One defective, One Unrecovered and some ECC

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rakosnik

Member
Dec 15, 2021
10
1
I'm almost done running SpinRite on level 5 on a large spinning drive. So far it has found one defective spot, one unrecovered spot and most of the time it has been running SpinRite has shown that the ECC corrected has been somewhere around 70 out of 94.

Does running SpinRite tell the drive to swap out the defective and unrecovered area for spare tracks? If I were to run SpinRite again on those areas would it likely say the same thing or would it not because those areas were swapped out with spare tracks? Is there a log from SpinRite somewhere that tells me precisely where the defective and unrecovered areas are?

Is 70 out of 94 ECC corrected concerning?

Assuming SpinRite doesn't find anything else, should I continue use this drive?
 
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Drive makers have attempted to make drive "install, go and forget" — so there's no explicit external means to induce them to relocate defective sectors. All anything can do is what SpinRite does: keep showing the drive that there's a problem by inducing the drive to read THROUGH the problem... Then it will autonomously perform the sector sparing (swap out) when it's been "shown" the problem.

That "70 out of 94" is the ECC SMART health score. It would have been accompanied by the red squares as the "bar chart" is pushed down to the left. What that's telling you is that the work SpinRite is asking the drive to do (just reading, which it's supposed to be able to do with its eyes closed) has been causing it some stress because it's needing to correct more and more often than it expects to.

But a Level 5 pass will have freshly rewritten everything. So it might be that another similar pass (you could just do a much faster Level 1 or 2) would NOT depress the ECC health reading to the same degree.
 
Does running SpinRite tell the drive to swap out the defective and unrecovered area for spare tracks? If I were to run SpinRite again on those areas would it likely say the same thing or would it not because those areas were swapped out with spare tracks? Is there a log from SpinRite somewhere that tells me precisely where the defective and unrecovered areas are?
You can't tell a drive to reallocate sectors, it's ultimately the drive itself that decides to retire a sector or not. That does not mean we can not do anything.

Basically it's something like ..

Error on read. We have two types of those:

1. Drive can recover the data from the sector. Then depending on conditions the drive can decide to keep the sector or reallocate the sector. Basically if drive can write recovered data back to same sector it will keep it. If it can not write the recovered data to same sector it will discard it and save data to spare sector (sector reallocation).
2. Drive can not recover data from the sector. It will keep that sector and it will typically become 'pending'. This is the type of sector SpinRite can work on, trying to recover the data. IF data can be recovered then SpinRite will write data back to the drive. From that point on process will be similar to 1: If drive discovers it can not write to the sector it will discard the sector and write data to a spare sector.

A variation on 2: Even if we can not recover data from the sector we may still want to the drive to reallocate it. We can then fill a sector sized buffer with arbitrary data like zeros and tell the drive to write that to the troubled sector. Drive will discover it can not write to the sector and it will discard it and write our sector of zeros to a spare sector. So in effect we decide we give up on data in 'original' sector and we lose that.

Is 70 out of 94 ECC corrected concerning?
Hard drives correct errors using ECC all the time as part of normal operation. On SSDs it's even 'worse'. In fact it's so normal some drive don't even report it as being an anomaly. Other drives report all ECC corrections that take place. So to interpret ECC counts you basically have to understand default behavior of a drive, you need some prior knowledge.

So if you get a new drive you'd need to look at behavior under stress (by scanning it with SpinRite for example) and take that as a baseline. In absence of a baseline you may need to compare to other people's results with that drive.

Basically SpinRite can not tell if a drive's behavior is good or bad (apart from obvious mal-behaving drives), it can tell how a drive is behaving and report it. It's then up to user to decide an weigh the information SpinRite provides you with. This is not a SpinRite 'thing' BTW. Tools that do give you some binary result (keep drive / get rid of drive) are basically best guessing and could be plain wrong (including manufacturer provided diagnostic tools). So in my mind you want a tool that provides you with the best information/data that allows you to reach a conclusion. The yes/no type tools tend to keep this information from you.
 
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Tools that do give you some binary result (keep drive / get rid of drive) are basically best guessing and could be plain wrong (including manufacturer provided diagnostic tools). So in my mind you want a tool that provides you with the best information/data that allows you to reach a conclusion. The yes/no type tools tend to keep this information from you.
I know I'm not going to get an absolute binary answer about a drive. But I do value the advice of the combined experience with SpinRite of people in this forum and of course Steve's opinion too.

Thanks to the Pre-release of 6.1 I'm running SpinRite on drives that I either haven't been able to run it on for years and drives that were too big for 6.0, so I was never able to run SpinRite on them before. Now I'm getting the kind of results I'm not used to seeing. I regularly ran SpinRite on my other drives, so I usually didn't get even questionable results.
 
I'm almost done running the same drive on level 2. The defective and unrecovered regions did not show up this time. So maybe the drive swapped out those tracks. However, the ECC count is about the same as it was when I ran the drive on level 5.
 
I'm almost done running the same drive on level 2. The defective and unrecovered regions did not show up this time. So maybe the drive swapped out those tracks. However, the ECC count is about the same as it was when I ran the drive on level 5.
You really need to attach logs for anyone to make educated guesses.
 
Thanks to the Pre-release of 6.1 I'm running SpinRite on drives that I either haven't been able to run it on for years and drives that were too big for 6.0, so I was never able to run SpinRite on them before.
That's music to my ears after this 3+ year project to make exactly that happen!
I'm almost done running the same drive on level 2. The defective and unrecovered regions did not show up this time. So maybe the drive swapped out those tracks. However, the ECC count is about the same as it was when I ran the drive on level 5.
It's great that those initial problems are no longer appearing. Many things other than a permanent flaw in the disc surface can cause data to be unreadable. If the drive was bumped while writing, or if power fluctuated, etc. what the drive intended to write may be messed up. This is why simply rewriting a drive can eliminate previous problems. They really can be previous problems. :)

Thanks for your report!