Bad Sectors on HDD

June 16, 2008 at 07:17:56
Specs: Windows XP, 2.8ghz/512mb
I was told from a technician if i got bad sectors on my Hard drive that its time to buy a new Hard Drive. But i read on some posts in here, they seem to say you can fix bad sectors.

So what should i do?

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June 16, 2008 at 07:38:38
What the technician said is right.
Bad sectors are caused by physical flaws on the disks (platters) inside the drive.
No hard drive is 100% free of flaws, but they have automatic routines that find them and new good sector locations are assigned from a reserved small percentage of the data storage area not normally visible to you - you do not normally find any bad sectors at all because of that. If bad sectors are found by software in Windows, that means the whole reserved amount has been used up and bad sectors can no longer be replaced by good ones and bad sectors are therefore found and are visible tro software that can test for them. The chances are 95% or more the situation will only get worse with time - whether it's slowly or quickly is random - if you are seeing more of them in a short time, you don't have much time.

If you have data that is valuable to you, retrieve it and copy it, or back it up, to someplace else, while you still can, and get yourself another hard drive - they're cheaper than they're ever been.

In your case, if you want to be able to use the original brand name supplied software installed on the orginal hard drive, if you have not already made a set of Recovery CDs, if your model is recent enough you may be able to order that set from the brand name web site for your exact model for a reasonable fee.
If you don't have or can no longer get that Recovery CD set, there are other things you need to have and do to set up the new hard drive and Windows.

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June 16, 2008 at 07:56:38
ok thx for clearing that up for me.

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June 16, 2008 at 12:02:33
Occasionally, for whatever reason, sectors get marked bad that are really OK. The dos command format/c X: (where X: is the drive letter) will test sectors marked bad as it formats the drive.

A low level format will wipe the bad sector table and can sometimes give a fresh start. But you need to be careful when doing that. Most LLF programs are designed for older drives or specific drive models. So although it can usually be done it's not always a good idea.

I know norton utilities had, and maybe still has, a disk editing program that allowed you to manually mark or unmark bad sectors.

But almost always bad sectors are due to physically bad areas on the hard drive platters and there is no cure.

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June 16, 2008 at 14:15:12
You might be able to fix bad sectors. What you normally do is do a low level format. And then re-test. Bad sectors can happen for various reasons not all because of damage..

For what it is worth, you might consider a backup plan and one that includes hard drive failure just in case.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, are in my top 10

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June 16, 2008 at 15:29:41
I think best solution for me is to buy a new HD, computer is 5 years old. I scanned the HD after it starting randomly rebootin. Thought i fixed it by disabling a couple programs on startup. But after doing sp3 updates for windows xp, it reboots again, this time during bootup process. This is when i decided to do a surface scan using a himen boot cd. And it found 2 B bad sectors on the HD. Most likely i think the updates installed on the bad sector, and windows cant read from it. Reason why it keeps rebooting.

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June 17, 2008 at 09:22:31
I think you are wise to replace the drive.

Many older hard drives and most newer ones have only a 3 year warranty.
Seagate has seen fit, since about 2 years ago, to extend that to 5 years for most of their hard drives, and a few other makers have some models with that too.

There are all sorts of reasons for rebooting. Some are caused by software problems, some by hardware problems (e.g. most often a faulty power supply, or overheating of some sort).
But you should not be finding bad sectors.
If the boot cd program found some, hard drive diagnostics will probably find more than that because their tests are more thorough.

What DAVEINCAPS mentioned can happen if you copy a whole partition that has actual bad sectors to a destination that does not - the table that keeps track of where bad sectors are within the partition is copied as well - in that case the bad sectors are falsely marked. That is very difficult to fix in XP and below without deleting the partition, but can be fixed in Vista.
However, you won't have problems with the data on that destination because of bad sectors, because they are not there.

What jefro mentions is only of use if you have only one or only a few bad sectors, and more do not appear over a reasonably long amount of time - otherwise it's inevitable the drive will fail, and a waste of time.

Most hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics will quit testing if more than a certain number, e.g. 100, bad sectors are found, or if SMART has been tripped with certain errors, because that indicates the drive is definately dying.

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