How to fix & repair Bad Sector on very old PC

Microsoft / Windows me
November 29, 2010 at 11:38:53
Specs: Nothing, Pentium II - 64MB RAM

I have a very old laptop (HP Omni Book 4150) and it has no Floppy, No CD-Drive, No LAN port, nothing at all. It's PII with 64MB RAM and 4.5GB HDD.

I'm connecting the HDD to my PC using a mobile HD enclosure with USB connection.

The HDD has bad sector. I failed to install anything you could ever imagine. I tried every possible OS that could come to your mind, and I mean anything and everything but I failed. First, I didn't know it has bad sectors then with some commands and tests, I found out it stops working or responding when the scan reaches certain sector.

Anyway, that's just an introduction.

I was wondering if there's any software/tool to FIX and REPAIR Bad Sectors?
I'm sure there are some but I couldn't find any or let's say I'm not sure what's the right tool that I could use?

That HDD is empty and has nothing. I can't even install DOS so I connected my Internal HDD which has Windows XP. I guess my job will be much easier when I'm dealing with that HDD from Windows rather than trying to fix it while there's no OS installed on it anyway.

Please, don't tell me forget it or throw it away. I don't throw stuff that could be repaired.

Thank you :)

See More: How to fix & repair Bad Sector on very old PC

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 12:08:11
There is no way your XP hard drive will work if you try to transplant it into that laptop.
As for repairing bad sectors, there is only one possibility. Each hard drive comes with a certain amount of space reserved to replace bad sectors. If the bad sectors that have developed exceed the available replacements it is bricked. A diagnostic program available for download from the disk manufacturer will tell you if the disk can be salvaged.

Goin' Fishin' (Some day)

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 12:13:18
Do u plan to use 4.5gb hdd?

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 12:18:08

I'd start with a "chkdsk/R

Report •

Related Solutions

November 29, 2010 at 12:20:57
That laptop and its hard drive has a very long story with me for the last month. You have no idea what I've tried to do and what happened. I really can't explain that now.

ALL what I need is a tool to detect, fix and repair bad sector.

I just formatted again under Windows XP and run disk check from Properties > Tools and it didn't say anything.
I'm sure it has bad sector but the problem is, I have no idea how to fix that?

I've been very far from such tools. I used to know some stuff but that's history now.

After one month with that laptop, I don't mind to use even 1GB of that HDD. Problem is, the bad sectors are not in the beginning or the end, they are every where.

Bottom line:
I want to fix it and install ANY OS doesn't matter whether it's DOS or anything else.
It had XP installed before but I got rid of it because it was so much slow and NO, it's not me who installed XP on that laptop :) that laptop belongs to a friend and he gave it to me.

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 12:22:12
chkdsk/R shows no problems which is very weird.

Is there any other methods???

Yes, I'm trying to look for some tools on IBM website as that HDD is IBM.

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 12:43:51
Okay, I guess you guys need some history to understand where I came from.
There you go:

A) While I was trying to check the HDD for errors using Linux Commands (e2fsck -c /dev/sda1), I got lots of errors in different blocks.
I tried more than 10 Distributions (Linux) and ALL failed to bootup. Always was able to install but once I reboot after re-installation, nothing happened. I thought it's me or something else is wrong but after doing (e2fsck -c) I found out that HDD has BAD BLOCK.

B) I tried then with an Old Windows Me CD. I formatted the HDD and create one Primary Partition (FAT32) and ran SCANDISK.
While I was doing the surface test, the test ALWAYS STOPS responding when it reaches 24%. I did everything possible but there's no way to go beyond that.

I realized that HDD has bad sectors/blocks and there's no way to install any OS on it.

I'm trying to fix these bad sectors. If that's not possible, then I have to find out which blocks are healthy and fine so that I could use them to install something like MS-DOS, FreeDOS or anything else that could possibly work.

Thank you!

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 12:46:04
At this point i don't think software can solve the problem. Even if u manage to install os, the drive will die soon.

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 13:00:26
Once bad block are marked in MS the drive has to have a low level format done to at least attempt to fix it.

Not worth the effort. Just keep using it. Only a some virus's would keep marking blocks bad.

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 13:38:02
kuwese, It might die soon but I want to use it until that time :)
I can't use it now because it has no OS.

jefro, I need to fix it so that I could install any OS.

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 21:07:37
I would use drive diagnostics and do a a thorough disk test followed by a low level format, Then partition and format followed by chkdsk. If there a lot of bad sectors at the beginning of the drive set the boot partition starting at the first clear area.

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 21:20:27
wizard_fred, thanks for your reply ... but that Drive Diagnostics is the name of the tool that I'm supposed to use? or it's just a general name? I tried to find a tool yesterday but honestly I couldn't. Not sure where to start looking :(

Actually the first 50-60MB is clean. Not sure about the first 100MB. While on Surface Scan (SCANDISK), it stopped responding at 24%. I guess that means the first 1024MB is clean but I don't have the right tool to check that. SCANDISK stopped at 24% and "e2fsck -c /dev/sda1" showed lots of errors in different blocks.
I really hope the first 1GB is clean and healthy.

Report •

November 29, 2010 at 23:19:39
There is no fix if the bad spot is actual physical damage to the drive. Using FORMAT or CHKDSK the OS marks that area as bad and doesn't use it. However, for whatever reason, sometimes spots get marked as bad that really aren't. Running an LLF wipes the bad sector table and allows the OS to rebuild it. We're not talking about a factory LLF but yet something more than just a zero-fill.

I suggest you attach the drive directly to an IDE port via a 2.5"/3.5" adapter and not go through USB as the following is a DOS approach.

Google MAXLLF and find a download. It's a low level formating program from Maxtor and not really designed for drives that size but I've used it on them and it doesn't seem to do any damage.

Best to boot with a 98 bootdisk and run it from the dos prompt. Choose the LBA option and not C/H/S.

After it's done, reboot and partition with FDISK. Choose to use the entire space as a single partition. When it's done, reboot again and FORMAT. Formatting should mark all the bad spots.

If it hangs again at 24% or whatever, you have two choices. Either repartition using only 23% and use the drive as a 1.1 gig or throw it out.

Well, FDISK is kind of a really basic partitioning program. With something like Partition Magic you may be able to partition around the bad area but I've never tried it.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

Report •

November 30, 2010 at 07:56:25

Report •

November 30, 2010 at 09:03:10
DAVEINCAPS, thanks for the detailed answer.

In a matter of fact, I'm looking for Windows approach to format that HDD. If I have to buy that adapter, I have to travel 150Km to another city as I don't live in a major city.

I was searching in Google and I found this:

Was wondering if it's familiar to you or anyone else?
If not, any recommendation?

By the way, I've done "dd=/dev/zero" command under Linux and apparently the problem is not solved. In the same time, Windows does seem to find any problem with that HDD.

Report •

November 30, 2010 at 14:32:33
Okay, guess what? has fixed the problem :D WOW.
Nothing is wrong with the HDD now. I formatted it twice and I checked it twice and it's perfectly fine.


The laptop is up and running ... I installed Linux Mint just for the sake of testing. I know it will be dead slow but I wanted to overload the laptop and the hard drive to make sure it won't fail.

THANK YOU everyone :D

Report •

November 30, 2010 at 17:05:07
Glad you got it fixed. Thanks for posting back with the solution.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

Report •

November 30, 2010 at 22:49:09
DAVEINCAPS, thanks a lot and your post gave me a good motivation :)
Actually, every time I face a problem, I feel like throwing that laptop away but in the same time and after 5 mins, I feel more than before that I have t fix it :)

See you soon guys :)

Report •

Ask Question