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Checks HDD for bad sectors, just like scandisk or chkdisk under some other operating system ;-).
WARNING!!! ALL DATA WILL BE LOST!!!
This command should ONLY be run on drives that are meant to be wiped. Data destruction will result from running this command with the '-w' switch. You may run this command with the '-n' switch in place of '-w' if you want to retain all data on the drive, however, the test won't be as detailed, since the '-n' switch provides a non-destructive read-write mode only, whereas '-w' switch actually writes patterns while scanning for bad blocks.
THIS COMMAND IS DESTRUCTIVE. That said, lets assume you want to render your boot drive unbootable and reboot your machine. Maybe you want it to boot off the network and kickstart from a boot server for a fresh OS install. Replace /dev/fd0 with the device name of your boot drive and this DESTRUCTIVE command will render your drive unbootable. Your BIOS boot priority should be set to boot from HD first, then LAN.