-line tools, the developers of Hard Disk Sentinel offer a command line variant of the tool that offers the same feature set as the GUI version. You control the tool with a set of call parameters. The command-line version lets you document the status of mass storage devices via a report generation routine with 32- and 64-bit variants are available.

Unfortunately, an error has crept into the installation description of the latest version, 0.19, which makes using the software more difficult. Because the developers accidentally packed the GZIP archive offered for download twice, you first need to unpack the archive with the integrated graphical front end of your working environment. The second archive created by this step then also needs to be unpacked. However, many front ends do not recognize the different format, which is why I would recommend using a professional program for handling archives, such as PeaZip.

The unpacked archive contains only the executable file, HDSentinel, to which you need to assign execute permissions before you can use the command shown in line 1 of Listing 1. Then invoke the software by entering the command from line 2 of Listing 1.

Listing 1

Setup and Start

01 $ sudo chmod 755 HDSentinel
02 $ sudo ./HDSentinel PARAMETER

You will find more information about the parameters and how to use them on Hard Disk Sentinel's website. Figure 4 shows examples of the output in a terminal or on the console.

Figure 4: The command-line version shown here displays the essential status data for a disk in the terminal.

If required, you can also create reports in text, HTML, or XML format that document the health state of a mass storage device. The command-line tool also offers parameters to let you do this (Figure 5). The report in HTML format is far more detailed than the information displayed by the graphical front end.

Figure 5: The report in HTML format documents the status of a mass storage device and the interfaces in detail.

In this way, you can both document the implemented features of the respective interfaces and generate a SMART table with the current values. As an administrator, you can use the values to proactively discover data carriers that are candidates for replacement.


The compact Hard Disk Sentinel tool is dedicated to monitoring the state of the mass storage devices in a system. The user interface and the context menu focus on the essentials. The application is frugal in its use of resources and provides a quick overview of all mass storage devices with the help of a few icons and short explanations.

Hard Disk Sentinel displays flash drives connected to the computer's USB ports but cannot read out status values. You can select multiple disks installed in the system in the GUI, one after the other, to keep an eye on the entire subsystem without detours. You will not want to do without Hard Disk Sentinel on any system with important data files.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you’ve found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More