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Can incorrect firmware false report bad sectors?

Posted on 2009-07-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have two Maxtor DiamondMax 11 hard drives both with the same model number 6H500R0.  These drives were included in a LaCie enclosure in a RAID-0 configuration.  

As bad luck would have it, either the enclosure wasn't supplying enough power or something else happened but the array failed to be recognized.  

I opened it up and after some research found that one of the drives was failing to spin up.  Being the same drives I removed the PCB from the good drive and placed it on the one that failed to power up.  

It does spin up and is recognized by Windows but when I try to create a disk image of it, it stalls and reports bad sectors.  

The second drive, when replacing it with the good PCB performs perfect and I can make a disk image.

My question is even though the PCB is the same and the drives were manufactured 1 day apart in the same country I have no way of telling if the firmware on both boards is the same.

So..is it possible that unmatched firmware on the good PCB placed on the hard drive with the bad PCB could cause misreporting of bad sectors?
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Question by:hyphenpipe
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13 Comments
 
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rindi earned 2000 total points
ID: 24802774
Bad sectors are usually actually bad sectors, and aren't affected by the firmware.

If you want to make an image of the drive don't use windows or any utility that is installed in windows. Use something like DD which is included on most Linux LiveCD's, particularly checkout Parted Magic, which includes a GUI frontend to DD:

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=partedmagic

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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 24803221
Download the vendor disk surface check tools from your drive vendor site and test the surface. This will give you clear answer if there is any bad sector.
As for firmware, as rindi said, bad is bad and firmware is firmware. They do not cross at all.
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by:hyphenpipe
ID: 24803520
Would Parted Magic work on a drive that is just one disk from a striped RAID 0 Array?
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by:rindi
ID: 24803558
Depends on the raid controller used. Just boot the PC with parted magic, all you need is to download the iso and burn it to a CD. If the controller driver is available you should see the 1 HD which raid 0 makes of the array within the partition editor (QParted).
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by:rindi
ID: 24803572
Sorry, QParted -> GParted
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by:rindi
ID: 24803676
just remembered that the drives came from an external enclosure, so the raid controller will be embedded into that enclosure and you won't have access to it anyway. So whatever you use you will only see the single HD and no array. You can still use the utilities on the CD above to copy the disk to an image or another HD, and then you could use the raid reconstructor to rebuild the array. The problem will be that the filesystem of the external device probably won't have been any m$ filesystem, so you will have to mount the file the the raid reconstructor built using Linux (again the CD above should help), and then copy the data to some other location.

http://runtime.org
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 24803861
What software was used by you to image the drive (reported as bad block having)?
Try to take image of it using R-Studio, it is excellent when imaging bad drives (bad sectors on them).
Another tool from the same company called R-Drive Image will let you restore from that image to working drive. Both tools are working well in trial period.
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by:hyphenpipe
ID: 24804100
I am in Parted Magic right now and although SMART reports the drive as healthy, when opening up the drive in GParted the file system is labeled as unallocated so I am unable to do anything with it.
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by:noxcho
ID: 24804287
Sure you cannot because you took the drive from RAID. You need to scan the drive for data on it and I doubt that Gparted can do that.
Either GetDataBack or R-Studio.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 24804474
You should be able to copy the drive using the copying utility (you can copy to image). This uses DD for copying and therefore you should be able to do it without the faulting sectors hurting. After that you need runtime's raid reconstructor to merge the 2 drives together, and only then will there be any chance of accessing the data of the array.

You could also try cloning the disk to another drive (Also using the DD utility) and then putting both drives back into the external box in the hopes of it being OK again that way.

You will never be able to just access the data from a single disk if it was part of a raid 0 array, as the data is evenly distributed on all the disks. That's why if a raid 0 array breaks, you loose all the data on it.
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by:hyphenpipe
ID: 24804602
rindi-Understood.  I found Clonezilla for cloning but I am having trouble locating the copying utility in Parted Magic.  Can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks!
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by:rindi
ID: 24805032
The copying utility I was referring to I believe is clonezilla. I just couldn't remember the name as I currently haven't got a Parted Magic CD booted. Parted Magic is the whole CD. You could also use DD from a terminal prompt from that CD, but I don't know syntax you will need. Clonezilla has differentlevels you can select, and I think the corresponding DD syntax commands are shown for some of them.
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by:hyphenpipe
ID: 24805057
Thanks rindi, I will give it a try.
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