The following is a description of O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition, as per the developer:
No other single part of the modern computer system is more susceptible to malfunction than the hard disk. In fact, such a malfunction can come without warning and often strikes while the computer’s being used. O&O DriveLED, working quietly in the background, permanently monitors the status of your hard disks and warns you of any impending problems.
An early-warning system for hard disk crashes
When is it the right time for giving your computer a rest? When it’s too hot? Overloaded? Vital components are on the verge of breaking down? No other single part of the modern computer system is more susceptible to malfunction than the hard disk. In fact, such a malfunction can come without warning and often strikes while the computer’s being used. O&O DriveLED, working quietly in the background, permanently monitors the status of your hard disks and warns you of any impending problems. With it, you’ll always have time to backup your data and so avoid losing any of it when exchanging a hard disk. This is time a sudden crash will never give you.
Important Features at a Glance
- NEW: Redesigned user interface
- NEW: Also available in Workstation and Server Editions
- NEW: Status reports
- Displays read/write access for logical volumes
- Displays storage capacity for every drive
- Automatic monitoring of all S.M.A.R.T. properties
- Displays current temperatures on all hard disk drives (when supported by manufacturer)
- Warning of possible operational errors on all hard disk drives
- Supports all Windows-compatible disks
- Support of SCSI-disk drives
- Monitors network drives
Without a doubt (traditional) hard drives are one of the most susceptible parts of computers to fail. The goal of O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition is to warn users of potential hard drive failure with the hope that users are able to transfer data to another hard drive before the failure occurs.
The main crux of O&O DriveLED 4 Pro is monitoring hard drives using a system called S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). [O&O DriveLED 4 Pro monitors local and network hard drives.]
S.M.A.R.T is an industry-accepted method of anticipating hard drive failures that looks at a specific set of hard drive attributes. Each hard drive manufacturer sets the threshold for each relevant attribute and if S.M.A.R.T tests determine an attribute is below the specified threshold, then that means the hard drive is more prone to failure than before. In other words, one S.M.A.R.T. attribute below the threshold means a hard drive is more likely to fail than if it had no S.M.A.R.T. attributes below the threshold; obviously the more attributes that fall below their specified thresholds, the more likely it is a hard drive is going to fail.
There are two main issues with S.M.A.R.T. Firstly, S.M.A.R.T. isn’t 100% accurate. For example:
Work at Google on over 100,000 drives found correlations between certain S.M.A.R.T. information and actual failure rates. In the 60 days following the first scan error on a drive, the drive was, on average, 39 times more likely to fail than it would have been had no such error occurred. First errors in reallocations, offline reallocations and probational counts were also strongly correlated to higher probabilities of failure. Conversely, no correlations were found for increased temperature or usage level. However, a large proportion of the failed drives failed without giving any S.M.A.R.T. warnings at all, meaning that S.M.A.R.T. data alone was of limited usefulness in anticipating failures.
There is no one sure-fire way of knowing your hard drive is about to fail. S.M.A.R.T. is simply a smart way (pun intended) to attempt to predict failure.
Secondly, S.M.A.R.T depends on manufactures to define the threshold for each attribute on their hard drives. Sometimes manufacturers are not so willing. Out of 22 attributes, O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition was only able to detect 5 for my hard drive, presumably because the manufacturer of my hard drive didn’t define the thresholds for the other 17 attributes.
That then brings me to O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition. I cannot think of any criticism of the program per se but I have to question how useful it is to the home user. The advantage of O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition obviously is it gives you a easy-to-understand status of your hard drive, telling you if your hard drive is OK or not, while still giving advanced users the option to look at specific S.M.A.R.T. attributes. However if S.M.A.R.T itself is not perfect and O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition can only detect a limited number of S.M.A.R.T thresholds (i.e. 5/22) how useful is this program?
I honestly don’t see much use to regularly running O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition to check the status of my hard drive or, alternatively, have it always running in the background. I mean if your hard drive is going to fail it is going to fail — O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition won’t stop it from failing. O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition will only attempt to warn you when before your drive fails in which case, presumably, you will backup your data and move it to another hard drive. Well guess what? You should be regularly backing up your important data anyway. If you do regularly backup your data, when (if) your hard drive fails just buy a new drive, transfer the data from backups, and move on. No need to complicate your already complicated digital life by trying to predict when your hard drive will fail. Indeed you may even end up wasting cash on new hard drives because O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition tells you your hard drive status is not OK but in reality the hard drive continues to last for months (maybe even years).
I can see the usefulness of O&O DriveLED-like software in businesses and organizations that need to avoid downtime as much as possible — S.M.A.R.T. can assist IT in swapping out drives prior to failure, thus avoiding downtime. But for home use? Meh. I personally wouldn’t bother with it. But, hey, if you want… get it.
O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition is being given away in a promotion by O&O Software themselves. There is no information on how long this promotion will be live nor if you can install/reinstall after the promotion ends.
To get O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition for free, doing the following:
Version being given out for free: v4.2 Build 157
Free updates and technical support: Unknown
Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win7
Download size: 29.2 (32-bit) | 52.7 MB (64-bit)
- Visit the promotion page  and register:
Note: O&O Software are known to send unsolicited e-mail (some may call it spam). By getting this freebie, expect them to send you tons of e-mails unless you manually opt out later.
- Check the inbox of the e-mail address you registered with. Look for an e-mail from O&O Software email@example.com with subject of Your license of O&O DriveLED 4. In the e-mail you will find the registration details for O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition:
Keep these registration details safe because you will need them soon. Take note your e-mail address is used for the Name and Company values — you will need to enter them along with the license key when registering the software.
- Download (32-bit  | 64-bit ) and install O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition.
- At the end of the installation you will be asked to restart your computer. Do so.
- After you have restarted your computer, run O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition.
- When you run it, you will be asked to register O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition. Register it using the registration details you received earlier:
If you have trouble getting O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Edition for free, post below and other dotTechies or I will try to help.
[Thanks to the multiple people that informed about this freebie.]