S.M.A.R.T. is the abbreviation of Self Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. It is an industry standard introduced in 1992 to react earlier on hard disk failures. A hard disk supporting the S.M.A.R.T. standard monitors itself with its own micro processor and allows the operating system to request readouts that indicate whether operational parameters have changed in such a way that the hard disk might become defective in the near future. In that case, the hard disk can be replaced before any data is lost.
Some hard disk manufacturers allow the computer to request additional detail information, e.g. the current operating temperature of the disk. However, this feature is not an official part of the S.M.A.R.T. standards. Not every disk supporting S.M.A.R.T. is capable of providing temperature readings. Either the data is not measured at all, or the hard disk manufacturer did not publish how the data can be read out from the disk controller.
Hardware Monitor analyzes all hard disks connected to your computer if they include accessible temperature sensors. Each disk is tested for compliance with the S.M.A.R.T. standard. If the disk is supporting S.M.A.R.T. and the procedure for reading the temperature value of this particular model is known, the readings are automatically acquired by the software.
Further information: Displaying System Information