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I'm recovering data from an hdd using ddrescue. With "retry" disabled, it takes roughly 30 seconds for every unreadable sector. The hdd has tens of thousands of bad sectors and the process is taking forever.

Can I shorten the read error timeout to, say, 3 seconds? Perhaps with ATA commands? Kernel options? Firmware hacks?

smartctl info:

Device Model:     Hitachi HTS542525K9A300
Firmware Version: BBFOC3EP
User Capacity:    250,059,350,016 bytes
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  ATA-8-ACS revision 3f
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Sorry to comment on such an ancient question. Did you ever find a solution to your problem? – Ryan Sorensen Jul 16 '14 at 0:54
Unfortuntely, no – netvope Sep 21 '14 at 2:00

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