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A word about 'Spinrite' ... a repeatedly echoed myth from many forum users 
Saturday, April 29, 2017, 01:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Spinrite is a hard drive diagnostic software, and was first published in 1987. The last version 6.0 was published in 2004. Before I go on with my explanations, remember, Spinrite should be necessary only for MFM and RLL drives, modern IDE drives have their own defect management.

Last time I recognized my IBM Portable PC has at least 110KB clusters marked as bad. But I didn't expirienced problems so far (read or write errors), so I was happy. But even 110KB are space which you could need, so I decided to "refresh" the 20MB MFM hard drive with Spinrite II. After 4 hours only 15% were processed, so I decided to stop it with pressing ESC, which is NOT a hard break, Spinrite finishes it's last action (last processed cluster).
Now I tried to boot again and guess what, NOW I had read errors. Also, the drive seeks desparately for a readable sector often. CHKDSK results in 250KB bad clusters.

This was surprising for me first, because BEFORE I started Spinrite, there was no noticeable error !
Also, I got many defective directory entries, which I could NOT REPAIR with CHKDSK /F.

But meanwhile I understood what happened. For such an old MFM hard drive, this is a torture or at least stress. So instead of doing something good, I tried to kill my MFM hard drive.

So the best idea is NOT USING SPINRITE SNAKE OIL, instead, try to backup what you want first, start low level formatting by using the controllers BIOS (start DEBUG, enter "g=C800:5"), then boot with a working DOS floppy disk, use FDISK and FORMAT C:/S, and restore the saved files back. Another reason to act like described is the processing time of Spinrite - it can take days, not hours. A low level format by using DEBUG take minutes only...

If in doubt about the drive health, you may use a DOS 6.2 (6.22) boot disk with SCANDISK, to detect unreadable clusters. I recommend NOT TO USE Spinrite, because your old drive will hate you for it. Believe me.

SCANDISK should be called with the parameter /SURFACE and for monochrome screens with /MONO, too.
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