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Speccy fails to read SMART data on USB-connected HDDs

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If you run Speccy when you have an external hard drive connected via USB, either a dedicated backup device or a hard drive from another machine connected via an adaptor, the SMART data displayed by Speccy for the external HDD is not that for the drive, but from the internal HDD of the PC.


I took a snapshot of the Speccy output to upload as evidence of this bug, but got a message: "You aren't permitted to upload this kind of file".


Instead, I have pasted screenshots into a Word docx so you can see that the data presented for a 1TB external Toshiba disk is identical to that for the internal 2TB Seagate drive. But I can't upload a DOCX file either!!


Finally managed to send you two images in PNG format.


Why does it have to be so hard?





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Mr Google says that Smart data is not - at least not easily - enabled for usb connected devices. I'm no expert so it would be easier if you asked him yourself.

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  • 4 months later...

Hey Augeas,

I would suggest that Mr Google is not a reliable source of such information.  I have a number of different free SMART data checkers, such as "CrystalDiskInfo" and "PassMark DiskCheckup" (being the better of them) - they give valid and reliable SMART information on external HDD's that are connected via USB.  The fact that people were able to write those utilities and provide them for free is a strong suggestion to me that it wasn't very hard to enable reading the SMART data for USB connected devices.

Clearly Speccy has a problem here that needs to be fixed.  The entire table/s showing SMART information for all connected USB drives are an exact copy of the PC's main HDD.  It gives one the impression that the programmer has missed a step to update the extra tables with SMART information from the external drives.

I noticed this problem back in 2015 when I purchased Speccy, but never made the effort to report the bug.  chrisr78 has done an excellent job in reporting the bug, as seen above.

Is there any way of kindly asking Piriform to correct the problem please?

Best regards,


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I believe the 'problem' here is that when you plug a device into a USB slot it communicates with the system using the USB mass storage protocol. It simply doesn't support SMART (which is an ATA command). A USB attached hard disk is no different from a USB attached flash drive or SD card, or anything that has a USB plug on the end of a cable, they use different protocols. The system doesn't know what sits on the other end, it may not speak ATA at all.

Some protocols, like the one used by USB hard disks, allow ATA commands to be passed through different protocol layers, but there is no general protocol to speak to those devices, and it's probably not supported by WMI, because it's a very complex task. Speccy, like the other Piriform applications, I believe only use WMI requests, so SMART data is not available from USB connected devices. As I said I'm no expert (and this was mainly cribbed from an article in StackOverflow) so I'm quite amenable to being corrected, as I'm at the limits of my knowledge on this subject..




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  • 2 weeks later...

G'day Augeas,

You said "I believe the 'problem' here is that when you plug a device into a USB slot it communicates with the system using the USB mass storage protocol. It simply doesn't support SMART..." - it is puzzling why you believe that. Where is your evidence? As I said, the best two free SMART data checkers that I use regularly, "CrystalDiskInfo" and "PassMark DiskCheckup", work perfectly well with USB attached Drives.  Hard evidence that contradicts what you believe.

And you said "The system doesn't know what sits on the other end..." - that's odd.  How is it then that all the PC's I've ever had with USB ports have always been able to tell me exactly "what sits on the other end", be it FLASH, HDD, SSD, or whatever, giving all manner of details about the devices?

Continuing, "...it may not speak ATA at all" - well if it isn't a drive, then it probably won't, but give me an example of a drive that doesn't speak ATA please.

Here is a snippet from an article on James Litten's website: "In order to check the S.M.A.R.T. data on a HDD:
 - In the case of external drives connected via USB they need to be detected by the computer’s Plug and Play software (responds to the ATA command IDENTFY_DEVICE)".

Your next paragraph starts with a mixture of statements that don't inspire any more confidence in their factuality.  For instance, here's what one programmer has to say about accessing SMART data with WMI: "If you want to know how well your disk drive is performing then there is a way of accessing the SMART data - including the temperature - using WMI and it is fairly easy."  If Speccy can access internal HDDs using WMI, then it seems to me it should be able to do the same for drives attached via USB - as long as they respond to the ATA command IDENTFY_DEVICE just like internal drives do...  And here's a thought, why would the Speccy programmers go to all the trouble of showing a whole table of SMART info' if the SMART info' is not accessible?

Could I be so bold as to make a suggestion please?  Please don't waste our time with such responses.

Your final sentence is both enlightening and encouraging.

Augeas, mate, can I ask you to address what really matters with all this, and that is the last question I asked originally, which seems to have been overlooked: "Is there any way of kindly asking Piriform to correct the problem please?"

If it turns out that Speccy is written to use WMI, and WMI can't access SMART data on USB connected drives, then Speccy needs to have all the SMART tables removed when showing details of those external drives.

All the best to you,


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  • 11 months later...

Interesting replies to the item that I posted here in August 2017, well over a year ago. I note Augeas' comments but as PTpc points out, other disk utilities can manage to report SMART for USB-connected drives. Utilities such as Crystal Disk Info and Argus Monitor can do it perfectly well; why can't Speccy?

And echoing PTpc's point that Speccy should not display a SMART table if it will contain invalid and misleading data.

I dropped in here to advise Piriform that Bob Rankin has just published one his excellent articles about PC care and maintenance and that I posted a comment there pointing out this particular Speccy bug. Just thought Piriform should be aware of the poor publicity. https://askbobrankin.com/hard_drives_is_yours_smart_enough.html

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