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Disk Check Utilities

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March 18, 2008 8:17:49 AM

Hey guys, was wondering if anyone could give me some advice.

I'm looking to check the validity of disks in a server I have, but I don't want to go through the whole process of setting up the OS and everything first.

Are there any free disk checking tools (maybe a bootable linux kernel) that could just boot from a CD and do a scan on the disks, either in a RAID array or preferably on a disk by disk basis to check for bad sectors etc?

Thanks for any ideas!

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March 18, 2008 1:05:26 PM

Um, I don't think it will do a raid set, but for a full up disk scan I'd recommend Spinrite by Gibson Research over pretty much everyone else I could think of.

http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

Quick scan wouldn't take very long, non-destructive low level format with 65536 read/writes to every bit on the disk can take a very long time - but will return valid sectors that have been marked as bad to use.
a c 114 G Storage
March 18, 2008 3:16:34 PM

I agree with Mford ... Spinrite rocks....there's Spinrite on one hand and everything else on the other.

As for RAID:

There are three possible situations with different consequences for SpinRite:

A "thin" RAID controller in a striping, RAID-0 configuration:
SpinRite is able to operate upon drives behind a thin RAID-0 controller configuration without any modification. By a "thin controller" we mean a controller like an add-on Promise controller, or typical RAID controller built into a motherboard. Specifically, one that is not providing its own high-end microprocessor with megs of independent RAID caching RAM memory. Since RAID-0 does not offer the mirroring redundancy of RAID-1, SpinRite's reads and writes are spread out and "striped" between the RAID drives, but there's still a "one for one" relationship between virtual and physical sectors, so SpinRite will be able to operate without requiring the drives to be temporarily removed from the RAID configuration.

And, in fact, for SpinRite v6.0, which uses the RAID controller BIOS, RAID-0 drives can not be removed from behind the controller since one of the drives will contain a partition table describing a "virtual drive" that's larger than the actual physical drive. SpinRite will see this and refuse to proceed since it always chooses to do nothing unless it's completely certain of what's going on.

A "thin" RAID-1 mirroring controller or a high-end RAID controller with on-board caching:
In the case of a RAID-1 mirroring configuration, or where a high-end controller is providing its own isolating cache RAM, SpinRite needs to be able to operate upon the individual drives directly. SpinRite CAN be used upon the individual drives behind a RAID array if they are temporarily physically removed from the array controller and attached to a standard non-RAID controller. Since SpinRite can perform analysis, maintenance, repair and recovery on "raw" unformatted drives, it can do the same for drives formatted in any RAID fashion WITHOUT disturbing the special RAID array formatting."
March 19, 2008 8:09:43 AM

Cool, thanks a lot for the replies.

The ultimatebootdisk thing looks pretty neat and should cover what I need, but I suppose everyone should own a copy of spiinrite! I've listened to those GRC podcasts enough to justify it I think!

Cheers guys.
!