Is it possible to check drives SMART attributes from a USB/eSATA enclosure?

Paradox asked:

I use USB external drives on a daily basis and I would like to be able to check on their integrity. I recently happened to discover I was unable to read SMART attributes from them.

I wonder if there were external enclosures allowing the OS the check the SMART attributes, either USB or eSATA and if this was a hardware and/or software limitation(s).

I suspect it is hardware-related limitation of certain USB enclosures but could not find a real answer elsewhere.

My answer:

You can obtain SMART attributes if the USB adapter/enclosure supports UASP, USB Attached SCSI Protocol. Older enclosures may not support this protocol and may only have proprietary interfaces to SMART, or none at all.

The Linux smartctl command has some support for old proprietary USB enclosures, so you may get lucky. For all the gory details, see the section of the smartctl man page explaining its -d option, which you can use to specify the type of interface if necessary.

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