Affects macOS Catalina (10.15) and later
Catalina blocks many driver extensions from loading at startup. This is part of the enhanced security measures Apple is taking to make macOS less vulnerable to hack attempts.
The SMART driver included with macOS does not support SMART over USB or FireWire devices. If you want information about a USB drive’s health, you must turn to a third-party extension to enable SMART data to be obtained over the USB bus. OWC has written such a driver, which is included with SoftRAID. With the SMART driver loaded, SoftRAID can detect when a disk has a SMART status of “failed”, and can use SMART information on a disk to predict a disk is about to fail because of existing conditions on the disk that are correlated with imminent disk failures. There is a way to get SMART drivers loading, but it requires you to take some steps.
1. Make sure the SMART drivers are installed. Unmount and disconnect all USB storage from your computer. Restart and run SoftRAID. Go to SoftRAID disk Preferences and make sure SMART USB drivers are enabled. Then select your startup volume, and “Reinstall SoftRAID Driver”. This will make sure the USB driver are loaded.
2. Restart your computer, leaving all USB drives disconnected. This is how you allow the SMART USB driver to be loaded. After startup, then connect your drives. If Catalina detects any USB drives during the startup process, it will block these extensions from loading.
3. You can tell if the drivers have loaded, by running SoftRAID. You should see (depending on the enclosure, not all enclosures can pass SMART data over USB) a status of “SMART – passed” on at least one of your USB disks. If any can pass SMART, then the driver is loading correctly. Do not worry if for example, one of your external disk shows a – next to the SMART status, it means the OWC SMART driver was unable to get SMART from that specific enclosure.
4. Going forward, you should occasionally (weekly/monthly) startup your computer without any USB drives connected, so you can check SMART on your disks.