It's SMART to heed warning

Helpline

April 22, 2004|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I am running a 2-Ghz Dell PC with Windows XP. I have partitioned the hard drive into several partitions. I usually keep the PC on all the time. However, when I turn it off and restart, I always get a message that one of my disks (Drive K) needs to be checked for consistency. If I let the computer check the disk, there are no problems encountered and Windows starts. If I hit Enter to abort the disk check, Windows starts. Is there something that I can do to solve this annoying problem?

You may be in bigger trouble than you think because that warning message you are getting usually means that there is a mechanical problem with a hard drive and there is a strong chance that it will fail sometime in the future - probably the near future.

Those messages are sent from a feature called SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) built into most motherboards to check hard-drive reliability.

You should back up all the data on the drive and then keep making backups every time you shut the machine down.

You probably can shut off those grim reminders by calling up the BIOS setup menu at bootup, usually by holding down the F2 key as the drive starts to spin. Depending upon your BIOS version and motherboard, you will probably find a setting to either shut down the SMART warnings themselves or to shut down all system warnings.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Contact James Coates at jcoates@tribune.com.

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