I've posted an answer that gave me a +8/-5 score and the only hint I have is sebasth's comment that SpinRite is snake oil.

I own SpinRite and I've seen it recover bad sectors, but I'm willing to improve the answer and am looking for guidance on what to do:

  1. Delete the answer
  2. Take out section 2.
  3. Something else entirely?

Discussion closed: I took out the reference to SpinRite

| |
  • 1
    SpinRite was made by a well-known fraud and scammer and makes claims which do not jibe with the actual known physical behavior of hard drives. – forest Nov 21 '18 at 4:10

I think including SpinRite in your answer makes it partly a vote about SpinRite.

At best, the way it is marketed rubs a lot of people the wrong way. (Including myself :-). Less charitably, when you read the old email that gets linked to, it has been marketed with false claims (just google the quoted tagline). SpinRite is making no effort to retract them or apologize; the 2018 website is still repeating the same ideas.

Many of us on this site want to evaluate software by how it works. The strength of SpinRite as an answer is not really based on that. It's based on your personal experience - which it sounds was potentially relevant to this case - and how well the money-back process works :-).

You can try to pre-empt this by recognising it, maybe acknowledging it, trying not to quote in a way that sounds like marketing-fluff, just describing whatever the technical conditions are that you need to run SpinRite.

I think trying to base this purely on votes doesn't work very well, because they are too capricious :-). Make an answer that you are satisfied with as being accurate. Or delete the answer, if you're not able to ignore the votes. Or... call people out on Meta and see if you get any better explanation :-).

I personally would avoid mentioning INT 13 i.e. the ancient BIOS API. The INT 13 functions are device-independent; they do not allow sending specific SATA commands, or specific commands to PATA drives for that matter, that could be expected to nurse this device back into yielding its precious data. If it was instead the implementations of one of these BIOS functions that knew the magic command - !!! - it would be old news by now. It would be one of the hdparm options with the nice all-caps warning notices. Anyway, you don't need to make your answer a vote on whether that exact technical detail makes any sense.

There is one suggestion, in https://serverfault.com/a/272557/133475, that your flow of operations is not good. If your data is worth the much higher price of professional hard data recovery, then it could be a bad idea to run the drive for a long time, or at all, using SpinRite. Best to think about that part first. Of course a lot of people will not or cannot pay that much.

| |
  • 1
    Yep, it all adds up to the impression: INT13, FreeDOS, their website which is stuck in TLS handshake (are they still using SSL?)... And yes, suggesting a tool in the answer absolutely makes it a vote about the tool and I don't see how it could be otherwise. – Dmitry Grigoryev Nov 16 '18 at 14:44
  • 2
    I took out the reference to SpinRite. – Fabby Nov 16 '18 at 16:32

I would leave your answer and chalk it up to people have opinions on things and it's their prerogative to disagree with you. I've seen and heard similar gripes about SpinRite but I too purchased it years ago and I've had good success in repairing failed drives. So it clearly works.

I'd just ignore them in this case since there were no clarifying comments.

| |
  • Thanks... It is what it is... – Fabby Nov 16 '18 at 8:07
  • 1
    I took out the reference to SpinRite. – Fabby Nov 16 '18 at 16:31
  • 1
    Actually, all you were doing was changing sectors marked as damaged to undamaged, which is very risky. So yes, it has "repaired" failed drives, but only by tricking the drive into thinking it was no longer failing. You've only did a disservice to yourself by using this snakeoil. BTW, you can do the same thing it does with hdparm. The only difference is that the latter warns you very severely that marking bad sectors as good is very very dangerous. – forest Nov 21 '18 at 4:40

You could certainly improve your answer if you could share an experience related to the problem in the question, where the drive not only has bad sectors, but also refuses the lseek call on the device. The best you could do is to provide an explanation why SpinRite would be able to read the disk where the Linux block device driver fails.

Right now, the only thing I learned from your answer is that you're recommending an ancient DOS-era tool which worked for you in a situation you didn't describe, so I have no idea how similar it was to the question. You mention ddrescue that the OP tried to use without success, but there is no comparison between ddrescue and SpinRite.

An answer which is not very convincing, negative feedback about the tool online and the fact that I won't be able to test it myself leave an impression that using it would be a bad advice.

| |
  • 1
    "It looks like this disk is not recognized by the OS as it looks like an 18 Exabyte disk to disks, a -512GB drive to parted, ... so you're down to hardware recovery" "2. If that fails, have a look at SpinRite: commercial software but much cheaper than step #3 and I've successfully used it to recover disks in this state in the past" – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:10
  • 1
    I don't worry too much about lseek(). the hardware doesn't see seek calls at all, only the kernel. (each hardware operation includes the position, like pread() / pwrite()). the problem is better summarised by the hard drive reporting as -512 bytes long ! – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:13
  • ddrescue is mentioned specifically to call out this difference. -1. – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:19
  • 1
    @sourcejedi Does "this state" referes to a particular state where the drive reports to have 18 Exabyte? Or any wrong size? Or simply have bad sectors? And I don't get your last comment, could you explain? – Dmitry Grigoryev Nov 16 '18 at 15:24
  • last comment in response to "You mention ddrescue that the OP tried to use without success, but there is no comparison between ddrescue and SpinRite." It sounded like you meant they should either not have mentioned ddrescue, or should have made a full comparison. – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:28
  • "This looks like more than just a bad sector ... It looks like this disk is not recognized by the OS". So I can easily tell it does not mean one bad sector or multiple bad sectors. – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:30
  • I am not OP so I don't know any more of their experience than what I have read (and to the extent I trust it, which is of course never 100%). – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:32
  • @sourcejedi Not necessarily a full comparison (what is full exactly?), but at least some evidence that SpinRite works where ddrescue doesn't. Right now the answer tells me that they both worked for Fabby, which is not exactly an argument to try SpinRite. – Dmitry Grigoryev Nov 16 '18 at 15:32
  • I interpret it the other way. I agree it is an extra-ordinary claim, and the answer could be improved by making the claim 100% unambiguous. – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:34
  • (That is, clarifying the answer to say which interpretation was intended. I don't assume OP has records available that would provide further evidence for what their memory says). – sourcejedi Nov 16 '18 at 15:37
  • 2
    I took out the reference to SpinRite. – Fabby Nov 16 '18 at 16:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .