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chkdsk: "Adding 3241 bad clusteres to the Bad Clusters File" - How bad is it?

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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Hi all,

Windows Vista kept locking up when trying to access/save to certain folders in my 2nd HD (not primary).  When running chkdsk, it would hang/free at the beginning of stage 4 (of 5).

I eventually backed up all the files to the primary HD, did a 'quick format' on the HD and ran chkdsk again (this time from within Windows).  It completely successfully this time around, but with the following message which stood out:

"Adding 3241 bad clusteres to the Bad Clusters File"

How bad is that?  Is 3241 bad clusters a lot?  What should I do now?

I have several tools at my disposal, including Ultimate Boot Disk, SpinRite, and the option to zero-fill format my drive.

Also, the chkdsk log mentioned:

"122096000 total allocation units on disk.  122067129 allocation units available on disk."

Thanks!
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I'm doing a Zero-Fill Format now which is going to take several hours.

What should I run after that, the Diagnostics or SpinRite?
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OK, in the middle of the Zero Fill (using Disk Manager v. 9.56 from Seagate Technology), I am now getting the following error:

"Write Failure to Drive
Continue?
(Y)es
(N)o"

That sounds pretty bad, what does it mean and what should I do?
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500GB
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I bought the computer with this drive in a different country and about 3 years ago, so the Warranty might be difficult to effectuate even if it is still under Warranty.

Assuming the worst case scenario - that it is not under warranty and cannot be replaced - can I salvage this drive in any way (even if it means losing 1.325Gb of space)?  If so, how?  Do I click on "YES" to continue the Zero Fill?  And then what would I do?

Thanks for your help.
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OK, here's an update.  This is just getting very bizarre.

So I completed the Zero FIll formatting on the HD2, which encountared 2 Write Errors during the process (I pressed "continue" on both).

I then formatted the drive in Windows.

I then used SeaTools DOS, which required me to temporarily changed the "RAID On" to "RAID Autodetect / ATA" under SATA Operation in the BIOS to get it to load (I had to do this because I was getting the same as per this thread: http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=SeaTool&thread.id=88).  That fixed it and allowed me to load the SeaTools for DOS.

I then proceeded to do a Long Test on HD2.  The Long Test encountered some errors, and I clicked on "Repair All".  When the process completed, it said the HD2 "Passed after Repair".  The diagnostics info also showed that SMART is enabled on HD2 and it had NEVER been triggered.

To be thorough, I also did a Long test on HD1 which passed without errors or repairs needed.

I then restarted and re-enabled the "RAID On" in my BIOS so that Windows would load, and restarted.

That computer started loading normally (although it seemed to take an extra two seconds or so during the initial RAID boot up info screen) and then I got the Windows Vista progress bar at the bottom.  After a few moments, the progress bar disappeared and nothing happened although I could see the hard drive light permanently on (it was doing something).  I left it on for a few moments and nothing happened, although the light stayed on.

I then tried booting into safe mode and saw that it was hanging on the "null.sys" fill.

I booted into Puppy Linux (via CD) and when trying to mount the drives, I got the following error:

"The ntfs-3g driver was unable to mount the NTFS partition and returned this error message:
Failed to write lock '/dev/sdb1': Resource temporarily unavailable
Error opening '/dev/sdb1': Resource temporarily unavailable
Failed to mount '/dev/sdb1': Resource temporarily unavailable

So, the inbuilt kernel NTFS driver has been used to mount the partition read-only"

So I can only open the two hard drives as "read-only" in Puppy Linux (never had this problem before).

I tried booting the Windows Vista CD to repair and it hangs on the screen with the colored background after the initial load.

So.....

What the heck happened and how do I fix this now?  Windows was loading fine on HD1 until now...

Thanks.

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Thanks for the reply, but I did not run chkdsk this time around, only the Long Test from SeaTools.

Also, if the RAID was corrupt, why is the Windows progress bar appearing at all and why is it freezing on "null.sys" ?

Any more insight would be appreciated.  I have very important files on HD1 that I cannot lose (whose backup used to be on HD2 until yesterday's zero fill format of that drive).  I really need to fix this.

Thanks.
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Thanks for the info rindi, but as I mentioned 2 posts up, when trying to boot from the Windows Vista CD to do a repair, it hangs before I can do anything.

As for the RAID, I believe both HD's use RAID but I don't actually have any RAID configured...in other words, both drivers are working independently.

 What other options do I have?

Thanks.
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Thanks, I'll give it a shot and report back.

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OK, that worked!  I was able to get into the Windows Vista Repair.

However, I selected "Startup Repair" and it found no errors.  So I opened the command prompt and ran a chkdsk /f on c: and it also found no errors.  Bizarre.

If I attempt to start windows with the RAID off, I first get a "SATA Secondary hard disk drive 0 failure" and after pressing F1 to continue, I see the Windows Vista progress bar at the bottom for a quick moment and then the computer restarts (again, at the same file, "null.sys")

I then re-enabled RAID and the same thing happened with startup hanging at the "null".sys" file except that it does not automatically restart and just hangs there.  Last Known Configuration also did not work.

What is this "null.sys" file that is preventing Windows from starting?  Should I restore Windows to an earlier point using the Vista Repair CD?

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Any ideas, guys?

Thanks.
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Thanks CT but unfortunately I have no way of externally backing up the data.

Any other ideas?

Thanks.
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Why would I exchange the HD1 (with important data on the 2nd partition) if it passed the Long Test without any problems?

Should I just try re-installing Windows Vista on the 1st partition on HD1?  That way I don't mess with the 2nd partition and hopefully get Windows to work and load ?

Thanks.

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Any thoughts, guys?

Also, rindi, what did you mean by "Now it hangs most likely because it needs the controller's driver.."  I mean, why can't it access the controller's driver with RAID turned on if that's the default setting?

Thanks.
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OK, I turned RAID off in the BIOS and repaired and restored Windows to an earlier point.  The repair program said it could not detect the 2nd partition on HD1 nor HD2, but I proceeded anyway.  I then restarted and the same thing happened, it automatically restarted during boot-up.  I then re-enabled RAID and the same thing happened (except for the automatic restart).  So the Windows repair did not seem to fix the problem.

I then did the following, I turned SATA off for the 2nd drive in the BIOS and now Windows loaded normally (I probably should have tried that earlier)!

Now how come Windows loads fine with the 2nd HD turned off via the BIOS?  Also, how do I regain access to my 2nd HD?

Thanks.
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Here's what I did:

In the BIOS, under "Drives", it lists each SATA (SATA-0, SATA-1, SATA-2, etc...) corresponding to HD1, HD2, DVD1, etc... respectively, and then it lists SATA Operation.  Before, I was going into SATA Operation and switching from "RAID On" to "RAID Autodetect / ATA", which is what had allowed me to finally access Windows Repair even though it would give me a HD2 failure warning during bootup.

Now what I did is I went specifically to SATA-1 (that corresponds to HD2) and simply turned it off ("this field allows the user to enable or disable an ATA or SATA device") while leaving RAID On under "SATA Operation".

Does that make sense?  Where does that leave me now with regards to HD2?

Thanks.
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Sure, where can I find that info?

The PC itself is a Dell Dimension 9200.
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OK, thanks a lot, I appreciate it.
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This is what I was doing before, which finally allowed me to go into Windows Repair, but when loading Windows, it kept automatically restarting automatically when hitting the null.sys file (see posts ID: 24841310 , ID: 24841766 above).

What else can I try?

Thanks.

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OK, I will try that and report back.  (I'm a bit averse to removing components from my computer as I'm no pro, so I might just try it first without removing HD1).

Also, the Zero Fill takes about 25 hours to complete on the 500 GB, is that normal?
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Both HD"s are from Seagate and I use an older Seagate tool to zero fill them, maybe that's why it takes so long.  But in order to use the newer SeaTools DOS, I have to disable RAID otherwise FreeDOS won't load correctly (as per: http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=SeaTool&thread.id=88).

Should I maybe try disabling RAID and using the new SeaTools DOS to see if it zero fills any faster?
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Yup, UBCD is what I was using for the zero fill, although it contains an older version of the Seagate tools.  I'll turn off RAID in the BIOS and do a zero fill from the newer SeaTools DOS in case it's any faster.

I'll report back when it's finished.

Thanks for all your help.

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OK, by doing a quick zero fill (called a Erase Track Zero - Quick Zero fill to erase the data and partitions from a drive. This option requires one second to complete), I was able to get Windows to finally load under normal circumstances (SATA-1 on, RAID on).  However, it loaded slower than normal, and when I went to initialize the simple drive in Windows together with a quick format, the Windows Disk Manager froze, so I'm now doing a complete zero fill (called a Full Erase - Fills the entire drive with zeros. It can be used to recover bad sectors and erases all data.  This is not a Secure erase).

That will take about a day to complete, but hopefully it will fix the problem once and for all.

In the meantime, any ideas why the Quick zero fill allowed Windows to finally load normally?
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The Dell BIOS explicitly mentions that even if you use a single HD it is better to leave RAID on.  Furthermore, if I turn off RAID, the 2nd HD is not detected even though no RAID configuration is set for it.

Any ideas why the Quick zero fill allowed Windows to finally load normally?

Also, I'm doing the complete zero fill as mentioned above but in 40 minutes it's still at 0% and at LBA 133888.  At this rate it will take several days, so should I abort and use the older Seagate tool to zero fill which does it in 25 hours?

Thanks.
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Problem fixed.

Here is how I did it:

1) I zero filled the drive using the new SeaTools for DOS
2) It failed near 72%, presumably due to the write errors encountered during the previous zero fill using the older SeaTools in the UBCD.
3) I did a Long Test, which Passed after Repair.
4) I enabled RAID in the BIOS.
5) I loaded the Windows Repair CD (which loaded with no problems this time, even with RAID on and SATA-1 (HD2) on).
6) I created a new partition and formatted it using the Windows Repair CD.
7) I restarted the computer and everything now works like a charm.

Having said that, even the the HD's SMART was never triggered and even though it passed the Long Test after repair, there most certainly is physical damage on the drive which is causing the new zero fill to fail.  However, I'm hoping the Long Test repairs have mapped out these bad sectors so that they are avoided by Windows (please let me know if my hope is unwarranted).

Thank you everyone for your help, particularly rindi.
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