Constand hard reboots causing HDD SMART failures

Posted on 2003-11-10
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
If you have to constantly switch off your PC because of a program failure, can this cause a HDD error such as a bad sector requiring reallocation? And if so, is there any way to prevent such occurances in the future (assuming you HAVE to use the app in question). I remember from years ago that you had to 'park' a HDD before powerdown - is this still the case?

In addition, if SMART is showing a reallocated sector count of 1, is there any way to reset this back to zero? I'm finding it difficult to get specifics on the SMART system, but I'm assuming it's some sort of flash memory within the HDD. Can FDISK (or another utility) go through the entire drive and test/reset every sector, even old reallocated ones?

My problem is this: Shutting SMART down is not possible through BIOS, as it still shows up whatever - enabled or disabled. I don't want to have a constant SMART failure at boot up if it's just one bad sector that may be recoverable through a format.

I know this is a lot for one post, and contains multiple points to answer, but they are all connected. Thanks in advance for any solutions/information you provide...
Question by:Crook_IT
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ID: 9717140

Author Comment

ID: 9717405
Yes, done that - no problems reported and no error code given despite the most insensive scan of the disk, and yet there is still a SMART predicted failure. I'm not too certain on this point but as I understand it all HDD's these days have 'spare' space for reallocation, and this seems to be what has happened with one sector.  It's a Maxtor 6Y120P0, a 120GB (well, 117-ish Gb due to the poor definition of GB that you all know about).
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Expert Comment

ID: 9717663
I wonder if you take this disk to another machine that has SMART if the same error appears. If does then I would suspect that there is something wrong with the drive.

What OS is being run on this disk.

If NT Win2000, XP, 2003

then boot to the Recovery Console and run this command

chkdsk /r

If Win9x/ME

Then boot to the Win98 boot floopy and run this command

scandisk /autofix /surface
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Author Comment

ID: 9717783
It's winXP. I'll try the /r flag right now and see what happens. The disk is partitioned into 4 sections - would this mean a chkdsk on each drive? C: F: G: H: ? Stay tuned, and thanks for the help thus far.
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Accepted Solution

chicagoan earned 125 total points
ID: 9717919
>If you have to constantly switch off your PC because of a program failure,
There's a larger problem afoot here you should address

>can this cause a HDD error such as a bad sector requiring reallocation?

SMART communicates with the disk and is reporting a readable sector that required a retry or retries before the CRC check of the block was correct. This may be an indicatation of a bad block in the boot block.

>if SMART is showing a reallocated sector count of 1, is there any way to reset this back to zero?
S.M.A.R.T. is a system of sensors in such equipped drives, the bios simply reports a trap. Statistics may be kept in the dmi area of the bios on some motherboards. I suspect this is another sector that was successfully reallocated and the error you're seing is a different sector that's not being properly marked bad.

> I remember from years ago that you had to 'park' a HDD before powerdown - is this still the case?
No, the heads automatically move to a safe area using the inertia from the spinning platters when powered down.

If you've run the destructive disk test in maxblast and you're still getting that error, i'd either put the drive in another machine so see if it's replicated or get on their web site and return the little devil, they're pretty good about it and will cross ship.

Expert Comment

ID: 9717939
From SMART IDE Guardian (
Count of reallocated sectors. When the HDD finds a read/write error, it will mark this sector as "reallocated" and transfer data to the special reserved area. That's why on a modern HDD you can't see "BAD blocks" while testing the surface - all bad blocks are hidden in reallocated sectors. **The more sectors reallocated (i.e.lower attribute value), the worse the condition of disk surface.**

So first of all, don't wish for a "0" ;). Second, you're one sector away from having bad sectors really starting to pop up in the surface scans, so get a new drive, or get an RMA on it if it's still under warranty.

If your partitions are FAT based (most likely not, since it's XP), I'd recommend spinrite as it will really find out the extent of the damages on your HD. Unfortunately, you'll need to pay for it to use with it. I also don't know whether it will reset the numbers back higher when the supposedly bad sectors were found good.
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ID: 9718108
Good ole' SpinRite!

Steve Gibson saved a lot of data from the bitbucket with that utility.

cwp's right though, doesn't work on NTFS

Expert Comment

ID: 9718263
Yeah... it actually returned my floppies from the dead (ok, not very impressive, but I don't have any bad HDs to play with, and if it can return my floppies from the dead... imagine what it can do to an HD).

I can't wait until SpinRite 6, or whenever it supports NTFS. ;)

Hmmm....... now that I see this Q&A:
SpinRite doesn't like my monster 120 gigabyte drive. What's wrong?
Although SpinRite can run on drives of any size, the maximum size of SpinRite's internal tables limits its operation to partitions of approximately 70 gigabytes each. Therefore, although SpinRite can handle a "monster" drive with multiple partitions of up to 70 gigabytes each, it cannot currently handle any partition larger than approximately 70 gigabytes.
So it's only works if your C F G & H are less than 70G each.

There was another HDD tester called HDD Regenerator ( that sounded similar to what SpinRite can do. However, I haven't tried it at all, so I can't say how successful it is compared with SpinRite. I also couldn't find any information regarding the limitations of partitions type, so maybe it isn't limited. You can give the demo a try to see if it helps.

Author Comment

ID: 9718373
I ran chkdsk /r on all partitions, and while it found and fixed errors, the SMART problem remains. The next step is a destructive test of the HD I suppose, but I'm loathe to try that as it's all the backup/restore hassle. Also, given that it's given me this problem once, maybe it's wiser to try to get a replacement instead...

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