Reviewer’s Guide

Contents:

What is HDDlife® for?
Who needs HDDlife?
How does HDDlife® work?
What is so special about HDDlife?
Other HDDlife® features
HDDlife® User Interface
Where can HDDlife® be downloaded?
Who developed HDDlife® and how is technical support provided?
Prices and purchasing HDDlife®
Plans for future versions

 

What is HDDlife® for?

It's no secret that information in most computers is stored on hard drives. This rule applies to various computers: laptops, desktops, various servers and other computer systems. Recently the amount of electronic information we have to deal with has been growing dramatically (mostly because of multimedia data). And in order to satisfy user's increasing needs, hard drive manufacturers are constantly increasing the size of their storage devices. However, this results in two rather unpleasant tendencies. First, modern hard drives are rather capricious devices. Even a light impact or a weak blow can damage the drive. And secondly, hard drives are susceptible to overheating. According to hard drive manufacturers, an increase in the operating temperature from 45 to 55 Celsius degrees centigrade results in degraded reliability! Many components of a modern computer emit quite a large amount of heat.
Today, many dangers threaten computer information . There are viruses, remote attacks and operating system failures. In all these cases, creating backups can help. But, according to statistics, only some users backup more or less regularly. But even backing up does not help in the case of problems with the "health" of hard drives, asin many cases backups are actually stored on the same storage device with the initial information. Thus, if this device is damaged, everything will be destroyed. The only way to prevent the disaster and effectively cope with potentially dangerous situations is to use special software, for example, the utility HDDlife.

Who needs HDDlife?

The answer to this question is simple. Any computer with a hard drive can suddenly surprise its owner in a very unpleasant way. And the only way to prevent it is to constantly monitor the "health" and working temperature of the hard drive using HDDlife. This program can warn its users about dangerous situations. Therefore, everyone who owns a laptop, a desktop, a server or some other computer system needs this utility.

How does HDDlife® work?

In operation, HDDlife® uses the self-diagnostic system S.M.A.R.T. That most hard drives are equipped with. The program polls the system and then analyzes the obtained values of various parameters. This process is carried out at regular intervals specified by the user, which allows us to constantly monitor the "health" of a hard drive . To determine the operating temperature, the program uses the hardware sensors that most modern hard drives are equipped with.

What is so special about HDDlife?

Honestly speaking, there are quite a few programs on the market today that can be used to constantly monitor the "health" of hard drives. But the HDDlife® utility has two quite superb advantages over its competitors. The first one is its simple and intuitive interface, and the second one is its rich features, including unique technologies you will not find in any other software.

To begin with, the interface of the program is multilingual. The user can choose among more than twenty popular languages. Most software working with the S.M.A.R.T. technology is made exclusively for the English-speaking audience. Another unique feature of HDDlife® is how data about the "health" of hard drives is presented. Usually, utilities just obtain information from the S.M.A.R.T. system and show the user the values of various parameters. It is rather non-intuitive. The user may fail to know what this or that parameter means and how dangerous it is if its value increases or decreases. So only professionals who know computer hardware quite well can actually understand the state of their hard drives with the help of such programs.

Using HDDlife® is much more intuitive in this respect. We use a special algorithm. It converts the initial S.M.A.R.T. data and displays the result not as some abstract parameters for a regular user, but in intuitive percentage terms.

So, regarding its interface and usability, HDDlife® actually has a serious advantage over its competitors. Now let us proceed to the features of this utility. Let's talk about unique technologies that only HDDlife® includes. The first one is called JustNow™. It is a completely new technology that allows you to find out the state of health and performance of your hard drives, immediately when you start the program for the first time and when you start it again.

Another unique technology implemented in HDDlife® is AnywhereView™. The essence of this feature is that the program displays information that is constantly visible to the user. A special sign is displayed on the standard hard drive icon and it visualizes the "health" of the hard drive. This technology works in all applications that use the regular features of the Windows operating system while working with dialog boxes (the standard Open File and Save File dialog boxes, etc.)

 

 

 

Other HDDlife® features

Many other l features that can be useful for the owners of computers are implemented in HDDlife. To begin with, this utility can determine not only the level of "health", but also the performance rate of the hard drive. This is very important. Indeed, itt's no secret that the overall performance of a computer system is limited to the performance of its "bottleneck". And it is not a rare case that the performance rate of the hard drive becomes such a bottleneck.

We have already mentioned another important feature of HDDlife. It displays the working temperature of the hard drive if the drive is quipped with a temperature sensor. This data is displayed in the system tray and used in the AnywhereView™ technology. The user can tell the level to which the hard drive is heated from the color of the displayed digits (green – normal, yellow – danger, red - critical). A user can define the levels of dangerous and critical temperatures. This is really important since hard drives in various computer systems work in various modes. And what might be considered as a normal temperature for one hard drive might pose a serious threat for another one.

Besides, HDDlife® can show the highest temperature the hard drive has ever achieved (the hard drive must support this feature on the hardware level). This feature allows you to find out if the device has overheated before and if it may cause problems in the future.

Another additional feature of the program is collecting information about the free space on all logical partitions of all hard drives present in the system. The space occupied by applications, games and multimedia is constantly increasing nowadays. Thus hard drives can become full rather quickly and invisibly to the user. That is why displaying the level to which a hard drive is full may turn out to be quite a useful feature, especially so when considering the AnywhereView™ technology.

Another useful aspect of HDDlife® is its notification of the user about a potentially dangerous event. These events are the moments when one of the three main parameters (hard drive "health", working temperature or free space) achieve a dangerous or critical level. There are four notification types implemented in the program. All of them are enabled and disabled independently from each other and separately for each event. This allows the user to customize the notification system.

The first notification method is displaying a special message in the system tray area (the so-called hint). The second method is playing a sound file. The user can specify a file that should be played. These two methods are quite enough to meet the requirements of most home users. The third notification method is sending a message over the local area network. To do this, it is enough just to specify the name of the computer where the report should be sent. The fourth method is using e-mail. To do this, you should enter the necessary e-mail address and SMTP server parameters and also make sure the PC is connected to the Internet. The last two features are intended more for corporate customers. Indeed, once the system administrator of a company configures remote notifications, he will always know the state of all hard drives and will be able to take emergency measures in case a dangerous situation develops.

The following situation often occurs during the operation of a computer. The user starts some process that extensively uses the hard drive and goes away from the computer. Meanwhile, it is during such active work that the temperature of the storage device can increase and achieve a critical level. Most notification systems are of no help since the user is away from the computer. That is why HDDlife® can turn off the computer automatically. Moreover, it is possible to switch the computer to a hibernation mode with the content of its memory, including opened documents, saved. On the other hand, this feature is not always necessary and the user can decide if it should be enabled or not.

 

HDDlife® User Interface

Main window

This is what the main program window looks like:
Let's take a look at each element:

1. The button for closing the main window.
Closes the main window. Bear in mind that HDDlife® is not closed in this case. It continues its work in the background. Use the program icon in the system tray to access its functions or to re-open the main window.

2. Program main menu.
Use this to execute different HDDlife® commands, for example, to open the settings, etc.

3. Tabs with hard drives.
Each tab represents one hard drive on your computer. You can see the icon with the status of each disk next to its number. The main window described above allows you to see that one of the disks is in the urgent state, while the other must be immediately replaced as its health and life level is critical.

4. Information about free space on logical disks.
This table contains all logical disks on the computer with their associated letters, volume labels, file systems and information about their total sizes and free (available) space.

 

Information on tabs

You can see the following information on each tab:

1. The overall graphic representation of the health and life of the disk.
Its green color means that everything is all right, yellow means an urgent state, and red is a critical condition.

2. The manufacturer’s name and the model of the hard drive.
You can use this in bug reporting.

3. The total volume (size) of the disk in gigabytes.
This may slightly vary from that specified by the manufacturer as each manufacturer uses their own method of calculation.

4. The temperature of the hard drive.
This looks like a progress bar. The green level means that everything is OK, the yellow level means urgent, the red level is dangerous and there is a chance of overheating and a resulting hard drive failure.
If your disk supports such a feature, the program can show its maximum temperature for the entire period of its work. You will see it as a red vertical line.

5. The health and life condition of the hard drive.
This shows the percentage of the remaining health and life of your hard drive. A perfect drive would show 100%. As the disk works and becomes “worn out”, the level decreases. As in other visual elements, the green color means that everything is OK, yellow means an urgent state, and red means that the state is critical and the disk must be immediately replaced.

6. The performance level of the hard drive.
This estimates the overall performance of the hard drive based on some of its technical parameters. Bear in mind that this parameter concerns the hard drive only and the total performance rate depends on your computer.

7. The final conclusion about the status of the disk.
Here you can find a simple and understandable conclusion that HDDlife® makes about the state of your hard drive. It also includes recommendations concerning your further work with the drive.

8. Information about free space on logical disks.
This table contains all logical disks on the computer with their associated letters, volume labels, file systems and information about their total sizes and free (available) space.

Where can HDDlife® be downloaded?

The main location to download the latest version of HDDlife® is the official website of the utility (www.HDDlife.com) and also our corporate website (www.BinarySense.com). The distribution package is about 3 megabytes in size. Users who have no Internet access can find the program on many compact disks issued as a supplement to various computer magazines.

Who developed HDDlife® and how is technical support provided?

The developer of the program HDDlife® is a Russian company called BinarySense, Ltd. It was founded in 2005 by several specialists that had worked for other companies developing similar utilities. Thus, a highly professional staff of developers knowing the subject quite well was formed. This became the basis for creating a truly convenient and reliable program devoid of many of the drawbacks found in most competitor's products.
Technical support for registered users is provided via a special web system available at https://hddlife.com/support. Its use has a number of advantages over traditional e-mail . In particular, our technical support system guarantees that no message will be considered spam and filtered out by an automatic filter.

Prices and purchasing HDDlife®

The program HDDlife® is a commercial product. The user can try the utility before purchasing it. To do so, just download the full-featured trial version and work with it during the evaluation period (14 days). If you like the program, you can purchase a key that will disable all limitations.
HDDlife® costs $29.00 (US) for a single-user license. Also available, a family license for 5 computers at $99.00 (US). Discounts are available for multi-user licenses. For multi-user pricing, see: https://hddlife.com/eng/order.html

Plans for future versions

HDDlife® is under constant development. Each new version includes an improved interface and new features. We are planning, for instance, to add detailed information about the current S.M.A.R.T. parameters to the program in the near future. Technically advanced users are sure to appreciate this new feature. We are also planning to release a new version of HDDlife® for corporate local area networks.

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HDDlife v4 released! Read what's new!

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Single PC $25 $16
Family (5 PCs) $125 $44
Notebook $35 $23
BUNDLE!
(Pro & Notebook)
$60 $27
SSD Life $25 $16
SSD Life for Ultrabooks $35 $23

Additional links

 

Also look at:

SSDlife - monitor solid-state drives estimated lifetime and throughput.