maybe that is why he has never gotten around to writing a new manual?? Personally, I never understood his mumbo jumbo and actually haven't used the program for a year or two since I could never really verify it did much.
Well, to be honest I can't rule out that it does something
more than just re-allocating bad sectors. I think his claim is that he "scrubs the sectors with magic bit-patterns to re-magnetize the surface" or something, but I fail to see how that would work - especially since a write to a bad sector triggers reallocation (but OK, perhaps it's possible to turn that feature off temporarily).
Afaik SpinRite hasn't been updated since 6.0 was released (some time during 2004?), but appearantly it's an effective cash cow. Probably helps a lot with all those positive reviews the "reputable sources" give, it's a self-enhancing mass delusion
Looks like trying the mfg's software may be the best way to go when a drive is going bad. Since we are a small public school in the USA, money is always tight.
That's what I would do. And as soon as a drive starts getting re-allocated sectors, I rescue all data and consider the drive as dead; I might use it for transferring non-critical data or as a scratchpad, but not for anything important. I've had drives work like that for years... and I've had them fail a few weeks the first re-allocated sector. Thinking that you have repaired
a drive with spinrite (or anything else) is outright dangerous.
During the summer when I usually run MemTest and reghost each student machine, I may have to add the mfg's diagnostic test to this project. Maybe it will save some headaches as the new school year progress.
It would probably be a good idea to find a S.M.A.R.T diagnostics tool that can send email reports, and have it trigger on a non-zero reallocated sector count. That'll let you visit potential troublesome machines before
things get really bad. If you have routine checks with memtest etc, it's probably not a bad idea adding a disk-vendor-tool full check, just keep in mind that the check itself does put some stress on the system.