Skip to content
Related Articles

Related Articles

Python | Monitor hard-disk health using smartmontools

View Discussion
Improve Article
Save Article
  • Last Updated : 25 Jun, 2019
View Discussion
Improve Article
Save Article

Smartmontools, an acronym for ‘S.M.A.R.T monitoring’ tools is a package that is used to control and monitor computer storage systems using S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) system built into most modern (P)ATA, Serial ATA, SCSI/SAS devices.
It contains 2 utility programs: smartctl and smartd. These utilities give warnings or alerts of disk degradation and failure.
smartmontools can be used in any Unix/Linux based operating systems. It allows us to run various tests to check the health of the HDD or SSD in your system.


Most modern hard drives use S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) to assess their condition to determine if something is wrong with the device. This allows the user to view the hard drive’s SMART data and take necessary actions to repair or replace the device.

In this article, we will explore smartmontools and retrieve information on the HDDs and SSD in the system. We will also write a python script to parse the output of smartmontools and store the outputs in an excel sheet.

Installations –

sudo pip3 install pandas
sudo apt-get install smartmontools 

Once smartmontools has been installed, we can use the terminal or command line to obtain details of the hard drives.

Device information –

To check whether your device supports SMART monitoring and to obtain other information such as device model, capacity, serial number, etc, we use the following command:

sudo smartctl -i /dev/sda

If it is not enabled, the following command enables SMART monitoring:

sudo smartctl -s on /dev/sda

Checking the health of the device

To display the overall health of the disk, we use the following command:

sudo smartctl -H /dev/sda

This displays the status of your hard drive. If it displays any errors, then your hard drive might be experiencing some problems and you should consider backing up your data.

Tests –

To run a short test :

sudo smartctl --test=short /dev/sda

The goal of the short test is the rapid identification of a defective hard drive. Therefore, the maximum run time for the short test is 2 min.

To run a long test:

sudo smartctl --test=long /dev/sda

Long tests also identify defects but here, there is no time restriction. The test is more thorough.

To check the results of the test:

sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda

An example –

We can use Python to automate this process and generate a report. For this, we shall use Pandas to store the result in excel sheets and the os module to run the commands.

# importing libraries
import os
import pandas as pd
from pandas import ExcelWriter
# class to hold all the
# details about the device
class Device():
    def __init__(self):
        self.device_name = None = {}
        self.results = []
    # get the details of the device
    def get_device_name(self):
        cmd = 'smartctl --scan'
        data = os.popen(cmd)
        res =
        temp = res.split(' ')
        temp = temp[0].split('/')
        name = temp[2]
        self.device_name = name
    # get the device info (sda or sdb)
    def get_device_info(self):
        cmd = 'smartctl -i /dev/' + self.device_name
        data = os.popen(cmd)
        res =
        device_info = {}
        for i in range(4, len(res) - 1):
            line = res[i]
            temp = line.split(':')
            device_info[temp[0]] = temp[1]
  = device_info
    # save the results as an excel file
    def save_to_excel(self):
        col1 = list(
        col2 = list(
        output = pd.DataFrame()
        output['Name'] = col1
        output['Info'] = col2
        writer = ExcelWriter('Device_info.xlsx')
        output.to_excel(writer, 'Info_report', index = False)
        workbook =
        worksheet = writer.sheets['Info_report']
        # Account info columns
        worksheet.set_column('A:A', 35)
        # State column
        worksheet.set_column('B:B', 55)
        # Post code
        # worksheet.set_column('F:F', 10)
    # function to check the health
    # of the device
    def check_device_health(self):
        cmd = 'smartctl -H /dev/' + self.device_name
        data = os.popen(cmd).read()
        res = data.splitlines()
        health = res[4].split(':')
        print(health[0] + ':' + health[1])
    # function to run the short test
    def run_short_test(self):
        cmd = 'smartctl --test = short /dev/' + self.device_name
        data = os.popen(cmd).read().splitlines()
    # function to get the results
    # of the test.
    def get_results(self):
        cmd = 'smartctl -l selftest /dev/' + self.device_name
        data = os.popen(cmd).read()
        res = data.splitlines()
        # stores the names of columns
        columns = res[5].split(' ')
        columns = ' '.join(columns)
        columns = columns.split()
        info = [columns]
        # iterate through the important
        # rows since 0-5 is not required
        for i in range(6, len(res)):
            line = res[i]
            line = ' '.join(line.split())
            row = line.split(' ')
        # save the results
        self.results = info
    # function to convert the 
    # results of the test to an
    # excel file and save it
    def save_results_to_excel(self):
        # create a folder to store outputs
        # get the columns
        columns = self.results[0]
        # create a dataframe to store
        # the result in excel
        outputs = pd.DataFrame()
        col1, col2, col3, col4 = [], [], [], []
        l = len(self.results[1])
        # iterate through all the rows and store
        # it in the data frame
        for i in range(1, len(self.results) - 1):
            if(len(self.results[i]) == l):
                col1.append(' '.join(self.results[i][2:4]))
                col2.append(' '.join(self.results[i][4:7]))
                col1.append(' '.join(self.results[i][1:3]))
                col2.append(' '.join(self.results[i][3:6]))
        # store the columns that we 
        # require in the data frame
        outputs[columns[1]] = col1
        outputs[columns[2]] = col2
        outputs[columns[3]] = col3
        outputs[columns[4]] = col4
        # an excel writer object to save as excel.
        writer = ExcelWriter('Test_results.xlsx')
        outputs.to_excel(writer, 'Test_report', index = False)
        # manipulating the dimensions of the columns
        # to make it more presentable.
        workbook =
        worksheet = writer.sheets['Test_report']
        worksheet.set_column('A:A', 25)
        worksheet.set_column('B:B', 25)
        worksheet.set_column('C:C', 25)
        worksheet.set_column('D:D', 25)
        # saving the file
# driver function
if __name__ == '__main__':
    device = Device()

Output :

Device Info:

Test results:

My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
Recommended Articles
Page :

Start Your Coding Journey Now!