Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Yesterday I attended a presentation by Western Digital that discussed various innovations in rotating hard drive internals, including perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), etc. And of course, there's flash-based SSDs.

I am wondering whether reading and re-writing bits still does anything to prevent or predict failure in modern drives, as SpinRite advertises.

  1. For SSDs, I am rather convinced that SpinRite is either useless or hurts, since the drive's internal controller already relocates and masks bad sectors. Please correct me if I am wrong.
  2. For rotating disks, do modern materials/techniques still benefit from a "refresh" (read followed by write)? If any block is bad/failing, would the drive expose it to SpinRite, or would it silently relocate/mask it akin to SSDs?

Note that I am not interested in anecdotes ("I used SpinRite last week and now my PC once again that new hard drive smell"), but rather in specifics about how SpinRite interacts with modern hard drives and their controllers.

share|improve this question
do not use spinrite on SSDs. I think it would abort anyway though. all it could do is reduce the life of your disk. –  Frank Thomas Oct 24 '13 at 17:00
@FrankThomas - You can actually use Spinrite a mode which only reads the data instead of writting the data ( I believe Level 1+2 ). This is actually what Steve Gibson suggests if you are going to use Spinrite against a SSD. As for "modern" hdds nothing as really change except how quickly the drives can read and write which the next version is going to address with a more modern universal read/write mechanic that Steve hopes will work with nearly every device ( i.e. it will ramp up to the drives specification ). –  Ramhound Oct 24 '13 at 17:13
@Ramhound, Thanks for the info. I've always respected Steve Gibson, so its good to hear he's still relentlessly improving his offerings. my copy of spinrite is like 10 years old, so ... –  Frank Thomas Oct 24 '13 at 22:23
@FrankThomas - I forget the exact reason you would run it but on his podcast thats what he suggested. –  Ramhound Oct 25 '13 at 0:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.