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SpinRite


Don W
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But you could partition into a 2TB and a 1TB and make it work, right?

Pretty sure that'd work.

 

Scott may take exception. My take is that Scott misses the point & purpose of SR. It is not, primarily, a data recovery tool. Rather, it is a drive maintenance tool that happens to make it possible to recover data in many cases.

It may be a maintenance tool, but all of Steve's stories are about SR saving the day, ie, data recovery. In doing so, it beats on a bad sector until that sector gives up its data, or at least as much data as it ever will. Scott Moulton actually likes SR's sector recovery algorithm; he thinks SR is probably the slickest software-based data recovery tool available anywhere. His beef is that he believes the data should be written to a healthy drive, not back to one that is already shown to be failing. So in his (and others') opinion, Steve's product would be better if it provided the option to recover data to another drive. That leaves SR for what it is: a decent HDD pre-qualifier and maintenance tool that is also capable of recovering data from bad sectors, although susceptible to killing the drive in the process depending of the state of the HDD which may be hard to judge. So using SR for data recovery is a calculated gamble on the part of the user, generally a reasonable gamble, but a gamble nonetheless. If your drive is making some 'bad' noises and you choose to run SR on it, don't be surprised if you don't get the results you were hoping for.  Having said that, people have reported running SR for weeks before it finally succeeded in recovering the blocks that were causing problems.

 

As long as you understand SR's limitations, you can make an informed decision on how to use it. Odds are, it won't kill your drive. But it could. 

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I agree people do tend to 'over-expect' what SR can do. It seems to me that this is the case for a lot of people who don't like SR.

 

I also have to admit I deliberately omitted what I'm going to post now, just to see if anyone would go to the 'Steve always says SR is for data recovery' argument. I've read this quite often, but I think there's an important distinction to be made.

 

Steve actually does not always talk about data recovery. If you listen to Steve carefully, you will hear that he considers SR to be a maintenance tool in the first place, and a data recovery tool in the second place. When Steve reads stories on Security Now from people about data recovery, he often follows it up with a statement that, if people had used SR regularly, they very likely would not have needed to use it for data recovery. People seem to hear the first part and ignore the last part.

 

I completely agree about understanding SR's limitations. I am one of those people who has run SR for weeks -- my longest SR run was 3 months. What was a bit 'miraculous' about it was that I did it without having the system on a UPS (I simply forget) :)

 

I do not think SpinRite is some sort of 'magical' tool that can perform miracles. It's a useful piece of software that, used as it's intended, can help alleviate data loss from hard drives.

 

I have to agree that having the option to write data out to another drive would be a useful feature for SR. That may be something Steve is considering for SR 7, but I have no inside knowledge about that.

 

I use SR on all my drives, new and old. I have a computer set up with 4 VMs specifically to run SR and process 4 drives at once. This is how I get around the 'SpinRite takes forever' complaint -- I simply keep enough SpinRited drives on hand to meet my needs.

 

As soon as I get hold of a 3TB drive I'm going to try the partitioning 'trick', to see if that will allow SR to handle drives that large. I'll post my results.

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"...I am one of those people who has run SR for weeks -- my longest SR run was 3 months."

Ha! That is awesome. I'm curious, did you return the drive to service?

 

 

I use SR on all my drives, new and old. I have a computer set up with 4 VMs specifically to run SR and process 4 drives at once. This is how I get around the 'SpinRite takes forever' complaint -- I simply keep enough SpinRited drives on hand to meet my needs.

Nice trick. I'm sure you've mentioned this before, but what level do you run those tests at?

 

 

As soon as I get hold of a 3TB drive I'm going to try the partitioning 'trick', to see if that will allow SR to handle drives that large. I'll post my results.

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Ha! That is awesome. I'm curious, did you return the drive to service?

 

No, not that drive. It was a drive from a Dell computer in the Finance Dept at work. We only bothered with it because it had pretty important data; data that was important even after 3 months. We sent the drive to Dell for replacement. :)

 

 

Nice trick. I'm sure you've mentioned this before, but what level do you run those tests at?

 

 For certifying, or re-certifying, drives I use Level 4. For recovering data, on those few occasions I've done it, mostly for friends and family, I use Level 2. For SSDs I use Level 1.

 

Here's my SR VM machine in action :)

 

gallery_502_13_158356.jpg

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Thanks for all the replies folks!!
 
Someone has given me a link to a GRC news group, but the link isn't working atm, but I'll go discuss it more there if I can get on (if I find more info, I will report back here)...  This forum seemed to be a pretty active community that was willing to help, so thought it might be okay to ask the question though (and obviously it is).
 
I realised reading replies though that I missed some minor details...I have TRIED to use SpinRite and not succeeded.  I had been discussing with a friend of mine that my scanner program found faults with sectors, and I thought it was pretty dumb that there wasn't something to do after finding some bad sectors.  He has spinrite and came over to run it on my drive.  I had at the point been playing around with running WHS on a VM on my W8 box (my WHS box died, and didn't have the money to replace it), but since then DrivePool came out with a beta that works with W8, so I have settled without WHS.  But since I had a VM setup, I used that to run SR (which worked great, and seems very ideal, being able to still use the main system while SR runs in the background in a VM).  He thought that could be the issue, but it didn't work shutting down and using the actual box either.  It just says something like "SR cannot read the size of the drive, check BIOS settings" or something to that effect.  After some googling I found some tweats indicating (but not saying out right) that SR didn't work with GPT disks, hence the question.
 
 

Specifically they need to be GPT to have a partition/volume of more than 2TB. MBR can be used to divide the large space up as an option/alternative to GPT. ie 3x 1TB volumes.

 
Ohhh, okay...that's great news.  I thought it couldn't see anything about the 2TB mark at all...  As I mentioned, I use DrivePool to pull them all together anyway, so I don't really care if it's split into multiple partitions - this is probably what I'll use as a work around and see if it works!
 
 

I have been unable to use SpinRite on 3TB drives. I believe they're too large for the underlying version of DOS that SpinRite comes with. I've heard rumours that Steve is working on a fix, but Steve works in his own timeframe, so I wouldn't hold my breath for a fix in the very near future.
 
I've also heard a rumour that using one of the most recent versions of genuine MS DOS, instead of the FreeDOS that comes with SR, can get around the issue. I have been unable to locate any of my old versions of DOS to test with. I'm afraid I may have dumped the diskettes during one of my cleanout sessions :(

 
Hmm...this is an interesting idea...if I can find myself a version of DOS that can use these big disks, I might give it a shot!  Because everything I've read says SR has no size limit, it can work on a drive of any size.  Which would indicate something else is the issue (i.e. somewhere along the lines (in my case, definitely after the BIOS) before SR something can't read the the disk)...might look into this.  Cheers!
 
 

Scott may take exception. My take is that Scott misses the point & purpose of SR. It is not, primarily, a data recovery tool. Rather, it is a drive maintenance tool that happens to make it possible to recover data in many cases.

 
And maintenance is my exact goal...DrivePool has keep-a-copy-on-a-different-drive redundancy, and I backup the most important stuff with online, so I'm not worried about data recovery.  That being said, yes, it would be great if it had the option to save to a separate drive so it could be used better in that way.
 
Thanks for all the info guys!
 
Cheers
Symo

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I can report that partitioning a >2TB drive does NOT make it possible to SpinRite it. I tried a number of configurations:

  • Basic disk with 2 default partitions
  • GPT disk with 1 large partition
  • GPT disk with 1 2x1.5TB partitions
  • Dynamic disk with 2x1.5TB partitions
  • Dynamic/GPT disk with 2x1.5TB partitions

SpinRite reported the drive as 801GB in all of these configurations.

 

My read on this so far is that it might still be possible to use SpinRite with >2TB HDDs IF a version of DOS can be located that can handle these large drives. I'm just not sure which version(s) of DOS can handle large drives, and I probably don't have a copy if there is one.

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