[sf-lug] semi-OT: help with dying disk

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Mar 15 00:48:04 PDT 2008

Quoting matt.price at utoronto.ca (matt.price at utoronto.ca):

> haven't ordered my replacement drive yet -- too distracted, i guess.   
> so i'm hoping to perhaps use my old drive for a few more days, in all  
> likelihood wiping it & copying back some of the recovered data.  so  
> i'm htinking i may try this trick of yours.  this drive turns out to  
> be a Hitachi HTS72101.  am i right in thinking that i download the  
> hitachi Drive Fitness Test, choose Erase Sectors after the utility's  
> been run, & then reboot into linux & mkfs?  just trying to clarify...

I'm sorry to say, I'm not acquainted with Hitachi's utilities
specifically.  (It's possible I once was, but I obviously haven't used
them _lately_, since the above doesn't ring a bell.)

In general, what you're looking for is something with wording suggesting
that it's re-doing the low-level formatting of the entire hard drive.  
Of course, manufacturer marketing departments have often intervened to
make sure that useful data are hidden in fluffy pillows of meaningless
sales babble.

Just looking at
http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm?linkto=QL#DFT , and
reading the decriptions, it looks like this stuff within Drive Fitness Test
is its pseudo-low-level formatting utility:  

    Restores Drive Fitness

    Low-level format utility (Use option: Erase Disk).
    Note: this utility overwrites customer data to allow repair of bad

Many manufacturers regard PATA drives (and, for all I know, probably
SATA ones) as throwaway items, and it's quite possible that _some_
manufacturers' standard answer is "Gee, hard drive acting up?  Throw it
away and buy another one."  It's also possible that particular
manufacturers' utilities do a little, but not much.  In any event, at
minimum, you lose nothing but time and trouble from using whatever the
manufacturer offers, and seeing if it does any good.

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