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PCNet File Catch - SpinRite 6.0

 


In my last 30 years in computing I've met very few programmers that I consider to be genius at it. Specifically I can recall four. Oh, that's not to say there aren't a lot of really great ones out there, but these are the guys I ran into. What do I consider the mark of a great programmer; someone that can take a general idea and turn it into tight code and if it's just a quick and dirty program, do so in a manner of hours. Secondly they write truly elegant code; I can brute force something in 400 lines and they could do the same function in 10 lines.  Thirdly they're good in multiple languages which includes assembler. If you've never coded assembler believe me, you need a GREAT mind to do it. Finally they have a built in sense of what a good user interface should be. Because I share none of these traits yet still have an appreciation of what's involved to get there I greatly admire the talents of these folks.

Among the four includes Steve Gibson. He's written a slew of great programs; ShieldsUp,  Shoot the Messenger, UnPlug 'n Play and DCOMbobulator. He's written columns and a collection of same titled "A Passion for Excellence". I think that the title of his collection describes Steve perfectly. Oh, I've disagreed with him on some issues but I always, always respect his position and frankly I suspect that if we debated our differences he'd win. Out of respect for my ego I don't debate Steve.

By far Steve's magnum opus is SpinRite, which I've been using for so many years I can't recall when I first started using it. What is SpinRite? First it incorporates Steve's theory that it's not if a hard drive will fail, it's when. Second it includes his coding and third it'll likely save your hard drive's bacon.

SpinRite, which is distributed as a single 170Kb file (yes, that's right, 170Kb which shows you what writing code in assembler can get you; tight code) gets "down to the bare metal" of a hard drive and verifies and tests the physical magnetic media and warn you (as well as fix) of impending problems BEFORE they happen. If you have lost data SpinRite may be able to do CPR on the damaged media and bring the data back to life. Other features, such as drive benchmarking, are icing on the cake.

SpinRite is totally non-destructive nor does it care about your operating system; it boots from a floppy it creates so it'll handle just about any disk format including NTFS.

SpinRite, along with Steve's other (free) programs, is available for $89 from the SpinRite web site. Upgrades for users of previous versions, and I do strongly recommend the upgrade to version 6, are available at a discount from the full price.

Of a couple of tools you'll want in your fight against the evil forces of computers you'll want SpinRite on your side. Don't compute without it.  -- Don Watkins

 

 

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