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Laptop hard disk drive -- Bad spot fix

My laptop hard disk (WinXP Pro) has one or more bad spots (I think).  The disk "hunts" sometimes for several minutes.  At first, I thought it was a virus and got NOD32 antivirus and started doing in-depth scans.  No virus found, but it made the problem worse.  Then I turned off Microsoft's notorious Indexing Service (cidaemon.exe) and got some relief which was short-lived.  Now I am beginning to have trouble booting.

Is there anything I can do short of reformatting the hard drive?  Replacing the laptop hard drive may be too much trouble, and I may be better off buying a new laptop.

In any case, I would prefer fixing the bad spots and continuing to use the laptop.  Has any one succesfully used Dmitriy Primochenko's HDD Regenerator (www.dposoft.net)?  I am rather sceptical because it claims to "repair bad spots" in place.

I have a separate question "Laptop hard disk drive -- Ghost backup" because I realize that I have to backup the laptop drive first.  But here I am concerned about how to fix the bad spot(s).

What would you do?  Thank you very much for your help!
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csharp_guru
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csharp_guru
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2 Solutions
 
jer2eydevil88Commented:
You can grab a copy of Spinright from
http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

It will keep your disc alive for as long as possible by forcing the OS to use only good sectors.  Be aware this doesn't stop your disc from heading down the path to total failure it just acts as a stop gap.  This software also has a lengthy initial runtime to actively setup your PC to run from the good sectors.

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jer2eydevil88Commented:
In answer to your "what would I do" question : I would recommend that someone with limited technical skills bring the PC to a reputable repair center (not a bestbuy or other big box center) to get a quote for a new Laptop Hard drive.  If you have the money though and see a real need to get a machine ASAP then buying a new laptop wouldn't be a bad solution.

In any case you need to be making backups of any important data because that current drive is not something you want to have to do a recovery off of.
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ridCommented:
Replacing a laptop HD is typically not a hard task, and far cheaper than getting a new laptop. The big job is to configure your machine and that work is there even if you get a new one.
/RID
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scrathcyboyCommented:
Spinrite, in my experience is like all the others, it only makes the problem worse.  Try to use your drive as LITTLE as possible until you are ready to copy the data, the more you use, the worse it gets, it is DYING, and it needs to NOT RUN until the final, once-only recovery stage.

1. search EBay for your laptop model number, look for a HHD or equal or greater capacity.  Buy if cheap.
2.  Set your new bought drive to master on a second system and the bad one to slave on the second system, both on the secondary controller.

Issue command  - xcopy D:\*.* E:\ /s/h/c/k/r/e

That will clone your entire old drive to the new one.  insert the new one in the laptop.
3. boot from windoes XP CD,  when asked choose recovery console
4.  Type -- fixboot C:  -- that fixes the boot sector on the new drive to boot.
5.  If you did everything as I said, you are running fine on the new drive.
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rindiCommented:
Yes, I've had good experiences with the HD regenerator, but usually you need to run it several times, and that can take days. Sometimes even one pass takes days, depending on the degree of faults. Also, even if you can use the disk again, it will be likely to fail again, I regard the HDD regenerator as a good tool, but it is something temporary, so after regenerating your disk make sure you make backups!
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logic0004Commented:
I would not recommend to buy a new laptop, rather if nothing else works then u can replace ur HD. Replacing the HD is not a hard task and it would be the most economical as well.

well u can certainly give a try to Spinright and i had experience with that. It fixes the bad sectors quite efficiently.

http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm
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csharp_guruAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your help!  It was a tough choice but I accepted Scrathcyboy (300) and Rindi (200) for the two most useful answers, both gettng an A.

My hard drive is a non-standard 40GB Toshiba 1.8" as the laptop is an early version of Sony TR2AP.  Later versions used the Hitachi 1.8" which has a standard 2.5" connector.  With the Toshiba drive, I can't easily mount it on a second system. but I found an external USB enclosure for it called the Apricorn EZ-UP-18T designed for that drive.

So my first priority is to clone the drive to a new drive, even before trying to fix the bad spots, because HDD Regenerator could put more wear on the hard disk and make the problem worse.  

I have ordered a 60GB matching Toshiba 1.8" drive and hopefully I can clone to it using the EZ-UP-18T.  

My thanks to Scrathcyboy for his clear instructions for cloning.  The disk being non-standard is very expensive.  The cheapest I found on the internet was for $142, which is probably more than a 300GB 7200 RPM these days!

Because the disk is so expensive, I plan to use HDD Regenerator to hopefully make it usable as an external backup disk.  Thanks to Rindi for his comment on HDD Regen.

I'm wondering:  If I'm going to use the old disk as an external backup only, can I just get by with a low-level format which should isolate the bad spots?   Using HDD Regen may gave me a little more space by fixing the bad spots but could make the problem worse by exercising the disk.

Your comments on this would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks once again.
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rindiCommented:
You can try. It sometimes helps first running the regenerator until the errors are gone or minimized, and then lowlevelformating.
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csharp_guruAuthor Commented:
Does HDD Regen stress the disk and eventually cause more bad spots?
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scrathcyboyCommented:
"can I just get by with a low-level format which should isolate the bad spots? "

Yes but get one made by the manufacturer of the hard disk, in this case Toshiba.

Also, before you buy a pricey one, check on EBay for this similar drive in higher capacity, you should get it for about $50 or less.  Make SURE -- Certain -- that your laptop BIOS will support a bigger drive.
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rindiCommented:
No, I don't call that "stress" in terms of "bad", it does stress the disk, but in a way that regenerates the magnetic structure. Compare it to a "massage".
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