Talk:SpinRite

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Advertisement?[edit]

To me, the article doesn't seem to be written like an advertisement. The ones of Windows and Something Awful are far worse and uncritical. Maybe an older version was badly written, but not the one I read now. 46.253.186.62 (talk) 12:53, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree. I will consider removing the tag. - Bevo (talk) 19:37, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Disputed?[edit]

I've always thought (and been told by people who know better than I) that SpinRite was scamware - see the link to criticism at the bottom for more. This article, for the most part, reads like a press release without mentioning the criticisms except in passing. I'm adding the disputed tag although maybe npov would be more appropriate. Discuss! Brianski (talk) 06:20, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Calling a helpful and well known work of software that is sold directly at a fair price a "scam" isn't much of a "neutral point of view" either. All tools may not work for every job. Spinrite is a professional recovery tool.

While it may be true that some people criticize SpinRite and refer to it as scamware, you'd need to identify exactly why it's scamware, and then either test spinrite to see if it was true, or find someone who already has and reference that material.

Otherwise you're putting up the disputed tag because "some guy doesn't like it". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.12.87.209 (talk) 18:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

"I've always thought (and been told by people who know better than I) that SpinRite was scamware - see the link to criticism at the bottom for more" - I have read the link twice. The link is a response to a posting on a newsgroup by Steve Gibson. Steve Gibson was the founder of Spinrite. Most of the link is the response of John Navas who wanted to give the facts (his own words) on the newsgroup. Read his claims of facts very carefully because he does talk about personal disagreements between them and gives his own personal opinions about the durability and manufacturing of hard drives. I don't see any test data on the Spinrite product or on hard drives. Since Brianski is stating his thoughts on Spinrite, and the oral communications of people who know better than him, and the newsgroup posting does not show any facts I submit that all of the arguments for the disputed tag are personal opninion. I don't even agree with including the reference link in the article. The disputed tag is not a correct tag. Perhaps there is a better tag (neutrality, or one involving comercialism)? I would be happy to continue this discussion as it relates to improving the article or whether the dispute tag should be included. If there is no further discussion I may choose to remove the disputed tag. I state here that I am not involved in the sale, manufacturing, advertising or in any other form with Gibson Research. I do not own this software. I did use this software on a PC about 15 years ago. The hard drive was not crashed, and I used it more as a preventive method. I probably used the product on roughly a weekly basis for 2-3 years. It did marks some hard drive clusters as "bad" and moved data to unused clusters. I kept no product testing records because I was only a consumer of the product, not testing it. I have no idea how it works (then or now). I state these things because I do not have anything personal gain if the tag is removed nor do I have any persoanl gain if the tag remains. I would like to see the justification for the tag as a Wikipedia editor. Mfields1 (talk) 08:34, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Someone has changed the text in a very POV (pro-Spinrite way) to say that "It should be noted that scepticism of certain claims made by SpinRite's makers is based on opinions formed in 1988 without actually testing the program." Following the reference we find that the scepticism is from someone with much experience in the disc drive industry, who makes specific, detailed statements which can be examined and judged by anyone. Also emphasis was placed upon the comments being made on marketing claims dated 1988, without mentioning that the criticism was written in 2000 or that many of the marketing claims are still being made (specifically, the possibility of refreshing and the desirability of recovery are still claimed in Spinrite's documentation, but mention of criticism of these points was deleted from the article). I have reverted these changes. I'd mention (so that others can see where I'm coming from) that I don't have a firm view in favour of or against Spinrite; while I have used it, I haven't made the hundreds of runs needed to form a judgement. It does repair errors and recover data, but whether other programs would be as good or better, and whether additional benefits are real, I don't have the statistics to judge. Pol098 (talk) 15:11, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I have noticed that in recent Security Now! episodes, he does use the jargon John Navas in the criticism wanted him to use, but frankly John's suggestion that disks use "flux reversals" sounds even more like pseudoscience than Gibson's original language. Who is really telling the truth, I don't know. I do know Gibson is recommending *against* using SpinRite on solid state drives, because it does a lot of writing and that can significantly reduce the lifespan of the drive. It would be highly unusual for a real scammer to tell people *not* to use the product. It's my personal opinion that he was merely unaware of the language used in the industry and was trying to explain something he didn't quite understand completely himself. I think today he has a far better understanding of drive technology than in his early years.  —CobraA1 16:05, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm no expert, but doesn't "flux reversals" refer to the way the 1's and 0's are stored? One as 'up'-pointing magnetic fields, and the other as 'down'-pointing? By inverting the bit (which SpinRite claims to do), one would indeed be reversing the flux. So that's actually the scientific term! --DanielPharos (talk) 18:25, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Flux reversal is a real scientific term applied to hard drive data encoding, but it is not as simple as 1=up, 0=down. Modern drives tend to use RLL encoding: flux reversals / non-flux-reversals are part of the encoding process; however, 1s and 0s of user data do not match individual 'ups' and 'downs' on the disk. Mrstonky (talk) 21:57, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

But it may look like he's bowing out of the whole SpinRite thing - he's working on a VPN product right now, and with solid state drives looking promising, it may be a matter of time before SpinRite becomes useless, whether it was truly a scam or not.  —CobraA1 16:05, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

To claim Spinrite as scam or fraud, is complete and absolute nonsense. Such staytement is as far from the truth as it can get. it is true that spinrite has it's design limitations but still it does excellent job in the area spinrite is designed to work on.

Spinrite IS NOT: Logical error repair utility file system recovery utility undelete utility unformat utility

Spinrite IS: Hardware level maintenance utility, designed to deal with surface issues.

Spinrite is useless if: drive write/read heads are damaged, actuator positioning machanism fails, drive motor fails, drive electronics fail, drives power supply is bad because of falty drive circuit or faulty pc power supply unit, faulty power cable, faulty interface cable, faulty master/slave/cable select jumper setting (pata drives), incorrect position on PATA interface cable (pata drives) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.83.110.243 (talk) 15:21, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

While I would never, ever, categorize spinrite as "scamware", I would however, question it's benefit to most. Sure, GRC's claims are somewhat exagerated, to some degree because it's a rather complicated piece of software dealing with what is likely the most complex part of anyones equipment, and they try to explain what it does to the average joe. Looking at GRCs other products, most of which is freeware, and their pioneering work in fighting malware, which they released for free, I do have a really hard time buying any argument that GRC would knowingly put out scamware. I have used spinrite from time to time, but even though it occassionally does revive bad harddrives (especially those that goes "bad" from faulty controllers or power supplies), for most people it makes way more sense to buy a new hdd instead of hanging on to the old one. För people on limited budget, it's a last ditch attempt to restore their data so they can get it out. Still, the article seems way unbalanced to me, it's like a mash of support related issues, hdd data recovery in general, personal opinions of people the software did not help and blatant attempts at marketing competing products. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.24.236.56 (talk) 22:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Run Spinrite 2000+ Times May I suggest that anyone commenting on the effectiveness of Spinrite include an indication of how many times they have actually used it?

I get the impression that many people post negative comments with little or no exposure to it. They have either tried it unsuccessfully on one drive or simply do not like the idea of it. The scientists have a saying: data trumps theory.

I have data. I run an IT help company focused on the home market. On numerous occasions PCs which refuse to boot have come into the workshop, had Spinrite run on them and then not only booted, but gone on to give years of good service. It has also fixed numerous drives that refuse to backup and enabled us to recover vast amounts of customer files without the expense of a clean room recovery. I know of no other tool that can do these things and we have been looking and testing.

Certainly there are drives that are beyond is restorative powers, but logically that will always be the case for any treatment. For years now we have run Spinrite on every spinning drive that comes into the workshop.

I know the notion of a software product fixing physical problems is an odd one, but data thumps theory. This is an essential part of any PC engineers toolkit.

I am delighted with what is does for us and would be happy to recommend it to anyone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.28.162.73 (talk) 11:34, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Versions 5 vs. 6[edit]

Version 6 seems rather different from Version 5. Version 6 seems faster, more practical for modern larger hard drives. Version 5 was perhaps more thorough. Version 6 is supposed to work with "all" partition types, whereas Version 5 required working, common partition formatting, such as FAT. Version 6 seems to be more oriented to the raw hard drive, as opposed to the formatted partitions. Version 6 documentation may still not be completed.

It usually takes hours to scan a hard drive with SpinRite. In some cases it can take days.

A hard disk with bad blocks can be hard to scan with SpinRite 5, because of difficulty formatting to prepare for SpinRite. A ghost image of an empty formatted partition can be used to "fake format" the partition, so that SpinRite can scan it.

SpinRite 5 always insists on scanning each partition from the beginning, and can get very bogged down on bad areas. Is there any good quick tool for getting a picture of where all the bad areas are?

Both versions may interact in mysterious ways with the undocumented proprietary hidden hard drive features that manage bad block mapping. SpinRite may sometimes be able to recover blocks that had been mapped out? Some say this is a dangerous feature.

If you wish to re-use hard drives with significant bad areas, the best thing is to re-partition and stay completely away from those areas. However, this must be done manually with awkward (non-Microsoft) partitioning utility tools. There seem to be no tools that make it easy to scan for bad areas and then re-partition to avoid them. 69.87.193.26 13:34, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

GNU ddrescue may be a better way of not getting bogged down in bad sectors, as you can limit or turn off retries. You can simply use it to copy to /dev/null to get a picture of bad areas, which are recorded concisely in its log file.

SpinRite only recovers bad blocks to 'good', which I agree is very dangerous, at level 5. Using it at level 2, it will only rewrite data recovered from sectors that are bad but just-readable with DynaStat, and of course the hard drive will automatically re-map those to its good spare sectors. While this is a bit dangerous, I think it's a valid option for people who don't have a spare hard disk available and need to try to recover as much data as possible.

The ideal, if you have a spare hard disk of the right size is to first run GNU ddrescue, which will extract as much data as possible from the disk without any disk writes, and then run SpinRite at level 2 to attempt to recover more data with some rewrites. Then you can run GNU ddrescue again, and copy the additional recovered data - it automatically merges recovered data into the copy of the disk.

Richard Donkin 09:06, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

on level 1 and 2, spinrite does not perform write test and diagnostics. for level 5 it will recover good sectors marked by mistake for bad, IF they proove to be reliable to spinrite's tests. It is highly unlikely for spinrite to be fooled to restore bad secto as good, because if it can diagnose and discover bad sector, and mark it as bad, than it should not be fooled to return bad sector to service. spirite's write tests are non destructive, any data is safely stored to a safe place while the test is being carried, and then if decides the sector is good, data will be writtn back. vesion 6.0 is not less thorough than ver 5. Spinrite 6.0 is faster, because spinrite 6.0 32 bit architecture allows faster data access, transfer and processing, compared to spinrite 5's 16 bit architecture. 78.83.110.243 (talk) 20:25, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

The way it works[edit]

The page states:

When it encounters a block which is hard to read, it repeatedly attempts to re-read it, and tries to determine the value of each byte. The data is then saved onto the same disk (after re-allocating the physical block) which is a potentially risky operation if the disk write head is not operating properly.

I used the program several times, and studied enough the documentation, it is not the way the program works, the data are not simply re-allocated, instead, a block is read, then it is written with an opposite sequence of data (if it was 00110101, it becomes 11001010), then it is rewritten again with the original sequence; it is done even several times (hopefully I am not violating any WP or copyright policy in disclosing such information).Dr. Who 00:41, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

You sound confused, Who. You seem to be describing how the program treats "ordinary" sectors. The quote you used is describing what happens when a sector is bad. Two very different things. With ordinary sectors, it is just trying to make sure the sector is reliable. Once it decides a sector has problems, it needs to make every effort to get the data, then make an effort to put the data safely somewhere else.-71.174.175.104 (talk) 23:26, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

you are not violating anithing, Steve Gobson has this described in publically available documentation, in much greater details, than you mentioned. it is also good to mention these tests are non-destructive and they not only locate bad sectors, they also are good for general maintenance of the drive surfaces, to be kept in shape and making the drive to inspectg all of it's sectors. Bad sectors are treated with great care and respect. if one is found, dynastat kicks in, in an instant, with cool out of the box thinking actions. instead of rejecting non-perfect read, spinrite disables few features of the drive such as re-read attempts and bad sector allocation, so nothing is on it's way and creates a table of bad reads. basically it does not reject bad read, it is accepting it. The reason to do so is with many attempts, it may pick up all pirces, and trying to assemble them the same way you would assemble a puzzle. It also moves read write heads intensively back and forth, so they target the bad sector from different angles, thus maximizing chance for one perfect read, which is all spinrite needs. spinrite makes a total of up to 2000 attempts to read the sector, accepting all non-perfect reads and storing them for later processing. When a perfect read happens it just saves the data on a safe sector and the whole business with the bad sector is over with. If not, spinrite uses all data from all 2000 non-perfect reads, trying to recover and reassemble the file, using these bad read pieces. this way even if the entire file is not fully restored, it will not reject the whole file, it will give you partially recovered file which is better than losing the entire file, by assembling as much as possible with the data gathered from these 2000 re-read and accept bad read routines. 78.83.110.243 (talk) 20:48, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

like everything out of grc; it's odd[edit]

For a program that's worked wonders for many, for over a decade, it still surprises me that gibson has to resort to such bs pseudoscience to get it to sell. I'd of thought reputation alone would be enough... but he doesn't think so. Funny. -- BesigedB (talk) 22:55, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, "odd" is a good term... The program seems semi-abandon-ware, just on auto-pilot. Much of the website material is way out of date, obviously untouched for years. The program itself has not been updated for over five years -- a serious issue considering how fast the technology of hard drives and interfaces has been changing. Steve has always taken the position that his program is for "ordinary" users, and avoided providing real documentation for tech-oriented customers. For a unique, odd-tech program/product like this, a recipe for confusion among all concerned. -71.174.175.104 (talk) 23:37, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
"considering how fast the technology of hard drives and interfaces has been changing" The thing is, Steve claims (in his podcasts) that even though the disk densities are increasing drastically, the same underlying technology is used. That's why the program doesn't need an update: all drivers work the same as many years back, but they're just larger and faster. (With the exception of solid-state drivers of course.) --DanielPharos (talk) 18:19, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
While not appropriate for the article to mention without seeming to be a marketing tactic, many programs on the market issue upgrades each year or so (needed or not) as a way of getting more money from the consumer. The spinrite product seems to not do this, so customers used to the "milk the customer every year with an 'upgrade'" may feel uncomfortable with products that do not follow this capitalist approach towards making a profit. I admit it does feel "comforting" to get an upgrade, even if the changes were minor because peace of mind may be worth more to many customers than the loss of money to pay for the upgrade. It would also allow for addressing of bugs such as fatal program aborts that Spinrite was not able to recover from when processing some of the newest two terabyte "green" drives from Hitachi.AnimeJanai (talk) 13:07, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

The lack of new versions wouldn't lead me to call it abandon-ware. On the other hand, the complete lack of technical support might. Feb 24, 2012

Odd is not the right therm i would use to describe Spinrite. Many comercial and vastly (in)capable software programs actually promise you wonders, and miracles and black voodoo magic for your hard drive UNTIL you buy them. One you do, you receive a polite message that says, err sorry, you have bitten the shrot end, because your drive is so messed up i canot help at all. Spinrite fixes the problem, there where all else says i can't help. This is very serious problem for spinrite competitors becausethis makes spinrite superior to them, not that there are many really capable, because spinrite aim at the cause of the problem to fix it. Let's not forget the pathetic attempt from these low-life-scum thieves from symantec to steal from GRC.COM after Steve told them, no, go away, and Symantec decided who is he to say no to symantec so they have stolen the spinrite, to incorporate in norton disk doctor. is was not long before symantec realize they have bittn more than they can chew on, because they had no idea how this works, and how to maintain and support it. It was more than obvious that Steve was not willing and did not help symantec, just ignored them into their filed attempts. As for semi-abandonware, actually each generation of spinrite corresponds to each generation of hard drives and controllers. Since spinrite 6.0 is working well for these drives - well do not fix this which works fine. There is new version, 6.1 under development, which must catch up to all 6 years as time and hard drive and controller technology. As for pseudo-science, it is so called applicable science. science of real world stuff, is what really happens in practicle use in real world, not theoretical sciense, that has no connection with reality. Steve just uses laws of magnetism, magnetodynamics. 78.83.110.243 (talk) 21:07, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

While the underlying principles of magnetic storage may not have changed, the interfaces to the disk mechanism certainly have. Think USB. SpinRite doesn't handle all the latest interface standards or capacities. Therefore it is outmoded and outdated.

One also has to ask the question does SpinRite work with the disk's firmware or against it? Has Spinrite been updated to be aware of all firmware's behaviors? I think not.

And the final question is to know when and when not to use utilities of this type. People are far to quick to use these. There are only a few highly specific scenarios where SpinRite could be beneficial. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keatah (talkcontribs) 04:16, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Thoughts[edit]

Im running SpinRite right now on a Samsung disk with atleast 9 bad blocks. The DynaStat Data Recovery has some nice graphics, but I am very skeptical to basically all the claims made by it (the graphics and its website). I heard from one of my friends that it was "awesome" basically, and could really repair disks. I can tell you it did not work on my disk though.

Anyway, I am interested in how it gets the data from the disk: does ATA return data even if the checksums don't match up or does his program actually do anything special? I also wonder why the regular re-allocation algorithms dont work as good as SpinRite, if thats true. Ive tried running a bunch of the recovery tools from Ultimate Boot CD, but none were able to "repair" or reallocate the sectors. It seems SpinRite isnt either, though, so.. 62.84.192.238

I believe that ATA/IDE disks return data even if it fails ECC checks, at least when driven in the way SpinRite does. Richard Donkin 09:01, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

SpinRprite has worked for me. I had problems with a laptop 2.5 inch hdd. There were clicking noises coming from the disk. At first the drive would suddenly slow way down during read/write operations, and later on Windows would hang at boot. I ran spinrite, which claimed that the drive was dying, and it found 3 bad sectors, 2 of which it could not recover. After this windows went past the booting process, but claimed that some system files were missing. copied all the Data and got a new HDD. SpinRite, even though it has some false advertising, works in some cases...--169.232.119.69 (talk) 23:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems "READ LONG" command can get the data without checking the ECC bytes. For scsi read SCSI_Read_Commands#Read_Long and for ATA (old) read [1]. It says "When a Read Long command executes, data and ECC bytes contained in the data field of the requested sector are returned in the sector buffer. The drive does not check the ECC bytes to determine if a data error has occured."Fernando Gutierrez (talk) 08:31, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Linux tools[edit]

The discussion of Linux alternatives is very, very useful, though it should really be spun off into another page with a pointer from here. I recently had the misfortune of needing to use all these tools, including SpinRite and the Linux dd_rhelp and GNU ddrescue tools, and made an update to SpinRite accordingly, based on some information I found elsewhere. I think that the page should talk about the benefits of GNU ddrescue, which is much faster than dd_rhelp - if this had been mentioned I wouldn't have wasted time getting dd_rhelp and dd_rescue working. Richard Donkin 09:01, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

IDE Feature Disable during Dynastat Recovery[edit]

One of the features of Spinrite 6, which seems to have been missed, is that IDE sector sparing (and other features) are disabled during data recovery process. This prevents the drive from automatically replacing the bad sector with a good one from the spare sectors shipped on all drives when data read errors occur.

In the Dynastat process, which tries repeatedly to re-read the bad sector by approaching the sector from different positions and applying statistical analysis on the read data, sector sparing is disabled preventing the drive from giving up to early.

I don't believe that other similar tools do this, and this seems to be one of the reasons that Spinrite is successful at recovering data on drives reporting errors.

Spinrite is not always successful but when it works it works well.

The problem is spinrite doesn't say how it does this. I think that only certain drives provide an interface for this. But spinrite just claims it can do this whenever it likes to whatever drives. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 155.144.251.120 (talk) 22:33, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

A Spinrite problem[edit]

I won't put this in the main article as it's "Original Research". I ran Spinrite 6 on a problem 2.5" SATA Windows Vista drive from a Dell computer; it had various Dell partitions on it, and an NTFS partition with the operating system and user files. The disc was connected via a SATA-to-USB connector. Spinrite did not detect the disc as present at all. Another, good, disc was found correctly by Spinrite and all partitions identified with the same SATA-to-USB adaptor, so this is not a problem with the interface. I would normally interpret this as meaning the disc is totally dead.

However, CHKDSK showed the relevant partition as being present but with a corrupt Master File Table, which it could not correct. TestDisk told me that the backup Partition Table was corrupt, so I updated it from the original; it then told me that the both the main and the backup MFT were corrupt, and it could do no more. I then ran Zero Assumption Recovery and was able to recover a great many files. As usual in these cases the majority of the files were intact, but a large minority were corrupt. CHKDSK and TestDisk also correctly identified the other partitions, although they were of no interest to me.

I was also able to view the contents of an intact partition with ordinary Windows methods (like Explorer); the bad partition showed (as healthy) in the Disk Management Administrative Tool, but gave an error on trying to access it in Explorer.

The point is not that Spinrite failed to identify or cope with the corrupt system information; that's not what Spinrite is for. My intention in running Spinrite first was to attempt to read and repair the sectors containing the damaged system tables, and any other damaged sectors. But it completely failed to recognise a disc which several other programs recognised. When Spinrite totally failed to recognise a disc, in the past I took it to be beyond recovery; that is clearly not always the case. Whether the drive had hardware trouble or was simply corrupt I don't know, as I didn't try to reformat it. Pol098 (talk) 14:17, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Your experience is an interesting data point. But it would be much more useful if you had also tried connecting the problem drive directly to a computer. The fact that the SATA-to-USB adaptor seemed to work OK with a good drive does not prove that it was not an issue with the problem drive. A tool like Spinrite needs the most direct low-level access to the drive possible, for the best chance of good results. -71.174.175.104 (talk) 22:57, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
(Inserted out of sequence, in Jan 2011:) As the original poster of this issue, and of the following paragraph, I'd just comment that I used exactly the same hardware setup for the unsuccessful Spinrite run and for the successful recovery with other tools. Pol098 (talk) 18:01, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately for our purposes here I was trying to solve a problem rather than test Spinrite. I don't remember the details; maybe I didn't have a bootable CD drive to run Spinrite from on the original computer? I have used Spinrite successfully on a corrupted USB-connected drive. The practical conclusion I reached is that, at least in some circumstances, a drive that Spinrite does not even recognise is not necessarily a dead loss - further testing is needed. (added later:) My intention in posting this was not a general discussion of Spinrite, but that a particular assumption I had in practice made, and perhaps many people would make: "if Spinrite can't see the drive it's unrecoverable" was wrong and a sensible working assumtion is (in MS Windows) is "if Spinrite can't see the drive try Windows Explorer, MHDD, and other tools". This would be worth mentioning in the article, but unless somebody has published it somewhere it's clearly OR. Pol098 (talk) 19:12, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

There's a relatively recent (late 2013) discussion that seems useful at http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/will-spinrite-become-relevant-again.348121/page-3 . It's between people who've actually used Spinrite in the real world, many finding it useful. I don't think there's anything there that's WP-reliable enough for the article, but it might prompt searching for more suitable references for this information. My opinion of Spinrite (which has let me down - see above) is somewhat more optimistic after reading this. Pol098 (talk) 19:00, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

Redisputed[edit]

I'd like to open the NPOV discussion back up at this time. I see a lot of "the maker says" type comments and lots of "quoted words" in the main description, and it makes the page look like it's cringing while explaining this. I say that this is very negatively POV based. I know, from reading the other NPOV discussion, that last time it seemed to praise the software too much, but now I say that it critisizes the software too much.

What we need is some major overhauling of this page so that it is a encyclopedic entry with a section on what the claims of the software are, and another section on the criticisms. And to balance the thing, there needs to be more honest criticism of it than a single paragraph (honest meaning not putting weasel words in the description). ------Tustin2121 talk 04:08, 24 September 2009 (UTC)


1. I hope I'm doing this right. 2. Spinrite DID refresh drives, back in the day, by low-level formatting the bad sectors on an MFM or RLL drive. The ability to do this other types of drive never existed, and that is pointed out on GRC's FAQ page for Spinrite.

3. While I myself am pro-Spinrite, having used it, Steve Gibson's prose style (self-described as "populist") sometimes makes his claims seem "out there" but personally, I have never thought he was scamming anyone. I would think too, that if Spinrite was scamware, at some point in the last 20 or more years it's been around (I used for the first time on a 286) that any scam would have been revealed long ago.

4. The major part of the article seems ok, but the last part where alternatives are described seems to be saying that the claims made by GRC/Spinrite are all "shady" or somehow not to be trusted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.55.233.15 (talk) 13:21, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

2. Refreshing sectors was indeed an issue on MFM drives, when RLL was introduced this became a lot less of an issue. (as for why, read wikipedias excellent articles of MFM/RLL) For most users, replacing their equipment at regular intervals, refreshing is a non-issue. Magnetic fields go weak in time, even in harddrives. How old a harddrive has to be before this becomes an issue I don't know, but 10 years should not be a problem imho. Making the refreshing abilities of spinrite pointless for most, if not all, users. (With the exception of those working to preserve old computers and systems)

3. Considering GRCs other work, much of which they have released for free, including pioneering work against malware, I am quite surprised that anyone would call spinrite scamware, or imply GRC being involved in something like that. Considering their competence, I'd say they could find much more lucrative scams. It certainly is not a scam, even though, like I previously stated, most users simply have no use for it. As for their marketing, I do believe it is also a side-effect from them trying to explain a complicated piece of software dealing with what is likely the most complex piece of hardware in the computer, in a simple way.

4. The alternatives does not belong in the article. And the article needs rewriting. This is not the supportsite for spinrite, or the right article to discuss harddrives, how to repair them or data recovery. Also, the description of spinrite is flawed, at best. The single most important fact, that it does not repair filesystems, is absent. For anyone without technical skills, they will not understand the program, and will not get the desired result, which is likely also why some think it is scamware. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.24.236.56 (talk) 22:36, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Dispute and a Suggestion[edit]

I've also read various forum posts that make statements regarding the usefulness & legitimacy of this software. But then, it was featured on TechTalk. I'm sure it's a matter of "shades of grey"; that perhaps it's usefulness has been overstated by those that aren't really qualified to have an opinion, and the "scam" charges are a result of that. Also, I think I remember there being some kind of "falling out" between the original two developers, so with a bit of interpersonal atagonism thrown in the mix, things can spiral viral and out of control. (Cute, eh ? Lol..)

So I think what would be really nice if is the author of the software could give some kind of technical substance to what SpinRite does. Like he did in the TechTalk interview (available for download at the SpinRite web-site, and a link might be included in the wiki). Also on that, sending two video files compressed into a single .rar file is TRUE geek, and cumbersome. It would be better for the flow of information if the two files were straightforward .avi or .mp? files. At $90.00 a copy, the increase in bandwidth isn't going to hurt anyone.

A section in the wiki, supported with a few graphics showing what's happening and how (I imagine a platter with sectors and bits and an armiture doing things) from someone with intimate technical understanding of what's going on would go a long way toward dispelling any stink of "scam", because I believe it's absence is what's providing fertile ground for it to grow. Meaning that in part, it's the author himself (who is as capable of contributing to the wiki of his own product as anyone AND has a financial interest in doing so) that shares some of the responsibility for the "clouded" nature of how this software is percieved.

I haven't tried it yet. My second point (the suggestion) is that it would be useful I think to mention another similar software named "HDD Regenerator" by Dmitriy Primochenko (link here: http://www.dposoft.net/#b_hddhid), which I HAVE used, to sometimes very astounding success. It really DOES rejuvenate "dead" hard drives, and I rely on it to do my little computer repair business. It's just taking too long for one particular drive, which has prompted me looking into an alternative, such as SpinRite.

So, it would be useful to mention HDD Regenerator and compare and contrast the two software's so that whatever similarities and/or differences are detailed. Maybe they are equivalent, or have different capabilities. Maybe if one fails, the other may be able to fix a HD. It would be nice to be able to read about both, crossed-linked in two wiki articles. The more information thrown in, the more legitimate and/or limited both softwares will seem.

Jonny Quick (talk) 08:58, 25 December 2009 (UTC)Jonny Quick

Spinrite Documentation[edit]

Have anyone bothered to really read the Spinrite documentation, and i do not mean thechnical reviews, or other stuff, i really mean official documentation, made by Steve Gibson, and made available trough his website free and available for everyone who want to read it.

Full SATA Issue documentation: http://www.grc.com/sr/kb/sata.htm, Bad BIOS Distribuiton Documentation: http://www.grc.com/sr/kb/badbios.htm, Spinrite FAQ: http://www.grc.com/sroverview.htm, and http://www.grc.com/sr/faq.htm, Spinrite Main User Documentation: http://www.grc.com/files/sr5_manual.pdf, Spinrite User manual addendum: http://www.grc.com/files/addendum.pdf, Spinrite inder the hood, technical manual for greater details: http://www.grc.com/files/technote.pdf, Spinrite's defect detection page: http://www.grc.com/sranalysis.htm, Spinrite's data recovery technology page: http://www.grc.com/srrecovery.htm, Spinrite's feature explanation page: http://www.grc.com/srfeatures.htm

enjoy reading :-) 78.83.110.243 (talk) 17:39, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Alternatives[edit]

Under alternatives you guys should mention HDD Regenerator. Basically it repairs sectors just like spinrite except it can work under windows xp and windows 7 so you can do other stuff on your computer while it runs. When I tried to run spinrite to fix my 1TB disk, every time It got to a certain point in the disk, spinrite would always crash with a Division Overflow error. I tried HDD regenerator and it worked perfectly the first time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.194.190.179 (talk) 18:55, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Firstly, IMO the entire Alternatives section should be moved to another article, since it doesn't belong here. Secondly, I assume you contacted the author of Spinrite with a bug report? Thirdly, that's a terrible reason to want to include that here. Lastly, be bold! (Also, if it runs 'during' Windows, it doesn't have direct access to the harddisk, therefore cannot be as powerful as Spinrite is.) --DanielPharos (talk) 02:48, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Secondly, Yes I did send an email and got nowhere, but HDD Regenerator solved the problem so why keep bothering with antiquated software? Thirdly, actually it does have direct access to the hard drive. Spinrite runs in a freedos OS. HDD Regenerator can run in a Windows OS. However, it also gives you the option to burn a live cd. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.194.190.179 (talk) 07:07, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I would've thought Steve Gibson would respond to bug reports... Anyhow: "antiquated software": latest release, 2004. Since then, there have been a total of 0 changes to magnetic HD storage technology that matter, so I'd say Spinrite is actually totally up-to-date. But more to the point, I can't find anything that says how HDD Regenerator actually works... It *claims* it works (and there's some anecdotal evidence here and there), but it's a big secret what it actually does. How can we be sure this is actually an alternative to Spinrite (of which the internal workings have been explained by the author himself), or even comparible in scope?
Anyway, as I said: be bold; don't let my comments about HDD Regenerator's claimed effectiveness prevent you from adding it to the Alternatives section! --DanielPharos (talk) 14:46, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
"so I'd say Spinrite is actually totally up-to-date." The documentation on the SATA drives says "Since this is a rapidly growing problem for SpinRite, due to the market's rapid success and uptake of of SATA drives, we are considering the development and release of v6.1, which will cure this problem, sooner rather than later." This refers to the ability to do S.M.A.R.T. monitoring on SATA drives during recovery, which 6.0 cannot do. This was 5 years ago, and v6.1 has never been released. BruceBarnett (talk) 17:57, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
The absence of S.M.A.R.T. monitoring doesn't affect recovery, so it doesn't actually impact the functioning of the software. But you're right: I stand corrected. --DanielPharos (talk) 22:08, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Does it work?[edit]

The trouble with this sort of software is that it's impossible to test without both great expertise and a huge sample to generate usable statistics; access to source code or other very detailed information would also help. However expert you are, you can only run it and see what happens. If the result is usually recovered data you become a supporter, even if another approach would actually have been as good or better. You can't do comparative tests on a drive because you can't put it back the way it was between one approach and another. I've often used Spinrite, often with good results, but some of the claims made seem dubious. I don't understand about refreshing surfaces; I understand (maybe incorrectly or out-of-dately) that positioning on discs is controlled by recorded stripes which cannot be erased or rewritten; if the data fades, wouldn't the adjacent positioning information also be comprised?

I've certainly had a a case where Spinrite totally failed even to recognise a disc; in such a case I'd tend to just chuck it out. But I happened to try <sarcastic> more sophisticated </sarcastic> software, namely Windows Explorer, which led me to taking further steps and recovering most of the data; see section "#A Spinrite problem", which I started, above.

Pol098 (talk) 18:02, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

It seems to work[edit]

I own a copy and have used it twice now.

The first time was at level 4 on an elderly Maxtor 120GB PATA drive that was finally starting to be unreadable - SpinRite recovered all but one of the sectors that were going south. I sucked all the data in one partition off of it, but forgot the second, smaller partition. I'm going to mount the drive soon and slurp up the data from the second partition. Then I'll decide whether it's worth risking keeping the drive in service.

The second time was on several used Seagate 73GB SCSI drives I'd bought. I was surprised when Spinrite went "eeeuuuuw" and told me that 2 of the drives didn't know what size they were and therefore Spinrite would have no truck with them. I verified and low-level formatted them, and then Spinrite was happy to look at them, tho of course at that point everything was zeroed out and already remapped.

Right now I've a 640GB WD Blue that doesn't think it's formatted. It's possible that I moved everything off it and just don't remember, but I expect I'll let Spinrite have a look at it when I have a few hours to spare. 71.162.80.74 (talk) 00:11, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Bug with modern USB keyboard controllers[edit]

Modern computers which lack the BIOS option to 'enable legacy USB support' may experience unpredictable results at the conclusion of SpinRite (4 out of 4 in tests using popular Dell models.) While the keyboard works fine during the configuration steps, as soon as the scan begins the keyboard is completely unpredictable. It may seem to ignore some keypresses; beep numerous times for a single keypress; and will appear to store unacknowledged keypresses into a buffer that is then emptied out at apparently random times.
The result is that after a multi-hour or over-night run, the results may be unable to be displayed, leaving the user unaware of indicated success of failure.
A form letter which has been emailed since at least 2008 explains that the customer is encouraged to just 'run MS-DOS instead'. SpinRite is packaged with FreeDOS, so repackaging the software to be functional on modern hardware is left as an exercise for the customer. Itismike (talk) 21:59, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

A possible workaround would be to edit the bootable image of FreeDOS + Spinrite to include a USB driver and invoke it in CONFIG.SYS. I haven't had this issue, but if others have, maybe solutions are findable on the Web? Pol098 (talk) 18:02, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Obsolescence, trashing drives, need to "kill Spinrite" to get a new version out?[edit]

Well, as a person that understands all of the technical ditty that Gibson puts out with the Spinrite docs and information, I think it's time that Spinrite is "outed" as the modern drive-killer that it is.

Personally, I went to a decent amount of effort to integrate Spinrite into my Boot CD (FalconFour's Ultimate Boot CD) so it can be used more easily in the field. So I've given it many runs-around and "chances to succeed" in the modern world, from 2009 to today. In that time, I've found... it doesn't work for a damn.

Basically, it uses a hard drive's "self-repairing" functionality to fix sectors. Before it gives the drive a chance to repair itself, though, it tries to recover as much data as possible from each individual (512-byte) sector - hence where "Bits 0...4095" come from in the recovery graphic. It reads the damaged sector hundreds or thousands of times, trying to find the "most popular" occurrence of each bit (which, itself, is flawed logic: the drives already do as much recovery as possible before returning an error - which is WHY it takes so long to run!). Then, it'll "write" that recovered data back over the damaged sector, and the drive will automatically remap the known-bad (after a thousand bad reads? duh!) sector to a new area of the drive. Then, Spinrite will move on.

Here's where it gets bad: that's how you trash a drive. Many hard drives have a really big flaw in their "recovery" method when they encounter an unreadable sector - they SLAM the heads against the limit of the disc at least once per bad read! So while Spinrite is sitting there blindly reading someteen-thousand "Discarded Samples" (with no end in sight mind you - this could go on all day!), the drive is destroying its flying head while repeatedly being told to read that same sector over and over again.

It's literally torturing the hard drive for information.

Often, the drives will "give up" and spin down to prevent further damage after a few hundred of these torture rounds. Spinrite then appears to hang, though the drive is no longer spinning. Spinrite doesn't do any sort of "hmm, how long are these operations taking? how long have I been at it? how long is the current operation taking?" timing analysis of its operations, which itself is a critical flaw. If it did more analysis of how long the operations take, it would know to "stick with what it got" and move on if each read-retry takes 15-20 seconds. Or if the failed reads are happening quickly, it could just progress with its usual sequence. Or if it usually takes 5 seconds to fail a read and it's been waiting for 30 seconds, maybe something failed in the drive.

All this information could be used to make Spinrite a viable product in 2011. As it is now, Spinrite 6 was released in 2004, and these glaring flaws made it obsolete even back in 2004 (the same drive technology was around back then as well). Since then, hard drive technology has changed dramatically: parallel recording technology, large (4kb) sectors with 512b emulation, more advanced SMART information in hard drives, all sorts of stuff. Spinrite is obsolete. But do we need to fix all the old, outdated information being passed around by noobs online in order to get Gibson to "get with the program" and address these flaws? All the past documentation, "explanation of the SATA thing" documents, etc., is irrelevant if it hasn't been written in the last 3 years. We need modern explanations to real problems, and the program to be updated accordingly. So maybe we need to "kill Spinrite" to get a new version produced? 67.181.184.205 (talk) 15:21, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

And you are proposing to change the article how? --DanielPharos (talk) 07:08, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
The comments are detailed and specific and relevant to the article, but as one user's experience they clearly fall within "original research" and do not meet the criteria for inclusion. So this comment should be seen as a request for sourced information supporting or contradicting these points - does anybody have any sources? Detailed analysis of Spinrite (as against "I ran it and it repaired a problem" or "it didn't work") is very thin on the ground. Pol098 (talk) 11:19, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
The claims of "slamming the head" and "destroying the flying head" seem hyperbolic, also inaccurate. There'd be no purpose in "slamming" a head against its stops, and it's pretty hard to destroy a head that's designed to use a ground-effect to avoid ever touching the disk platter. Dropping the drive from a height while it's reading or writing, okay -- then you'd have the infamous "head crash". But just operating the steppers? Doesn't sound right. They're designed to driven back and forth for ages. 71.162.80.74 (talk) 00:42, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I believe he is talking about the infamous Click of Death; when the drive will kick the head out of the way if it detects a bad read just in case there are protruding dents on the disk's surface, to avoid damaging the head and to avoid spreading debris that could produce a miniature Kessler syndrome. --TiagoTiago (talk) 19:00, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

This section of the talk is trash. i had recovered many drives with sinrite 6 on level 4, and they work flawlessly for years after spinrite's "torture". i do not know who lied to you, or how much of it you have misunderstood, but you definetly need a detailed schooling on spinrite and how it works. Anyway GRC is developing update for it, version 6.1, which will do a full and complete catch up to all that changed from 2004 up to date of release. even a bit outated, spinrite does good job, where other modern programs fail and give up in smoke. i'm direct witness to all this, i used many commercial fruitless money wasters, but only spinrite gave me reliable longtherm results. so buzz off! 78.83.97.112 (talk) 15:32, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

HDD regenerator (slander / marketing scam)[edit]

I see someone put in unverified claims of stolen code from hdd regenerator, and also conveniently "hijacked" a direct link to some site selling hdd regenerator.

This kind of trashtalk and blatant attempt to hijack credibility and sales seems "un-wikipedian" to me. It is slander and a very bad marketing scam. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.24.236.56 (talk) 07:59, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

From memory Steve Gibson bought the rights to SpinRite (I think it was called something else back then) at version 3. I'll update if I find a citable source. --Allne1972 (talk) 04:45, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I bought "Spinrite" (under that name, no version number, now called v1) in about 1989; I remember that it was from Gibson. I probably still have a working (not original) 360kB/5.25" boot floppy somewhere, but I'll never find it. I found it very effective with MFM (pre-IDE) disc problems; I'm not sure how effective it is with later drives, which don't have the same problems (see my comments in previous threads). Pol098 (talk) 13:14, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

isnt's it quite the oposite? spinrite was on the market LONG BEFORE HDD regenerator, and many companies tried to steal the chnology from spinrite. 78.83.97.112 (talk) 15:34, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

unnamed[edit]

WTF? -> "However, if a hard drive's circuit board, drive motors or other mechanical parts are defective, or there is systemic file system corruption, SpinRite may be of little or no help.[3] In fact, in such circumstances no purely software-based solution would be sufficient to overcome the problem." I didn't expect that such of crap, why not add more warnings about you can't fix the hdd if not have electric power or under water — Preceding unsigned comment added by 118.173.168.22 (talk) 00:40, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Cached Versions of Citations[edit]

Steve Gibson. Security Now! Episode 194. . 2012-11-28. URL:http://www.grc.com/sn/sn-194.txt. Accessed: 2012-11-28. (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6CWohFCY9) Steve Gibson. SpinRite Testimonials. . 2012-11-28. URL:http://www.grc.com/sr/testimonials.htm. Accessed: 2012-11-28. (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6CWokLmG3)

Given testimonial page is likely to change in future with newer content I'm linking an archived copy here for future discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Allne1972 (talkcontribs) 04:43, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Citation format[edit]

Per WP:CITEVAR about mixed formats I'll be reformatting all using Cs1. Also using cite episode to link show+transcripts. (The Unclear Citation Style tag has been in place since May 2012, the current citation style is predominantly non-italicised titles, and the first citations added to the article [2] were non-italicised). --Lexein (talk) 01:30, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Deconstructing SpinRite[edit]

Here is a deconstruction of the claims made in respect of SpinRite, together with references to tests which prove that, under some circumstances, SpinRite is data destructive.

http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=181&t=2929

106.69.71.227 (talk) 20:47, 31 January 2020 (UTC)

Feel free to integrate any new, verifiable information into the article. Please do note that the author of SpinRite has stated (in podcasts) and gone into detail that, yes, under some circumstances, SpinRite is data destructive. --DanielPharos (talk) 11:27, 9 February 2020 (UTC)