Richard Berg

Best low-level drive test?

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I think one of my Maxtor D540X's is on its way out. 3ware has reported sector errors a few times (weekly scans); now it's finally degraded the array.

I have Maxtor's Powermax on a bootable CD. It's useless: it tries to write test results to the directory it's launched from, finds that the CD-R is of course read-only, and quits. I checked for a more recent version but this is apparently as good as it gets from Maxtor.

What do you guys use? These days there's no excuse for relying on a (writable) boot floppy. Frankly, there's no reason manufacturers can't do the test from within Windows -- modern mobo BIOS flash tools do, and they're way more error prone.

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Wow that's kind of weird, I currently have 12 Maxtor internal drives and 2 external drives for many years now and none of them show any sign of problems.... yet. When I had bought 2 IBM/Hitachi drives and 1 IBM notebook drive, they all died within a year. I'll personally never buy any drive from IBM/Hitachi ever again.

Edited by Mike1337

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The latest powermax does the same thing? That's pathetic (shame on Maxtor). I used SeaTools from Seagate, but of course I have a Seagate drive, would SeaTools work with a none-Seagate drive? I find it to be a good utility, easy to use. Reason it can't do it from in windows is because it can't do some tests in windows. Even if you try to do chkdsk /f it will tell you you need to restart :)

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my d540x 40GB (27 nov 2001) still very healthy in my pc. You use D540x in an array 24/7, and can be consider pretty reliable since its you first failure after 4 yrs.

so i guess old floppy still have some use here. disappointed that powermax have problems with cds.

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I never said the D540X was a bad drive. I have nearly 20 Maxtors just at home.

Reason it can't do it from in windows is because it can't do some tests in windows.

Nonsense. If you're running as an admin, there are APIs to dismount a drive and access raw sectors. IOMeter does this, for instance.

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I never said the D540X was a bad drive. I have nearly 20 Maxtors just at home.
Reason it can't do it from in windows is because it can't do some tests in windows.

Nonsense. If you're running as an admin, there are APIs to dismount a drive and access raw sectors. IOMeter does this, for instance.

What you are overlooking is that certain tests may conflict with kernel procedures.

Faulty memory may just as well interfere with software running under Windows,

whereas that chance is way smaller using a dos utility.

A corrupt Windows installation, or a virus-infected one, will hinder diagnostics.

There's lots of reasons why a dos version is better.

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The one from the manufacturer that manufactured your drive. Other manufacturers' utilities cannot give you "technical resource codes" or whatever they like to call them.

Is it needs to be done in Windows, use SMART monitoring utility in combination with "CHKDSK /V /R". Zero-filling a drive can be done with AIDA32 linear write benchmark (as a sideproduct, you'll get a STR write graph).

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Ok, fair enough. Can you recommend one?

The best low-level hard disk test today is without a doubt Spinrite 6.0. Runs off a floppy or a CD too. Of course it isn't free. www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

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Ok, fair enough. Can you recommend one?

The best low-level hard disk test today is without a doubt Spinrite 6.0. Runs off a floppy or a CD too. Of course it isn't free. www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

That's a great tool.

The Ultimate BootCD is a very nice (free) diagnostics cd that holds *dozens* of handy tools.

Very handy in case of trouble. Like now :/

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PowerMax doesn't run off of a CD?

News to me...

Yes it does.

The link i posted holds the Maxtor ISO - a bootable cd with PowerMax on it..

Cool they offer it and save lots of people the time and effort of having to create it imho.

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Ok, I read the topic and I wonder why the person doesn't boot from CD and extract the utility into a small RAM drive and run it from there since it'd have somewhere to write it's results and wouldn't complain. Seems simple enough to accomplish.

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I may do that. But it still requires a FDD in order to debug your config.sys / autoexec.bat (it's been ages since I've mucked with such things; I'm sure I won't get the ramdrive driver loading correct on the first try)...you certainly can't use Maxtor's ISO.

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I may do that. But it still requires a FDD in order to debug your config.sys / autoexec.bat (it's been ages since I've mucked with such things; I'm sure I won't get the ramdrive driver loading correct on the first try)...you certainly can't use Maxtor's ISO.

okay - i overlooked your statement about you having tried the Maxtor ISO.

You may want to try the link i posted for the Ultimate BootCD - it also has incorporated

Maxtor PowerMax.

Maybe they got it working - i cannot find problems in the "Frequently asked questions", "Unsolved problems" nor in the "known bugs" sections with PowerMax.

Instead of using a floppy you may want to play with booting off an USB stick if you have one.

Alternatively, you can download the Universal TCP/IP Network Bootdisk - if you create a bootable cd using this, and burn PowerMax to the cd also it creates a ramdrive. Load the cdrom drivers during boot using the built-in menu and you can copy PowerMax to the ramdrive and see if it will run properly.

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MHDD is by far the best independent low-level diagnostic that I have encountered.

Get it here:

http://hddguru.com/content/en/software/2005.10.02-MHDD/

Freeware of course. Make sure you check out Q10 in the FAQ.

I've used it for nearly 6 months at the RMA department at Swedens third largest internet computer reseller with much success. We put about 5-20 drives daily thru the manufacturers program and MHDD before we make our decision to either ship it back to the customer or to the manufacturer.

Btw, we've Spinrite 6.0 as well. It's a pretty versatile diagnostic but it feels a little bit too much sometimes.

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