Unitrends Helix: SMART disk drive problem on <machine name>

Customers who are using Unitrends Helix as a Paid service and have installed the Helix agent on Windows PCs may receive an email similar to the one below.  The purpose of this alert is to help identify Hard Disk Drives that may be in a pre-failure or error state in systems that Unitrends protects.  

Subject: Unitrends Helix: SMART disk drive problem on [Machine Name]

This is an automated SMART disk drive notification from Unitrends Helix.

The hostname of asset that triggered the remediation is: [Machine Name]
The internal IP of the asset that triggered the remediation is: [Machine IP Address]

SMART disk drive status on the asset.

MediaType                 Model                     Serial Number    Status
Removable Media            SanDisk Ultra USB Device  030***           OK
Fixed hard disk media      SAMSUNG SSD               S1EN***          Degraded

If you continue to receive this e-mail, manual intervention is required. Please follow steps
in the KB article to remediate the problem.


If you have received this message, please note this indicates the windows management interface on your machine has detected a S.M.A.R.T issue on one of the HDDs included in the named client system.  This alert is typically, but not always, able to be detected before a HDD completely fails.  Receipt of such an alert may indicate a system hardware health issue on the named client that should be further investigated by the end user.  


Note: Please DO NOT contact Unitrends Support about this issue.  Unitrends Support is unable to provide assistance to customers who receive this alert as this alert relates only to 3rd party hardware Unitrends does not sell or support.  This alert is provided to help alert IT admins to potential hardware impacts in their environment in the intend of avoiding system crash and recovery.  This alert does not imply Unitrends coverage for identified issues in 3rd party hardware.  


Steps to take:  

This alert MAY indicate a potential hardware failure on the indicated drive.  In this case, Unitrends advises customers to do the following. 

  1. Ensure you have a recent good backup of the named system.  
  2. Run your computer vendor or disk drive vendor hardware diagnostics on the system named in the email to further validate status of drives.  Note some vendor tools do not provide reporting of all SMART errors and may only pass/fail a drive based on their own pre-determined thresholds.  Additional vendor support or use of 3rd party tools may be necessary to understand the nature of the SMART alert reported.  
  3. Contact as necessary the drive or system vendor to replace failing drives, clear negative status, or

    confirm the drive does not require replacement.  

  4. Consider adjusting Backup frequency up or down of systems that may be unstable either to minimize RPO or reduce system strains.  
  5. Only if drives are not going to be replaced, and if you would like to disable the feature that generates this email, contact Unitrends Support.  At this time only Unitrends Support staff can disable this feature.  In the future we will provide a method for customers to self-disable this reporting.  


Unitrends does not warrant or guarantee that your system will correctly identify individual drive failures. Please ensure you are also monitoring or running vendor provided diagnostic tools and use RAID arrays in all production systems where possible to avoid data loss.  

SMART errors and alerts do not necessarily mean a drive is defective or that it needs to be replaced.  Error conditions may be presented by hardware that are dismissed by hardware vendor or not covered by pre-failure warranty.  Unitrends will not be responsible for labor or costs associated with troubleshooting SMART errors reported/detected by wmic or cases that lead to unnecessary replacement.  

This tool is only able to identify that a drive has flagged a general SMART status other than OK, and displays this status.  Detail information about drive health is not available via this tool.  1st party or 3rd party tools may be required to ascertain drive health details to further remediate.  

This tool reports all drives present including status of removable media.  Unstable media or drives that enter sleeps states may produce sporadic results.  

This tool only reports the status of local attached drives on systems that have the Helix Agent deployed, it cannot report the status SAN or NAS drive systems and cannot be used to monitor VMWare, Xen, or Nutanix hypervisor storage status.  This tool is currently limited to Windows OS that support the Unitrends Helix agent.  

This process is limited by the features and output of Microsoft wmic.  Your system may have a failing drive that we cannot identify for any of the reasons below or other undocumented reasons, and Helix should not be trusted as the sole source for managing your individual system health.  

  • Drives not seen on the bus at the time of scan because they have hard failed
  • Drives in a hard failed state that are not returning queries
  • drives who's SMART status is obscured by a RAID controller or other firmware/drivers/monitoring
  • failures of the wmic calls made through windows


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