Spinrite Like / Dislike?

February 2, 2008 at 11:05:15
Specs: XP Pro /SP2, 1gHz PIII / 512 rambus ra

Why do you like / not like Spinrite?

Have you tried SR 6.0?

Due to recent posts, I'm getting feedback on Spinrite that its not good to use.

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February 2, 2008 at 11:20:45

Personally, I've never heard of it. So, I have no clue what it does, nor an opinion one way or another.

Life's more painless for the brainless.

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February 2, 2008 at 12:28:41

Spinrite is a very good program that has been around long enough, since the days when Dos ruled, it probably has the absolute minimum of bugs in it's programming if it has any at all, but you have to be very cautiuos and understand what you're doing if you attempt to repair something wrong with the data on the drive, and you can easily get yourself in trouble if you do that if you don't have the standard situation the program's defaults expect - e.g. if you have a software dynamic overlay on the drive because your bios can't recognize the full size of a drive without one, or if you have a multiboot configuration where you are booting more than one operating system.
I don't know offhand if it can even be used on a drive with Linux or Unix on it.
Scott Mueller, who wrote a series of books "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" in the past, some of which I have, recommends you don't use Spinrite to repair data problems on a drive unless you're fully aware of what you're doing and what your sitution is, and he has some examples of how Spinrite trashed the data on drives in that book series.
However, it's excellent for checking the drive for errors, though it's most thurough checking is extremely SLOW (as in, it may take a full day or more). If Spinrite passes a drive, it's certain there is nothing wrong with the data on it.
As for all drive testing utilities, it can only be used on drives that are recognized by your computer or drive controller card's bios. In addition the drive must already be partitioned and formatted a way the program recognizes - it can't check unpartitioned unformatted free space on the drive or a blank drive.
It can mark (flag) bad sectors it finds are unreliable that weren't already marked. You can let it do that, but if there was data on the sector it will move it to a good sector, and that data may or may not be intact, but that's normal for any program that moves the data on a bad to a good sector, and usually at worst you might have to re-install the program the data was for. But like all other hard drive testing utilities that require the drive to be partitioned and formatted, such as chkdsk or Norton Disk Doctor, if you delete the partition the data with the bad sector is on, that bad sector information placed there by the program is lost when the FATs or MFT is wiped along with the partition.

If you want to try possibly fixing a few bad sectors for good, hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic utilities can do that - by "zero filling" the drive, or by "Low Level formatting" which is really not the correct term for modern hard drives but it does the same thing.

If you have lots of bad sectors, especially if they slowly or quickly grow in number, the drive is probably failing and nothing you do will save it - you are best off saving what data you can while it's still working somewhat.

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February 2, 2008 at 12:40:26

i didn't say SpinRite is 'not good to use'. i did, however, say i wouldn't even ask Mr. G. for the time.

and i'm using SpinRite myself occasionally, nothing wrong with the program.

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Related Solutions

February 2, 2008 at 14:40:10

I have not used Spinrite, I back up my data files on a regular basis. I can purchase a new hard drive cheaper than Gibson sells Spinrite for (US$89.00).

Gibson has upset a lot of people over the years, he is not well liked here in Australia...

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February 2, 2008 at 15:05:58

I've never found any use for Spinrite, that couldn't be done with freely available utilities.

Please let us know if you found someone's advice to be helpful.

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February 4, 2008 at 08:38:26

Hi. Feedback I was referring to was how Spinrite's benchmarking ability (Sector Access Velocity) was not proven and not a reason to use it. I'm learning Spinrite is not for benchmarking HDDs; however, I can run SR (6.0) at Level 1 (fast) and see if anything on the drive is wrong.

Free Chk Dsk /R does repair HDD with bad sectors by marking a bad sector then exchanging it for a good sector replacement. This is done by Chk Dsk w/o any regard for data - whcih is lost in this transaction. Spinrite makes the attempt to retrieve data and replace it on a newly swapped in sector.

That said, all I can say is my HDDS all run great from SR (6.0). I have two basic and two dynamic HDDs. One dynamic was making loud noise and acting strange. Now it's running silent and fast. Tests 95% with Speedfan.

BTW: replaced cables. Makes another difference!!

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February 4, 2008 at 09:11:14

"This is done by Chk Dsk w/o any regard for data - whcih is lost in this transaction. Spinrite makes the attempt to retrieve data and replace it on a newly swapped in sector."

Chkdsk /r and /f does the same thing Spinrite does. The difference is Spinrite will go to greater lengths to try to retrieve the data intact from a bad sector before transfering it to a good sector. In either case, the retrieval is usually successful, but sometimes it isn't and there's nothing that can be done about that.
Lost clusters are another matter - they're almost always useless if converted to files and you might as well just recover the lost space occupied by them, since you often end up deleting the useless files eventually anyway.

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February 6, 2008 at 22:05:29

Tubes and Wires

Hi. Learning alot here in this forum. Thanks.

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March 24, 2008 at 17:18:25

Spinrite didn't recover the info I needed. Gibson has been promising to write a user manual for 6.0 for about 3 years and has been promising to put out a needed 6.1 update for 2 years. His response is generally to use the docs from version 5 and 6.1 is needed but not high on his priority list. People report that it is a great program but with an attitude like his I don't trust it. It is also rather expensive ($89) for a dos based program that is several years old..

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March 24, 2008 at 18:02:57

If Spinrite couldn't recover the data then it's likely nothing short of spending a lot of money to have a recovery expert retrieve it will work either - the drive is on it's way out.

I think I paid about $40 US about three years ago for it. However, you can use it as many times as you like. If it helps once it's worth it.

Partition Magic uses Dos batch Files.
So does even recent Acronis software, e.g. they made the most recent version of MaxBlast available on the Seagate site.

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March 27, 2008 at 14:55:36

To all the ppl who say that Gibson is not liked and SR6 is no good, that's "baloney".
I use chkdsk /R on a regular basis as a first option for file system corruption issues (which is frequent for XP :() 99% it fails. I use SP6 on level 2 and 98% it works.
I have had NO issues with SR6 (ie: I use it and have NOT PERSONALLY lost data, the drive's SMART status usually tells me b4 anything happens and have found SR6 to RECOVER data from drives that have bad sectors). Most of the drives I use this on are in a VERY BAD STATE and have multiple warning signs b4 ppl call for someone to look at it. :(
In fact, I just used chkdsk /R and nothing. Used SR6 on L2 and it brought it back to life. I paid about AUD$100 (back when the US$ was a little high) and have used it many times. So, SR6 is THE BEST file system recovery tool I could EVER have.

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