Your hard disk has tools built in which will alert you if your hard disk is about to physically fail. This has saved me exactly once, so it’s worth it in my opinion to set this up, even if the only computer that matters to you is your laptop.

Here’s how I have everything set up (in Arch)

First, I install msmtp and set up the system-wide /etc/msmtprc as follows

tls on
tls_starttls on
tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
logfile /var/log/msmtprc.log

account remote
domain domain.remote.tld
host smtp.remote.tld
auth on
port 587
user awebster
password <PASSWORD>

account default : remote

where <PASSWORD> is your actual password. chmod 600 this file for not that much security. Might just want to use a throwaway or sandboxed email for such things anyway.

Next, install the smart tools

pacman -S smartmontools

and enable them

systemctl enable smartd
systemctl start smartd

Make sure that your drive support SMART and that SMART reporting is turned ON. See here for how to do that.

Edit /etc/smartd.conf to report errors to you by changing the line




note the -M test this is just to get it working, we’ll remove that at the end.

Since I use msmtp instead of whatever, I had to edit /etc/ so that it would use msmtp. First, change the os_mailer variable to

# Default mailer

Next, edit the following lines so that they look like this:

# Send mail or run command
if [ -n "$SMARTD_ADDRESS" ]; then
    # Send mail, use platform mailer by default
    test -n "$SMARTD_MAILER" || SMARTD_MAILER=$os_mailer
    if [ -n "$dryrun" ]; then
    echo "exec $SMARTD_MAILER -a default $SMARTD_ADDRESS <<EOF
From: $(whoami)@$HOSTNAME

    exec $SMARTD_MAILER -a default $SMARTD_ADDRESS <<EOF
From: $(whoami)@$HOSTNAME


The modification here is basically that msmtp (as far as I know, anyways) wants a nicely formatted message.

Test that everything is working by restarting the daemon

systemctl restart smartd

You should receive an email. If not, figure out what went wrong and fix it. If everything looks good you can remove the -M test dingle from /etc/smartd.conf and you should be good to go.

Quick note: You should always have a valid .forward file in both your own home directory and root’s home directory. Make sure there are multiple entries in this in case you need it one day.