Crystal Disk Info and Open Candy

January 4, 2013

All modern hard drives contain a feature called S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology.
What it really means is that the drive connects statistics about itself. These statistics can be used to detect when the drive has a problem and can often allow you to replace a drive BEFORE it fails and you lose all of your data.

The only problem with this technology is that Windows doesn’t really monitor S.M.A.R.T..
So even though this technology can be used to prevent hard drive crashes, it’s largely ignored by Windows and thus, this technology is not taken advantage of and doesn’t benefit most people.

The good news is that there are quite a few free utilities that you can install that will tell you about the health of your hard drive based on S.M.A.R.T.  We read a lot of reviews and tested a lot of these utilities. When testing we evaluated the software based on several criteria. First, the utility had to be free. It also had to be free from annoying pop-up advertisements. It had to be something that a non-technical person could open and immediately see if their hard drive was OK or not without having to sift through a bunch of technical jargon or statistics. And lastly, it had to be capable of sending email notifications about problems.

After testing several utilities, our favorite was Crystal Disk Info (CDI). The one caveat to CDI is that when you install it, you find that it contains Open Candy. You probably are not familiar with what Open Candy is. Open Candy is a service that can be included in an installation that prompts you to install extra free software. What software it asks you about installing depends on what’s currently installed on your computer.

Most of this software is not harmful, however, a few options in Open Candy are considered to be harmful. Even if the software isn’t harmful, you don’t want extra software on your computer anyway. So when you download Crystal Disk Info, your anti-virus software may detect it as an infection. Crystal Disk Info itself is not an infection. However, some software installed by Open Candy is considered an infection by some security software.

It is safe to install CDI, but you just have to be careful to de-select the options for the additional software from Open Candy. And before you download and install CDI, you might have to temporarily disable your security software.

Once you install CDI, you can run it and instantly see the health of your hard drive. But we recommend setting it up so that it will always run on your computer automatically so that it can notify you as soon as it detects possible problems. I run it on all of our computers. I also have it installed on all of our contract customer computers. This utility has saved several of our customers from suffering a hard drive crash. It has also saved us twice here at Computer Troubleshooters. In all of these cases, the utility warned us of rising problems and we were able to replace the hard drives BEFORE they crashed thus preventing downtime and data loss.

If you are interested in downloading and installing CDI onto your computer, be very careful. First of all, there are several infections out there that pretend to be Crystal Disk Info, so make sure you download it from the link below and nowhere else.

http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-e.html

Note that the only difference between the Standard Edition and the Shizuku Edition is that the Shizuku edition has Anime visuals. The functionality is the same. Again, when installing it, make sure you select custom install and deselect all of the options. Otherwise, junk software will be installed on your computer.

To set CDI up so that it runs automatically, click on the Function menu and then click on Resident. Then click on the Function menu again and click on Startup. That’s it! If you are on our SAM (Security And Maintenance) plan, there is no need to do this because we have already installed it on your computer.

Something else you should be aware of. Some laptops and small form factor computers run hotter. Because of this, your hard drive might run at a hotter temperature than most computers. In this case, you might get warnings from CDI about the hard drive temperature, even though this is normal for your computer.

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