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Help with Harddrive Partition

Posted on 1997-10-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
There's two parts to this question. First some background, I have a 2.0 gigabyte harddrive that I originally had whole, then after some windows problems, I formatted the harddrive and partitioned it using Fdisk. I basically split the disk in half. Now, the main partition is ok, but the extended partition is developing bad sectors. So my question is, is there a wrong way to partition a drive? Is that the cause of my bad sectors? And if so, what's the correct way?

Thanks

Mike
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Question by:palomino
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q721kjh earned 50 total points
ID: 1751113
It is very unlikely that you performed your partitioning wrong.  However, you should format each partition separately, after they are partitioned.

You should also run a program like Scandisk, or a more robust program like would be found in Norton Utilities, to do a thorough read/write surface test, and mark any bad sectors found as bad, before you put data on them (and find them the hard way.)  These programs will let you do this when data is already on the drive, so you can still do this.

The procedure is, more or less:

1) Provide BIOS with parameters for the drive itself.
2) FDISK the drive to create the desired partitions.
3) Format each partition.
4) Run software to perform a surface test, and mark bad sectors.
5) Install the OS.

There may be additional steps, depending on the drive.

I have spoken to salespeople at Frys Electronics here in town, who see a lot of big hard disks pass out (and back in) their doors.  They report that you should stick with the name brands (ie Western Digital).  The off brands are cheaper, but you get what you pay for lower reliability (bad sectors, etc.)  Though, this is not necessarily the reason you are seeing bad sectors.

Good luck!
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by:palomino
ID: 1751114
Really, you can't flub up partitioning to produce bad sectors, since partitioning only defines starting and ending points for each partition on your hard disk.

A poorly formatted drive may cause a problem, but you really can't format it any differently from the manufacturer.  Although, one could argue that if you formatted it (or wrote data to it) right after you brought it out of a freezer, thermal expansion could cause the alignment of the tracks on the disk, and the heads, to be off at operating temperature, though I have never heard of this.

It sounds like you created the second partition but did not reformat either partition afterwards.  This is unlikely but may also part of the problem.  There is special partition splitting software (not fdisk).  If you used fdisk to split your partition, trying to retain the old data in each partition without formatting, then you are asking for trouble.  You have to be sure that when you "cut" the disk, all the files that you used to access and plan to continue to access in the first half must be originally located in that section of the disk.  Any files (or pieces of files) that were in the second half will be corrupted or lost.  Fdisk does not move these files around for you.  It is a very dangerous program to use, unless you reformat everything afterwards.  But you probably did reformat after partitioning, and reinstalled your data from backups.  There are programs which will let you split a drive, and they always tell you to defragment your disk beforehand.  With windows 95 this may not be enough; the point of the defrag was to move all the data to the lower half of the drive so that none gets lost, and I've seen the '95 defrag leave data in the upper part of the drive.  Regardless, these programs warn you to back up your data in case of problems, so that if the worst happens, you can reformat each partition and reinstall your data in the first partition.

You might call around your local computer shops, find salespeople who have been around a while, and ask them what the problem history is on your model of drive.  It is quite possible you simply have a bad drive.
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by:q721kjh
ID: 1751115
Hmm I did format each partition separately, full format, no quickies, so it looks like I have a dud Harrdrive, good thing I caught this in time (warranty expires in a month)

Personally, I didn't think that Fdisk could cause bad sectors, but since I rarely even partition drives I really wasn't sure.  I could say for sure that I didn't have my drive in any hot/cold places, it's never moved from my tower. I'm going to contact my vendor ASAP.

Mike
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