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SpinRite Levels

SpinRite Options

SpinRite Options

I have heard about the SpinRite program on Security Now many different times.  I have recently been looking through the owners manual trying to figure out what the different levels do.  I’m really trying to figure out which level I should be running on new hard drives before I put them to use in my server.

Here is what the manual says about the different SpinRite Operations:

SpinRite’s various functions have been organized into seven progressively “deep” levels. Each succeeding level incorporates all functions of the prior level and adds additional operations:

  • Level 1 – Examine the surfaces – This level reads the drive’s surface reporting the “readability” of the partition’s data. It is a very quick read-only test which never alters the data on the disk drive.
  • Level 2 – Recover unreadable data – This level adds recovery to level one. If any region of the drive is unreadable, level 2 will employ the full strength of DynaStat Data Recovery to read the data. Once the data has been read, SpinRite’s deepest level of surface analysis will be called into service to determine whether the recovered data can be safely re-written to its original location or whether it should be relocated to another safer area. If a defect is detected under the troubled data, that location will be marked bad to prevent future use.
  • Level 3 – Refresh the surfaces – This level adds a complete read and re-write operation to level 2. Every sector of the drive is read and re-written to refresh and electronically realign the data underneath the drive’s read/write heads.
  • Level 4 – Defect analysis – This is SpinRite’s deep surface analysis and defect scrubbing level. It performs full data recovery and analyzes the drive’s entire surface to certify its data storage integrity.
  • Level 5 – Restore good sectors – This level performs the same data recovery and analysis functions as level 4 however it will also RETURN regions of the drive which had previously been marked bad to full use, BUT ONLY IF the sectors pass all of the deepest tests perfectly.

NOTE: SpinRite will return clusters to use only if all of the sectors within the cluster successfully pass ALL of SpinRite’s pattern tests AND ONLY IF it has full “hardware” level access to the hard disk drive. SPINRITE MUST BE RUN AT PATTERN TESTING LEVEL 5 TO RETURN “BAD” SECTORS TO USE!

It looks like it might be wise to run a drive through level 4 before putting it into production use.  Now I wonder how long it would take to run on a 2 TB hard drive.

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  1. Wd
    August 10th, 2012 at 17:44 | #1

    Almost 13 days on my machines.

    Preconditioning with Spinrite is the best way IMO, but many times these days I just run the Linux surface test more often because it’s faster.

    The tool I’m looking for would make use of that Google research. “Just tell me when the drive will become less reliable so I can replace it.” Seems easy enough to implement? Guess it is not.

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