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View Full Version : How reliable is SMART data in your experience?


16k_zx81
04-07-2011, 07:06 AM
I have a HDD that came out of a machine - its not reading well - some of the data Ive managed to get off - and some of the data is not coming off (transfer stalls on some files).

Tried to clone it. No luck. (machine... havent tried ShadowProtect yet).

I have it running on rawcopy, but its 0.35% completed with remaining time est @ 5000 hours.

Soooo thats probably not going to get a result in anything approaching a reasonable timeframe.

What I would like to do is put it through Spinrite. Im pretty sure this will get the disk readable, but spinrite is not exactly gentle on hard disks, and so I am hesitant, in case it borks the drive.

Crystaldskinfo says everything on the disk itself is peachy. Should I trust this?

What course of action would you take?

Martyn
04-07-2011, 07:13 AM
I have a HDD that came out of a machine - its not reading - some of the data Ive managed to get off - and some of the data is not coming off (transfer stalls on some files).

Tried to clone it. No luck. (machine... havent tried ShadowProtect yet).

I have it running on rawcopy, but its 0.35% completed with remaining time est @ 5000 hours.

Soooo thats probably not going to get a result in anything approaching a reasonable timeframe.

So, what I would like to do is put it through Spinrite. Im pretty sure this will get the disk readable, but spinrite is not exactly gentle on hard disks, and so I am hesitant, in case it borks the drive.

Crystaldskinfo says everything on the disk itself is peachy. Should I trust this?

What course of action would you take?

I had one a while ago that wasn't readable. I connected up to my bench machine and cloned the drive with Getdataback ntfs. Once I had the image I worked on that and for the first 6 hrs it only got through 10% of the image with constant errors. All of a sudden it did the next 90% of the image in less than 2 hours. End result was I recovered 100% of the data required in the 90% I recovered. That is what I would do from now on based on that.

MobileTechie
04-07-2011, 08:23 AM
SMART isn't terribly reliable by all accounts. You can tell this already since if the drive really was peachy then it wouldn't be behaving like this.

I'd try some other cloning apps with the capability to ignore bad sectors and see how you get on. Paragon, Acronis, CloneZilla or dd all can do this. For really tricky drives then ddrescue or Media Tools Pro will do "reverse cloning" which can help.

As Martyn pointed out, the "hours left" think isn't always accurate. It's based on what has happened so far in the process. If the dodgy sectors are at the start then it will massively inflate the predicted time to complete.

I had a "sticky" drive the other day. it wouldn't clone and wouldn't allow copying over. None of the normal cloning apps worked because the errors weren't bad sectors to ignore, it was something else and they just either hung indefinitely or errored out with unknow errors. What solved this was to try Unstoppable Copier and Autobackup4. I can't remember which one of these did it but one of them allowed me press cancel when the drive got stuck and then hung for a while and eventually asked "are you sure?". I then said "no" and it restarted and got past the sticky point and copied properly for a bit. I had to do this about 5 times and then the rest of the drive worked fine. I've no idea if your drive is the same but it might be worth a shot.

Ccomp5950
04-07-2011, 08:46 AM
Most programs don't implment S.M.A.R.T. in a...well...smart manner.

smartctl for linux is great. If the drive has generated errors those errors are kept and shown, I've used hdtune and many others and don't have that functionality.

I can also start a smart test (long and short) from it which tells me much more than the attributes.

But the first thing you should do if a drive is failing is image it like martyn said.

codegreen
04-07-2011, 05:11 PM
Have you tried ddrescue (http://www.gnu.org/software/ddrescue/ddrescue.html) yet? For a drive that's having read issues, I run it in two passes. The first one just skips any sector it can't read and moves on to the next (be sure to use a log file!). After that, I run it again to retry each bad sector.

Xander
04-07-2011, 06:33 PM
Anybody ever found CrystalDisk to be wrong when it says a disk is bad? I know the SMART chips themselves can fail and provide bad info but let's assume that one's rare.

ajc196
04-07-2011, 06:40 PM
It's hit or miss at best, for me.

In a couple of Dell desktops, clients have gotten messages right after POST that the SMART had tripped, and they got it to me quick enough so I could clone the drive to a new one (or image it and wait on a warranty replacement).

Some systems will have bad hard drives from too many bad sectors/mechanical issues, but the SMART data and the health % value given by HDInspector based on the SMART data will still be around 99-100%.

So yea, hit or miss.

16k_zx81
04-07-2011, 08:40 PM
I had a "sticky" drive the other day. it wouldn't clone and wouldn't allow copying over. None of the normal cloning apps worked because the errors weren't bad sectors to ignore, it was something else and they just either hung indefinitely or errored out with unknow errors. What solved this was to try Unstoppable Copier

Thanks! I put Unstoppable copier on there and it got most of the stuff off. (at this point rawcopy was up to ETA of 10,000 hours (I kid you not). USC got it off overnight - no hangs, no hassles. Great tip! I would not have thought to use it :)

Jimmy G
04-07-2011, 09:33 PM
I had one a while ago that wasn't readable. I connected up to my bench machine and cloned the drive with Getdataback ntfs. Once I had the image I worked on that and for the first 6 hrs it only got through 10% of the image with constant errors. All of a sudden it did the next 90% of the image in less than 2 hours. End result was I recovered 100% of the data required in the 90% I recovered. That is what I would do from now on based on that.


GetDataBack is legendary.This is one of the best data recovery applications I've ever used.I and my co-worker technicians have used this applications to rescue data from hundreds of hard drives.

Buy it and use it.I swear.

Jimmy G

Jimmy G
04-07-2011, 09:37 PM
Thanks! I put Unstoppable copier on there and it got most of the stuff off. (at this point rawcopy was up to ETA of 10,000 hours (I kid you not). USC got it off overnight - no hangs, no hassles. Great tip! I would not have thought to use it :)


This is another worthy piece of software for data recovery. I started using it when I found that Windows copy would crap out for one reason and another and abort the entire copy because of one file.

unstoppable can be configured to skip damaged files or get them last. It will copy or move the files.create a log file,create a script to copy multiple folders ot multiple locations.. can't go wrong with this one
Jimmy G

kevinjhaag
04-07-2011, 09:46 PM
Someone beat me to it... I was going to mention Unstoppable Copier. Its worked for me in low to medium cases. Good to hear it worked for you.

16k_zx81
04-07-2011, 11:59 PM
Yep. In this case, it was, literally, the perfect solution to the problem.