Can SpinRite fix uncorrectable/unreadable sectors?

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MonitorZero

New member
Mar 14, 2023
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I have a 10TB drive that's currently failing from my TrueNAS. I'm able to replace the drive with a new one but don't want to pitch it if there's a chance of saving it. TrueNAS has been flagging sectors as "Uncorrectable" and "Unreadable" can Spinrite help with these kinds of errors?

Not sure if it matters but TrueNAS is on ZFS file system so I don't know if I could even run Spinrite on it.

Heard about this through the podcast and haven't used it yet and have been waiting for 6.1 to purchase but if this is something spinrite can help iron out I think I'll push that up a bit.

Thanks.
 
All SpinRite does is exercise the drive. If the media is damaged, SpinRite is not going to magically teleport in some new atoms. It's going to force the drive to try and read the damaged area over and over, and eventually hope the drive logic will re-allocate the damaged LBA(s) to a new location. This is not magic, and it's not fool proof. Additionally, drives fail for a number of reasons, and if your drive is failing gradually (maybe the mechanism for seeking the head is getting worn and so positioning is becoming erratic) then you are positing that you might put all those valuable eggs in this basket that is just about to fall apart.

If you can afford to replace the drive, you probably should. If you want to try to get some extra life out of the drive and use it in a capacity where it doesn't matter if it suddenly fails catastrophically, then I guess you could try using SpinRite. The issue you face is that SpinRite 6.0 can't handle a drive that large and 6.1 will be able to, but is not quite available yet. I guess you could buy in and then use the alpha version, but that comes with the usual warnings and caveats of pre-release software.
 
There is an old saying in raid and or zfs, a NAS box is not a backup. I got 5 NAS boxes, 2 are old and no longer used. 1 Truenas server. Once a drive gets flaking, you gotto do the math. is MY data worth it or NOT?

I ran alpha SR 6.1 on a 8TB. it is faster than version 6 (heck you could not run it on 6) but its still will take 20 hours plus and its NOT a miracle cure. In fact I think its the drive that fixes itself OR NOT. IMHO. buy a new drive if you value your data.

Then run SR on the "bad" one. and backup your truenas data to multiple externals drives, or the cloud. just my 2 cents. actually your NOT even supposed to tes t on any production drives in this phase, you have to wait until 6.1 is in release. Do not hold your breath... we beta in testing for 2 years plus now.
 
All SpinRite does is exercise the drive. If the media is damaged, SpinRite is not going to magically teleport in some new atoms. It's going to force the drive to try and read the damaged area over and over, and eventually hope the drive logic will re-allocate the damaged LBA(s) to a new location. This is not magic, and it's not fool proof. Additionally, drives fail for a number of reasons, and if your drive is failing gradually (maybe the mechanism for seeking the head is getting worn and so positioning is becoming erratic) then you are positing that you might put all those valuable eggs in this basket that is just about to fall apart.

If you can afford to replace the drive, you probably should. If you want to try to get some extra life out of the drive and use it in a capacity where it doesn't matter if it suddenly fails catastrophically, then I guess you could try using SpinRite. The issue you face is that SpinRite 6.0 can't handle a drive that large and 6.1 will be able to, but is not quite available yet. I guess you could buy in and then use the alpha version, but that comes with the usual warnings and caveats of pre-release software.
Thanks. Figured it wasn't going to magically save the day but hoped. Got a new drive coming in on Friday thankfully.

Slightly off topic but since I'm new here is it ok to run SR through a VM? Seems like that would be the best way to run it and just plug in a HDD through a USB drive station but I'm not sure if that will have some adverse effect?

Either way thanks for the input. Much appreciated.
 
It has been done that a copy of SpinRite has been run inside of VirtualBox. Steve does this very thing for some of his development testing. You may need to map the hardware through the virtualization as a raw disk.

USB is not directly supported by SpinRite, not even in 6.1. If the BIOS supports the USB then it may work. You might be able to use a VM to map the USB... but odds are very good that the error reporting that SpinRite relies on for full function will become severely limited. (The translation between protocols usually means nuances get lost.) You will need to wait until SpinRite 7 for proper/full USB support.
 
I have a 10TB drive that's currently failing from my TrueNAS. I'm able to replace the drive with a new one but don't want to pitch it if there's a chance of saving it. TrueNAS has been flagging sectors as "Uncorrectable" and "Unreadable" can Spinrite help with these kinds of errors?

Not sure if it matters but TrueNAS is on ZFS file system so I don't know if I could even run Spinrite on it.

Heard about this through the podcast and haven't used it yet and have been waiting for 6.1 to purchase but if this is something spinrite can help iron out I think I'll push that up a bit.

Thanks.
You should definitely run SpinRite on that drive... and I'm not saying that only because I have a vested interest in SpinRite (though I certainly do. :)

I recently had a similar-sounding situation, where a 2TB drive was rejected and removed from service by one of GRC's primary NAS RAID arrays. Now that I had a version of SpinRite (which 660 individuals are currently experimenting with) which could examine such a drive with sufficient detail and in a reasonable time frame, I was extremely curious to know what exactly was going on with it. So I ran the current Alpha release of SpinRite 6.1 on that drive.

SpinRite found and fixed one short contiguous run of sectors on that drive, all which were uncorrectable, but there was nothing actually wrong with any of them. Something had apparently caused them to be miswritten — perhaps a power glitch occurred while they were being written. And their intransigence had spooked the RAID controller into writing off the drive. SpinRite re-wrote those sectors and found nothing whatsoever to be wrong with them or anything else on the drive. All SMART params looked great and there was no longer any reason to mistrust that drive. There was nothing systemic in evidence.

So, if nothing else you'll learn something that you don't already know.

Several additional points from what you later wrote: I would NOT run SpinRite through a VM unless you had no choice. SpinRite works directly with the system's hardware and anything that interposes should be avoided. It might be that a VM could give SpinRite true access to the hardware, but I would never "seek" that mode of operation over running on native hardware. Best in this instance to be sure about what's going on.

Also, until we get to SpinRite v7, which will natively support USB attached devices, USB *must* be avoided at all costs. We recently discovered serious and potentially undetectable bugs in several USB BIOSes so SpinRite v6.1 will now only operate upon the first 137GB of any drive attached through USB. And even without that deliberately imposed safety limit, the BIOS, and thus USB through the BIOS, doesn't provide anywhere near the same level of control and sensitivity as directly connected SATA and PATA drives attached to AHCI and ATA/IDE controllers, which v6.1 now supports.
 
I have a 10TB drive that's currently failing from my TrueNAS. I'm able to replace the drive with a new one but don't want to pitch it if there's a chance of saving it. TrueNAS has been flagging sectors as "Uncorrectable" and "Unreadable" can Spinrite help with these kinds of errors?

Not sure if it matters but TrueNAS is on ZFS file system so I don't know if I could even run Spinrite on it.

Heard about this through the podcast and haven't used it yet and have been waiting for 6.1 to purchase but if this is something spinrite can help iron out I think I'll push that up a bit.

Thanks.
One last point... you began this thread by asking a simple and straightforward question: “Can SpinRite fix uncorrectable/unreadable sectors?”

The definitive answer is yes... and it has been doing so for more than 35 years... which is a large part of the reason for it still being here 35+ years later.
 
All SpinRite does is exercise the drive. If the media is damaged, SpinRite is not going to magically teleport in some new atoms. It's going to force the drive to try and read the damaged area over and over, and eventually hope the drive logic will re-allocate the damaged LBA(s) to a new location. This is not magic, and it's not fool proof. Additionally, drives fail for a number of reasons, and if your drive is failing gradually (maybe the mechanism for seeking the head is getting worn and so positioning is becoming erratic) then you are positing that you might put all those valuable eggs in this basket that is just about to fall apart.

If you can afford to replace the drive, you probably should. If you want to try to get some extra life out of the drive and use it in a capacity where it doesn't matter if it suddenly fails catastrophically, then I guess you could try using SpinRite. The issue you face is that SpinRite 6.0 can't handle a drive that large and 6.1 will be able to, but is not quite available yet. I guess you could buy in and then use the alpha version, but that comes with the usual warnings and caveats of pre-release software.
 
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Is there an interim 6.1 that I can download now? I have d already bought 6.0. I’ve got an 18 month 4T NAS that desperately needs a level 3 or 4 scan. I know there is a problem with the HDD as I have got a number of files that have read errors when I try and view them. This was probably caused by 3 power outages I suffered soon after buying this new drive. I have subsequently bought an UPS, but whilst on holiday away from my house the Earth Leakage Trip tripped at 5am Monday morning and I didn’t get home until Friday evening and yes, I still hadn’t got round to fixing up the auto shutdown cable, and I’ve noticed something isn’t quite right.
 
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Is there an interim 6.1 that I can download now?
You have unlucky timing, Steve is completely rewriting aspects of the disk management because he found the older code was insufficient. It's been over two weeks since any new version. And then I suspect you wouldn't want to use a version until it gets a couple of rounds of testing. To use it on valuable data in alpha, you'd want to have a backup for sure. In any case, during alpha, Steve needs you to participate in the newsgroup for SpinRite dev to get advice and access. I've posted elsewhere here recently about the topic, so I'd encourage you to read that post if interested.