SpinRite: Seek Errors

Hello ~  Running SpinRite 6.0 on laptop HDD, about 6 years old.  For years SpinRite never found ANY errors on the drive.  Now it has found 126,000 'seek errors'.  ALL OTHER ERRORS ARE 0.

Is this normal or an indication of wear for the drive?  Or is it an indication of imminent demise?

I'd appreciate additional information on this.

Best Regards, Jacob
Chi Is CurrentAsked:
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Well, if it normally finds 126,000 errors, then this would not indicate a problem. However, going from 0 to 126,000 most likely indicates a serious problem. It is a significant deviation from normal.
The drive is 6 years old, and it probably had a good life. It does sound like imminent drive failure, so I would definitely save my data.
Chi Is CurrentAuthor Commented:
Thank you, lee555J5, for your reply.  I appreciate your perspective.
Chi Is CurrentAuthor Commented:
Also found:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.

Rate of seek errors of the magnetic heads. If there is a partial failure in the mechanical positioning system, then seek errors will arise. Such a failure may be due to numerous factors, such as damage to a servo, or thermal widening of the hard disk. The raw value has different structure for different vendors and is often not meaningful as a decimal number.

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did you run the recovery mode, or the maintenance mode ?  the recovery mode "may" fix it !
but whatever you do - have a BACKUP first...

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Chi Is CurrentAuthor Commented:
nobus:  10-4 on the backup, that was first!  I'm a backup zealot (old school).  Totally covered!

I ran the recovery mode.  No bad sectors though.  Haven't run it a second time.  I will though to see how numbers change.  As I said it was ONLY seek errors, EVERYTHING else was 0 errors.

Best Regards, Jacob

since a seek is a seek to sector info - and not data - i doubt it would help, but, you never know !
the sector info is typically written at the factory once.
But maybe Gibson is smarter than we think - so try it; you won't loose anything.
Chi Is CurrentAuthor Commented:
Yes!  Subsequent scans are similar.

Today (!), Gibson Research responds:

It is not until any parameters health falls to zero that the SMART system considers the drive to be in serious trouble.

SpinRite is still woefully under-documented.  We have recently been juggling a bunch of server configuration issues, and preparing to change our eMail handling around, and accruing a list of SpinRite 6.0 next-release things to implement . . . which all happens before we finally get back to implementing our new SpinRite 6.0 pages with CSS technology.  We still have a ways to go . . . but progress is steady.

The data shown does NOT mean that the drive is in worse shape than other drives . . . it only means that this drive is "blabbing more"
about what's going on inside it, and the other drive is holding its cards close to its chest.  We prefer much less "stoic" drives that blab a lot since then we're allowed to receive some impression about what's going on under the hood.

If you had two similar drives, then you could meaningfully compare them to see which one is more solid, but there's really no way to compare different drives from different manufacturers.

Also, if the system is a desktop (not a laptop) and using IDE-based drives, the one thing you could check, is your drive cabling.  If you are not using high-quality 80-conductor IDE cables you really should be.  It matters a GREAT DEAL with IDE drives.

Contemporary hard disc drives have become SO DENSE that they now reply upon on-the-fly error correction for their "everyday"
operation.  You can see this for yourself in this video clip Steve recently made with Leo Laporte on Canadian TechTV . . .

<http://media.grc.com/sr6_with_leo.zip> (8.3 MB download)

The drive shown there was a brand new 300 Gigabyte Maxtor . . . and as you can see in the video, it was (and is) spewing out "errors"
like crazy.  This is NORMAL for all modern drives.

Since these "error corrections" are not really "errors" that a user should see, no other software than SpinRite makes these public.  (And I need to apologize for the total lack of documentation of SpinRite which would and could and should make all this totally clear.)

SpinRite shows you this private internal S.M.A.R.T. information because it's an incredibly sensitive indicator of the **RELATIVE** health of your drive.  Write down the total now, and keep an eye on it every few months.  If it ever changes quickly or sharply ...
that's a VERY good and very early indicator that things are beginning to degrade inside your drive ... if it's needing to work harder to correct the "small" errors generated by everyday operation.

We do offer a free eMail service <http://www.grcmail.com/mail.htm> to which Steve sends periodic updates and news of important events.  You can easily add, remove, or edit your "custom profile" to specify which sorts of eMail you wish to receive.

Thank you for your cooperation, time and patience.


Greg McIntyre
Gibson Research
Technical Support

Thank you for your assistance!
tx for the feedback !
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