Features found ONLY in SpinRite
As you browse around the SpinRite area of our web site, and if you've read the various quotes by members of the Personal Computing industry press, you have probably started to acquire a sense for SpinRite's uniqueness. But if that hasn't happened yet, this page ought to do the trick. It's difficult to compare SpinRite with other products, because SpinRite never copied anything else. It was created, from scratch, to fulfill a need that had never been addressed at the time ... and which is still only addressed by SpinRite.
Absolutely UNIQUE SpinRite Features:
Direct Hardware Interaction with Hard Disk Drives and Controllers:
Unlike any other disk utility, SpinRite interfaces directly to the hard disk system's hardware, rather than working through the system's operating system or BIOS. This allows SpinRite to immediately determine the location of any surface defect after a single incident of error, rather than requiring multiple reoccurrences. SpinRite's hardware-level interconnection also allows it to interface with the various functional extensions of the IDE/CAM/ATA drive standards - including LBA mode drives - and to manage the extended ECC error correction available in modern devices. SpinRite selectively disables and enables a drive's read caching, write caching, read-ahead buffering, on-the-fly sector relocation, on-the-fly error correction, dynamic servo thermal re-equalization, early and late ECC error correction, and other advanced features in modern drives. No other disk utility has ever done any of this, even though it results in tremendous data recovery and drive maintenance benefits.
Special Handling of Write Caching:
The newest IDE, EIDE, and SCSI drives boost their performance by caching and deferring hard disk write operations. This means that they accept data from the system and report that it's been successfully written before it has actually been recorded. As you might imagine, this creates huge problems if the drive later finds that it's unable to save the data to its disk platters! But since SpinRite operates upon the "real" disk surfaces, it penetrates the write caching deception to deliver true surface analysis.
Running SpinRite, as a preventive maintenance measure from time to time, uncovers these troubled sectors so that the drive will be able to safely use write caching during its normal daily operation.
Special Handling of Automatic Relocation:
All modern mass storage drives perform automatic relocation of defective sectors. (See the "Defect Detection" page for more information.) This presents problems for all other "data recovery" programs because a defective sector which still contains unrecovered data may be automatically relocated by the drive before all of its data has been successfully recovered and removed. SpinRite deliberately disables this automatic sector relocation, when present, until all of the sector's data has been recovered, then deliberately re-enables relocation to allow the drive to replace the defective sector with a good spare. After the relocation has occurred SpinRite replaces the data into the newly relocated sector. No other utility has ever done this.
Special Handling of Extra ECC Data:
To perform reliably at today's high data densities, drives have enhanced their built-in Error Correction Code (ECC) to tolerate longer error "bursts." SpinRite adaptively determines the extent of extra ECC data used by the drive, then uses everything available to aid its operation.
Special Handling of Drive ID's:
SpinRite reads, displays, and interprets the identity and manufacturer of all leading hard disk drives. This information is used to determine which advanced drive features are available, and to determine which specific data-to-flux-reversal encoder-decoder is being used by the drive's manufacturer. This information is used by SpinRite's Flux Synthesis surface analysis technology. (See the item below and the "Defect Detection Magnetodynamics" page for more information.)
Flux Synthesis Media Analysis Surface Defect Detection:
SpinRite incorporates an understanding of the complex relationships between a drive's external data and the internal magnetic flux reversals used to record and retrieve that data. Using this knowledge, SpinRite deliberately records signals that have the lowest-possible amplitude when read back from the drive. After turning off all data re-read retries and all automatic data correction, SpinRite scrubs the drive's surface to reveal any regions that are no longer safe for storing data. (See the "Defect Detection Magnetodynamics" page for more information.)
DynaStat Data Recovery:
Since SpinRite's legendary data recovery capabilities have always been a highlight for its users, we have continued investing tremendous effort to evolve this capability to new heights. SpinRite's Dynastat Data Recovery system is the culmination of this effort. Dynastat employs every trick we know, as well as some new inventions we created just for this purpose. (See the "Data Recovery" page for more information.)
Rather than giving up when a sector can't be read, or rather than taking whatever data the drive might be willing to begrudgingly yield, the DynaStat system accumulates a comprehensive statistical database about the behavior of any troubled sector's data through the accumulation and classification of up to 2,000 individual sector rereads. By understanding the unlock/relock behavior of the drive's data-to-flux-reversal encoder-decoder, and by processing the sector's data "tails" after encountering a defect of any kind, the Dynastat technology "reverse engineers" the sector's original data from the statistical performance profile of the unreadable sector's flux reversals. As a result, SpinRite can often completely recover data that would otherwise have been utterly lost. Needless to say, no other utility has ever incorporated such technology.
SpinRite's "Fingerprint" Technology:
SpinRite's drive fingerprinting system provides faster startup operation by storing a collection of critical drive parameters so that they do not need to be determined with every reuse of SpinRite. Issuing the command SPINRITE AUTO starts SpinRite running on a drive in seconds. The fingerprint also retains the user's last option settings, a date-stamped summary of the results from SpinRite's prior five uses, and miscellaneous bits of data which simplifies its use.
Compressed Drive Compatibility:
Though we never recommend whole-disk compression, we understand the wide appeal of compression's promise, so SpinRite incorporates full and transparent support for all leading partition compression technologies: SpinRite can be used with Microsoft's DriveSpace and DoubleSpace, Stac's Stacker (versions 2.0 and later), and Addstor's SuperStor (versions 2.0 and later) partition compressing systems.
Since SpinRite is operating upon the drive's surfaces, it must work in terms of the physical drive which is hosting the compressed partition, rather than the logical compressed partitions that have been created from the physical drives. Thanks to tremendous cooperation and support from Microsoft, Stac, and Addstor, SpinRite eliminates user confusion by leaving all DOS partition designations unaltered and by carefully explaining any changes in drive lettering which may be required. Users who are accustomed to seeing drive C: can use SpinRite upon drive C: even though SpinRite is actually operating upon the swapped or hidden partition lying beneath the compressed drive. When SpinRite exits, the system is returned to its original condition.
SpinRite also recognizes other partition compression solutions and correctly operates upon their compressed host files as well.
Total Product Stability:
SpinRite is completely safe to use. We have taken our experience with SpinRite through more than 10 years of its existence and with its hundreds of thousands of satisfied users. We incorporated everything we have learned about any problems anyone ever had. Unlike all other software being sold today, SpinRite is absolutely stable and isn't being "patched" day by day. It's truly a finished and perfected product. You can depend upon it.
Drive Benchmarking Breakthrough:
SpinRite's drive performance benchmarking system is another unique feature. SpinRite incorporates a new performance measurement index (called Sector Access Velocity, or SAV) which - for the first time ever - actually corresponds quite closely to the perceived performance of the hard disk system being measured. SpinRite also has a new data throughput test that is aware of, and not fooled by, hard disk drive internal caching. It separates and independently measures a drive's buffered and unbuffered data transfer rates.
Floppy Diskette Operation:
Everything SpinRite does for hard disk drives also works on floppy diskettes of any size and density. It is always frustrating to move a diskette from one machine to the next, only to have that second machine refuse to read a diskette which the first machine just wrote, especially if the first machine is in California and you're in New York. Don't leave home without it!
Drive Parameter Loss Detection and Correction:
Personal Computer BIOS's have a tendency to occasionally "forget" their drive setup parameters. This can result in tremendous user confusion and concern when, as a result, the drive appears to have suddenly "died." Many people have purchased SpinRite through the years to "fix" their hard disks when the real problem was just a loss of the system's drive parameters. So SpinRite detects when the system's drive parameters have been altered or lost ... and can determine what they were and should be ... even if it has never encountered the system before. Very handy!