you looking to keep your hard drive in the best shape possible?
If your data is important to you, the condition of your
hard drive should be as well. The best product I have seen
for maintaining hard drives and recovering data from failing
drives is SpinRite by Gibson Research Corporation.
can be used in three ways: as part of your ongoing hard
drive maintenance program; to test drives that are having
problems; and as a data recovery program that will recover
data that has become unreadable by the operating system
or other utilities.
technical details of SpinRite's operation is far too
complex for many of us to understand (I read the manual
and was somewhat lost). So what I want to cover here
is a basic overview of how to use the program. I believe
that the best way to use SpinRite is as part of an ongoing
maintenance program for your hard drive(s). SpinRite
can be purchased and downloaded directly from the Gibson
Research web site at http://spinrite.com. In fact, it
can only be purchased directly from Gibson Research.
Just go to the web site and if you already are convinced
that you want to purchase this great program, click on
the "Purchasing Info" link. From there you
simply call the 1-800 number to purchase the program
over the phone. When you purchase SpinRite, you will
be given a nine-digit order number that is used when
you download the software.
you have SpinRite on your computer, you need to do a
little prep work before you can actually run the program.
Since SpinRite works all by itself, you will need to
create a clean Boot disk. This is easily done by inserting
a blank diskette into your A: drive, clicking on "Start", "Run" and
then typing the following command:
will format the disk and ask you to give it a name. I
named mine SpinRite, but that is optional. Now copy the
downloaded file "SpinRite.exe" to the same
floppy disk, and you are ready to roll!
your computer off, insert your clean boot floppy into
your A: drive, and turn the computer back on. When you
have booted to the A:\> prompt, type spinrite and
press (enter). From here, the program will walk you through
its operation. All I had to do was read each screen and
follow the directions. There are many options that are
useful to the advanced user, but running the basic program
was pretty straightforward.
word of warning, on today's huge hard drives, it will
take hours for SpinRite to analyze your drive(s), so
be sure to do this at a time when you won't be needing
your computer for a few hours. I often ran it overnight.
The screen displays both the elapsed time and time remaining
for the drive you are testing. Convenient if you are
wondering if you can fit in a nap during testing.
it is running, SpinRite will read and re-write the entire
surface of the drive, reporting everything it finds.
By doing this, it is able to provide early warning of
increasing numbers of regions that are becoming troublesome
for the drive. With this warning, you can back up your
data and remove the drive from service before a complete
catastrophe results in loss of any data. If SpinRite
is not used until after a crash, it skillfully picks
up all the pieces, recovers your data, and puts everything
back together again.
I repair computers and see a fair number of failing hard
drives, I held on to the program long enough to test
a few drives that came in. On several of those drives,
SpinRite assured me that the problem was not with the
drive itself. One drive could not be seen by the computer
at all due to hardware failure. And on one drive (that
another program had diagnosed as hopeless), SpinRite
not only recovered the data, but when I ran it a second
time using operating level 5, it fixed the bad sectors
and returned them to use.
was impressed with SpinRite. In spite of the fact that
is technical in nature, it would be well worth your time
to learn how to use it. Running this program on a regular
schedule (once every month or two) will keep your hard
drive running smoothly, and warn you in advance when
it is time to purchase a new drive.