How to format and fix Bad Sectors on a Notebook computer with No Floppy or CD ??

Posted on 2004-10-10
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hi... I've an old notebook computer ( PII 366 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 6.0 GB ,Network Ehernet Card, Fax/Modem) and I've a really hard problem which is :

I had some bad sectors caused my operating system ( MS Windows Millenium ) to be unstable and about to collapse and lose all my critical data & files.

Due to some circumstances I've some problems with my Floppy Drive and it can't accept any Floppy Diskettes... Also my CD-Rom Drive can't read many CDs so I can't boot with a CD.

The problem is that I'm in a place TOO Far from any Maintanence & Support Centre and I don't have time to fix my notebook.

Now I want to format my BOOT Drive and fix the bad sectors and then setup a new installation of Windows Millenium, But most of the programs in the market requires Floppy Drive to perform a test on the bad sectors... So what is the solution ??

Please, guide me to any program or materials to solve my urgent case.

Question by:Refatoo
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 12274265
if you do not have a floppy or CD to boot from, the only way in my opinion is to take out the HDD and hook it up to a desktop system, using a 2.5" to 3.5" adaptor. Then you do everything from this system, and insert the HDD back in the notebook.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12274789
>> Also my CD-Rom Drive can't read many CDs so I can't boot with a CD.

If so, then how are you planning to install Windows after you format it?
LVL 15

Accepted Solution

Cyber-Dude earned 168 total points
ID: 12274875

The best thing for you to do now is to "Tell" the OS not to access where the bad sectors are... So, in order for you to do that:

First Run 'ScanDisk /Autofix /Surface' from the command prompt (i.e. Start => Run... => type 'command' and press 'Enter').

This may take a while for you to do, so drink some cofee and relax. This operation will mark all bad sectors and will not allow the OS to write data over there.

Also, a good suggestion is to partition your drive in-to two parts where the Bad sectors will be on one partition and the other partition will consists of no bad sectors.

Eather way... do replace your drive ASAP. Bad sectors has the habbit of spreading...

Hope that helped and if you need more info; just say so...

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Expert Comment

ID: 12276291
I agree with Cyber. If you do have bad sectors, the drive is on it's way out. Plus the fact that your optical drive doesn't work, with this old technology this machine might have outlived its useful life.
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

huntersvcs earned 166 total points
ID: 12278841
When booting (dependent on your hardware), you actually have FOUR options:


If the FDD won't access disks (or boot from them) and you can't boot from a CD, try to configure your laptop for a netboot to another PC (usually controlled in the BIOS, but again, it depends on your hardware).

If you can successfully perform a netboot, you have access to all DOS commands on the other machine.  If not, and you format, you've just lost access to the laptop's HDD.  If you have bad sectors at the very start or very end, you're in trouble anyway.

As a last resort, install GHOST 2003 and create an image of drive C and transfer it to another computer.  You can force the image to even ignore bad sectors.

Make sure that when you finally do format C that you automatically include an OS (DOS) and have a second partition set up with all commands.  If this works, even though you can't boot from a CD, you may still be able to access one in the DOS level.

Author Comment

ID: 12397431
Hi... I'm sorry for being late as I had problems in Internet connection...  Finally my laptop accepted to read a Bootable CD, so I can access my HDD with most DOS commands.

Is that makes a great difference to my problem... I hope so.

I've already made ScanDisk with the command:

'ScanDisk /Autofix /Surface/nosave' but when I installed windows, it didn't ignore the defect area and installed some system files on this area... so what program is more useful than Scandisk ??

Bye the way, I had some bad sectors due to an accident not because of outliving.

Thanks for contributing and waiting your answer.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12398021
If this was a normal HDD (not in a Notebook) I'd say that if the bad sectors are repairable, only a low-level format would help.  MICROSCOPE has a good tool and even includes bad-sector mapping.  However, it's not Freeware!

But be careful - Low-level formatting should only be used as a last resort.  It will delete all partitions on the selected drive.  After low-level formatting you will have to reset your partitions and reformat normally.

LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 166 total points
ID: 12398024
you can use pebuilder (download  and burn it to a CD) if you want to run 2000/Xp/2003

or this (more for troubleshooting and fixing) contains tests : you can fix your drive
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 12398216
Heres a great software may allow you to even fix bad sectors:

As for if you really want to get things done in the professional manner:
You want the best of the best? If you have time for download you may obtain a complete OS along with various utilities that may allow you completre and total access to your drive; That is KNOPPIX:

1. Boot the Knoppix CD (No configuration is needed of what so ever and it will be able to view fully your hard drive).
2. Run 'HDPARM' from terminal console to fully view your drive's condition and health.
3. Run 'fsck' to fix any drive's physical problems...

Welcome to Knoppix

fsck - filesystem consistency check and interactive repair

hdparm - get/set hard disk parameters

Good luck and enjoy


LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12591630
Split ?

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