Certify disks before you use them
Manufacturers don’t test their disks, so your new disk could be faulty. SoftRAID’s Certify lets you know for sure.
Certifying is worth the wait!
Without certifying, your data is at risk
Certifying a large disk with SoftRAID can take a long time—often a day or two (or more)—but it’s worth it!
If you don’t take the time to certify a disk, you run the risk of losing all the data you put on it. After you have certified a disk, you know that it can safely and reliably store your files.
Certify more than one disk at a time
You can certify many disks at once. On Thunderbolt buses, certifying 4 – 8 disks at once takes only slightly longer than certifying a single disk.
Certify your SSDs as well as your HDDs
SoftRAID doesn’t just certify rotating drives. You can use SoftRAID’s certify feature to test new SD memory cards before you use them in your digital camera, video recorder etc. Whether it’s an SD, SDHC, or SDXC card, SoftRAID will let you know if your new card has any bad sectors on it that could put your data at risk. Remember to use at least 2 certify passes; 3 is even better.
Use certify to “revitalize” your SD cards
It’s a good idea to regularly “revitalize” or “recondition” your SD memory cards, and SoftRAID’s certify can help you do that.
SSDs that don’t use TRIM (such as all USB flash media) get slower the more they are used, because instead of actually erasing old data, flash just labels those sectors as “clean”. When you need to write to these previously used sections, data has to be erased first, slowing the process down. In addition, the more you write to an SD, the harder it is to find ‘clean’ areas to write to.
Certifying your SD card will fill the memory with zeros, essentially ‘erasing’ all the data, and making it behave like new. However, always remember that certifying will erase all the data from your drive, so be sure to back up your data first. (It’s not possible to restore data from a card that’s been certified as the data has been overwritten with zeros.)
How to test your disk without destroying the data on it
Validating SoftRAID Volumes
Safely test your volume at any time!
If you’re ever worried about the integrity of your SoftRAID volume, you can Validate it at any time. Validation ensures all the data on the volume is still readable.
During validation, SoftRAID reads every block on the volume—making sure it can be read without errors. If there is an error, the SoftRAID Monitor will warn you and will add an entry to the SoftRAID log file. The validation process will also run extra checks depending on the type of volume you have (see RAID level validation details below).
The actual validating of the volume is done by the SoftRAID driver, so you can start the validation process, quit the SoftRAID application and the validation process will keep going. You can continue to use your volume normally while the driver is validating it. You can even validate your startup volume.
While it’s validating a volume, the driver watches to see if you’re using the volume. If the driver sees that you have started to read or write files on the volume, validation briefly pauses so that your work isn’t interrupted. Whenever you’re not accessing files, validating is resumed.
When you validate a volume, the following happens:
SoftRAID will read every block on the volume to make sure it can be read without errors. If there is an error, the SoftRAID Monitor will warn you and will add an entry to the SoftRAID log file.
For RAID 4 AND 5 volumes, all the parity data is recalculated and checked against the stored information matches. If the stored parity data is not correct, it will be updated during the validation process.
For RAID 1 and 1+0 mirror volumes, the mirrored data is checked to make sure it is correct and up to date. If not, the validation process will update it.
Validating a volume is not required, but it’s a good safety measure. You can think of it like checking the pressure on your spare tire; if you get a flat you have the peace of mind that your spare is ready to go. Validation gives you the peace of mind that if any problem occurs, all the parity and mirror data is correct and up-to-date.
Testing disks with SMART2
1. RAID 4, 5 and 1+0 volumes are not supported in SoftRAID Lite.
2. SMART is a monitoring system in disk drives that SoftRAID’s Monitor uses to assess drive reliability and anticipate drive failures.
3. This features require disks which support SMART. They are not available on disks connected via USB or FireWire and may not be available if a disk is connected via some third party interface cards.