IBM has S.M.A.R.T. Technology on their drives. They also provide for download a windows utility that will monitor the condition of the disk drive and log any sector read failures. The filename is called
ezsmart.exe and is about 1meg in size.
Actually, if you have a small LAN in your domicile, it can be nice for the "Net Admin" to get his/her/its hands on such stuff. It does utterly no harm to enable it; it's simply meaningless in a non-networked situation.