From: John Foust <jfoust_at_threedee.com>
Date: Sat Oct 23 09:36:41 2004

At 08:59 PM 10/21/2004, you wrote:
> I've used it to good effect in getting data off failing disks. I never considered using it to extend the life of a disk that's failing. To me, that feels like trying to get one last drink of the soured milk.

Yes, of course. But SpinRite also makes me wrinkle my nose:
it seems potentially tremendously valuable for its recovery
skills of marginal data, but why on Earth does it want to
re-write back to the same media? Why not recover to another
file or disk?

It violates the Hippocratic oath of data recovery: at least do no harm.
Recovering data from an old disk means the risk of putting the media
in a drive, but that's small in my mind with the risk (or sense) of
trying to write back to it. Am I missing some feature in the SpinRite
interface that would let me recover data to a second disk?

>The only time SpinRite didn't do me any good at all was when the luser with the bad hard drive, after being advised to shut it down till I got back in town, got antsy and ran MS-DOS Scandisk on it about 20 times. We didn't get much data back.

I had that a few months ago, too. When I'm called in to fix
a minor software problem on someone's computer, I rarely make a
full backup before I touch it. It's a cost issue, a time issue,
a practical issue. I fixed this fellow's problems, demonstrated
to him several times that the system would reboot, warm and cold,
without error.

Two hours after I left, he had an error on shutdown. On restart,
Scandisk ran, found an error, and he answered "no" when it asked
to fix the error. Presto, scragged hard disk. 50 megs of email lost.

In this case, I had backed-up his email to a zip file but put it
on the hard disk. He had no other backup. He'd never made one.
I spent another ten hours out of guilt on my dime to attempt to
recover his data with R-Studio www.r-studio.com . No go. The zip
was gone, the mailbox was gone.

Who's at fault? I know that if I pulled out of the car repair shop,
drove ten miles and the engine fell out, I'd blame the repair shop.

I've spent a hundreds of dollars on tools for data recovery:
DriveCopy, Partition Magic, Ghost, R-Studio, SpinRite...
but none is a Swiss army knife, and I've got gripes about each.

- John
Received on Sat Oct 23 2004 - 09:36:41 BST

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