harddrives with bad clusters

July 6, 2005 at 20:01:59
Specs: win3.1, 75/8

the harddrive in the laptop has bad clusters and seems to be slow at times and lock up

i wonder if i should have divided the drive in two and tried to get the bad clusters on drive d

would it have made a difference?

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July 6, 2005 at 22:36:00

The drive is toast, bad clusters mean a failing hard drive...............and no you can not decide what partition you want the bad clusters on......................

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July 7, 2005 at 01:54:20

I disagree. Although it is not the best solution. Partitioning a drive so that bad clusters are not used seems to me to be a reasonable fix provided you under the possible increased risk. And yes you can place the bad clusters in a partition of your choice. The only time you can't do it is if the bad cluster occurs in the master boot record. To do it you need to understand the disk drive geometry and the file allocation method of the OS you will be using.

First you have to find the bad clusters. Using scandisk or whatever utility you will have to locate the bad cluster(s). Then using fdisk or a partition utility create good partitions above and below the bad spot. You would also create a partition centered over the bad area. I use a minimum of 10 MB above and below the damaged area. I set this partition hidden so that it does not affect the drive letters. Format and test the 'good' areas and if they pass with no errors consider the job done.

Caveat: Doing this procedure is not without risk. Don't store valuable data. Backup frequently. I have a drive that is still running after 4 years with a 12 MB mapped out. I have also done a MFM drive by changing the number of heads.

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July 7, 2005 at 04:31:31

I have to agree with Fred as I have done the same,the drive may be having a problem but with a little work you can keep it running and as far as a track record I have an old 1 gig drive with 2 bad spots on it that I have had kicking around for 5 years or more now, I wont trust it to keep critical data but use it a lot to trouble shoot sytems here.
Wizard-fred you are showing your age there with a mention of MFM.....Did you ever get around a Perstor Controller back in the good ol'day?

Keep the old stuff running

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July 7, 2005 at 09:05:35

Never personally used the Perstor Controller, but had a friend who had it with (I think) a ST1000 drive on a 386/486? with 386ToTheMax and PcKwik utilities.

Re: The MFM was a ST-225 which I changed in the controller BIOS to a ST-212 to disable the heads on one platter. I may still have the drive because the customer gave the system back because of water damage from a fire. Was running up to 2000 on a Multitech computer driving a Dictaphone/Ricoh Daisywheel printer. The original Dictaphone computer was a dedicated Z80 word processor with dual quad-density 5 1/4 floppy running CP/M. Bonus points if you know the successor to Multitech.

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July 7, 2005 at 11:42:14

Over into the corner for me, I did however once have a Z-80 what a Brute, DUAL 5 1/4 drives single sided soft sectored...
Perstor story to follow:
Take (1) ST-240 massage that with a WD controller tell the controller its a ST-277r plug in the perstor, format that out to about 150m then threw STACKER on top of it, grand total at the end of the day 300m .....
Know of anybody looking for an ONYX, over at a friends house right now gathering dust, we did plug it in for old time sake about a year ago and is still able to "pull up its boot straps"......Later

Keep the old stuff running

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July 8, 2005 at 08:34:35

The old days. Trying to squeeze everything out of the hardware. I still have a Z80 - Xerox 820 dual 8" floppies, addon 10 MB hard drive ($1100 for the hard drive subsystem). Started a little earlier with S-100 bus system.
Answer to the question. Multitech the modem company force the change of name of Multitech the computer company to become Acer.

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July 8, 2005 at 14:48:42

And yes, of course you can, furthermore, as long as you watch the running info that a dos format displays, you can find out almost exactly where on the drive the bad clusters are , and partition right up to there- however, although you can't actually format the bad area, you can make a partition that encompasses it, and then a third for the rest of the drive.
When dos formats, it starts in, i think, the center of the drive, and goes to the outer edges..a little simple math will help..the format will stop with an error message at the bad clusters, so count how many sectors it's done up to there and partition up to there (eg. a purely hypothetical drive,if it stops at 8000 on a disk with 16000, then partition the first 49% ....fdisk the bad clusters, and then the rest..fdsk organizes partitions from the center out also...
I have done this myself once, succesfully....

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July 15, 2005 at 12:45:53

Run DBAN (Darik's boot and nuke) to completly romove everything from the hard disk and then use fdisk / format as usual.
This worked for me.

DBAN can be downloaded free from

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