Robert_Charlton - 3:28 am on Oct 6, 2010 (gmt 0)
Is trusty, but old, chkdsk/f good enough?
In my experience, you can have serious errors on your hard drive that chkdsk won't see.
In addition to backing up my data to an extra drive on my machine, I clone my main drive to a set of external drives... and Acronis (which I use for cloning) was reporting regularly that it couldn't read certain sectors on the main drive. The situation got worse over time, but chkdsk continued to report the sectors as OK.
I finally downloaded the manufacturer's diagnostic tool, which also gave the drive a passing grade, but it did report "weaknesses" where Acronis was having trouble. I got rid of the drive for other reasons, and, fortunately, the bad sectors were in an area where there was no data, so I was able to substitute one of my clones with no problems since. I have lost all trust in chkdsk as a result, though. It gave no indication of any problem at all.
I'd like to know more about SpinRite. I was considering it at the time, but ended up not needing it, at least not then. I don't know whether it would be a luxury to have it hanging around just for an emergency or not.
Way back, in the FAT days, I used to run Norton Utilities and Norton Disk Doctor regularly for disk maintenance, but that was pre-Symantec and pre-NTFS. Is there any point in any regular kind of disk/file maintenance, aside from defragging, with NTFS?