STB Suite

August 2003

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Ask Dr. SCSI – What are some of the HDD tests included with the Toolbox?

The real Dr. SCSIQ. What are some of the HDD tests included with the Toolbox?

A. There are way too many disk tests to go over them all but I will go over some of the commonly used tests. Complete list of tests.

Confidence Tests


Test 1 – Quickly tests all of the functions that a drive will encounter in a real-world application – (data write/read, random seeks, spin up and down);

Test 2 – Tests that every block on the drive can be written and read without using error correction by using hard-to-correct data patterns and not allowing the drive to do any error correction. Specified by Fujitsu.


Test 1 – A quick test (a few minutes) that will expose power or sticktion problems, as well as data and track-following problems. If this test exposes problems the Random Write/Read test should be long for a longer period of time.

Test 2 – A long test (writes and reads the entire drive twice) to insure that error correction is not needed to write/read any block of the drive.


Test 1 – Integrators, Field Service – gives a quick test of all real-world functions.

Test 2 – Integrators in the A/V / real-time markets or markets where data reliability warrants a long-running test.

Zone Test

Function: This test identifies where the zone boundaries of the drive are, and allows a test to be run in each of the zones. Each identified zone can be chosen to be included in the test, and you can define what percentage of each zone will be tested. Tests are sequential, and can be read, write/read, write/verify, or verify.

Purpose: Seagate defines a zone boundary as the LBA where the drive switches from one head to another. Testing a small percentage (15%) of all zones makes sure that all head/preamp paths are checked, and generally gives the same results as testing the entire drive.

Audience: Integrators or field service working with Seagate drives.

Quick Drive Profile

Function: This is a combination of information display and test. As a test, a read transfer rate test and an optional write transfer rate test similar to the blocking factor tests will be run, along with a random seek rate test. The results of these tests will be displayed and can be printed or sent to a file as either an ASCII text file or as an Excel spreadsheet file.

The information display will show the cumulative results of any disk testing that has been run up to that point. Information displayed is average and high read and write data transfer rates, blocking factor transfer rates, seek times, number of hard and soft errors, and the number of primary and grown defects.

Purpose: To allow a quick display of drive performance data, and to allow that data to be formatted for an Excel spreadsheet so that different drives may be compared.

Audience: Integrators choosing among several disk drives or manufacturers, manufacturers doing competitive product analysis.

Disk Screening

The Drive Screening test will scan all SCSI and FibreChannel busses in your system, and will identify all disk drives that are connected. Once all disks are discovered the INQUIRY data, drive serial number, capacity, and number of defects is displayed.

When the test is started, the SCSI VERIFY command is sent to all blocks on all drives. The test will fail on two conditions:

If the VERIFY command fails, the test fails that drive. All other drives remain testing.

If the number of grown defects increases to a value of 1 or more, the test fails that drive. All other drives remain testing.

The test will continue until the percentage specified in the Percentage of Drive to Test field has been tested.

At the conclusion of the test, the results may be saved to a file by clicking the Results->File button.

For an example click here:


Did you know?View Sense

That if you are a real SCSI guru, you are in luck if something goes wrong! Any CDB that results in a CHECK CONDITION will result in SENSE DATA being returned which will describe the problem. Mere SCSI mortals are usually content with seeing the SENSE KEY, SENSE CODE, and ASQ bytes, which as all SCSItoolbox users know are either displayed on the screen or saved in the error log.

But, a SCSI guru is always seeking more knowledge. SCSItoolbox know that you want to know all, and so you are invited to go to the View Sense Data command function for enlightenment! Up to 64 bytes of SENSE DATA from the last command that failed are there for your guruish pleasure. Enjoy!

Did you know?Clearing grown defect list

that you can clear all accumulated grown defects from a disk drive? Just go to the Disk->Commands menu, and choose Data Functions->Format command. Uncheck the ‘Default Format’ check box to display all the format options. Now check the ‘DCRT (Disable Certification)’ check box, and click the ‘Start Format’ button. When the format is complete the Grown defect list will be empty.