hdparm has now been updated to version 8.1,
and includes some significant new features of
potential interest to Linux kernel storage hackers:

The new --make-bad-sector flag can be used to deliberately
corrupt a sector on the media (creating a media error situation).
This can be very handy for testing error recovery strategies
and timeouts for devices and RAIDs.

It uses the new ATA WRITE_UNC_EXT command (designed for the purpose)
when the drive supports it, otherwise it will try and fall back on
the older WRITE_LONG command (which is limited to LBA28).

The manpage has more information on this option.

There is also a new --write-sector (aka. --repair-sector) flag
to *fix* a bad sector.  This can be used later to undo the bad
sectors created by the --make-bad-sector flag.

The new --read-sector flag can be used to test a sector
for media errors.  I generally use the following sequence here:

  hdparm --make-bad-sector nnnnnnnn /dev/sdb  ## corrup a sector
  hdparm --read-sector nnnnnnnn /dev/sdb    ## verify that it is now bad

  test my device driver etc..

  hdparm --repair-sector nnnnnnn /dev/sdb  ## fix the bad sector
  hdparm --read-sector nnnnnnn /dev/sdb  ## verify that it is now fixed

hdparm also now has a new -N flag for dealing with Host-Protected-Areas (HPA),
and other, more minor, fixes and enhancements.

hdparm-8.1 is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/hdparm/

Thanks to Bruce Allen for supplying me with test drives
which implement the new WRITE_UNC_EXT command.


Mark Lord
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