eric oyen eric.oyen at gmail.com
Sat Dec 28 05:42:43 UTC 2013

spin rite is a nice tool for those who are computer users only. Us power users tend to get a bit more down and dirty with the hardware level codes than most.

Badblocks has a couple of nice options that will allow you to mark off bad areas and write that info into a file that can also be used by mkfs when you go to make a new filesystem. These are utilities included by default in any Linux distribution. Also, all these utilities are command line and are quite accessible without the need of a special interface driver on a desktop. These are also available as command line utilities on just about every OS X machine around. Can't say that for windows.


On Dec 27, 2013, at 6:08 PM, Janina Sajka wrote:

> Well, I still don't see that it does anything special. For instance, if
> you're worried about bad blocks, the command badblocks is perfectly
> useful for just that.
> Janina
> Tim Chase writes:
>> On December 27, 2013, Janina Sajka wrote:
>>> use standard Linux tools, e.g. e2fsck and the
>>> smartmontools like smartctl.
>>> This approach is fully accessible.
>>> So, what does spinWrite give you that you can't do per the above?
>> Spinrite operates on the drive at the hardware level rather than
>> filesystem-level (checked by e2fsck) or partition level.  I'm less
>> familiar with smartctl, but it appears to offer some overlap in
>> functionality with Spinrite.
>> In a way, the basic first level scan could possibly be replicated with
>> "dd", reading the entire drive (/dev/sda) rather than a partition
>> (/dev/sda1) and dumping the results to /dev/null which would force
>> the drive to read every byte.  This triggers the drive to look at
>> every byte, check the drive's integrity at that location, and let
>> the hardware move the data in the event that spot is getting hard to
>> read.  Based on the manpage, it sounds like smartctl might offer
>> some similar functionality.  Beyond that, I believe that Spinrite does
>> more aggressive scans that will persist in an attempt to read data,
>> even when the drive returns hardware errors, and can actively talk to
>> the drive controller to move that data elsewhere in the event it had
>> trouble, then mark the blocks as bad at the hardware level.
>> Again, I'm only taking a stab in the dark based on the tidbits I've
>> picked up on the SN podcast (which is well worth a listen, IMHO).
>> I've never used the product, but at least the guy who wrote it seems
>> to know what he's doing and make difficult technological topics
>> accessible.
>> -tim
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> -- 
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