Do bad sectors necessarily mean impending doom?

chrisfixit
chrisfixit used Ask the Experts™
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I've just removed a lot of spyware and rootkits from a friend's Compaq Presario V6500 and on trying to make an Acronis disk backup it failed with read errors,

I ran chkdsk /r and it recovered 187 bad sectors, Reran and now reports clean.

I ran SMART from Speedfan and it reports 99% fitness and 100% health with 10 pending sectors.

It's a Fujitsu MHY2159BH HDD. Is it about to die?
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Not necessarily but are you willing to take the chance?  It could be problems with the Partition table causing the bad sectors but I would make sure you have your data fully backed up if your going to continue to use the drive... I have used drive with bad sectors for years without any problems....

SMART detecting errors usually means that there is a problem with the drive, perhaps a little dust got in... I would personally backup the data and wait about a month, if no bad sectors continue then I would continue to use the drive, if more bad sectors appear then I would get a new drive....  I can't guarantee that the drive won't fail all of a sudden but I have had several computer with a few bad sectors which ran for years without any problems...

Just keep your data backed up... did I say backup enough ;-)....
Principal Software Engineer
Commented:
Chkdsk does not actually "fix" bad sectors; it simply maps them out so that the operating system does not attempt to use the bad sectors.  The bad sectors are still on the disk.  It's like using white-out over a typo on a printer's proof sheet; the errors, and the problem that caused them, are still there -- they're just covered up.

Is 200 bad sectors excessive?  That depends on your tolerance for danger.  Personally, I would not use a disk with 200 bad sectors for anything, not even cold backups.  When that many bad sectors occur, yes, imho, the drive is on the way out.

If you are willing to roll the dice on this drive, back up the drive, download a copy of MHDD, and run the MHDD scan with "erase waits" and then at least four passes of scan with "remap bad blocks."  This will remap the bad sectors at the drive controller level, and the drive will once again appear error-free.  Restore the drive from the backup.  Then watch the drive carefully during use; if more bad sectors appear, be safe and replace the drive.

And Icaldwell is right:  No matter what approach you decide to take, keep a current backup of the drive using Acronis Free or other backup software.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
Test the disk with the manufacturer's util.

Or get the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Download links are the icons at the top of the page above Overview.  Browse the page and see what utils are there for you.  Check the hard disk utils especially.

Make the CD and boot from it.  

Then test the hard disk with the correct manufacturer's util for your hard disk.  Do the long test.  That will most likely tell you if your disk is corrupt.
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Top Expert 2013
Commented:
i suggest to run hdd regenerator - it recovered and fixed already 3 reported bad drives for me - and none came back...
http://www.dposoft.net/

note that it fixes badly, or poorly written sectors, not physically bad (scratched)

Author

Commented:
Thanks, I will check it tomorrow and report back.

Author

Commented:
OK, I replaced the HDD and then formatted the old one and ran Fujitsu's own HDD Utility to check it out.

It reported PASS , so I have no idea what was going on.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
Well, it could well be usable.

Give back to friend with instructions to make sure anything important is backed up and to keep an eye on the disk.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
it seems you're not in terested in my post - did you read what HDD regenerator does?  it claims more than 60% of all bad disks are badly written...
there's your answer imo
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
FYI - it repaired already 3 non-bootable, reported BAD (with manuf's diag) disks to a bootable status for me...and none came back for over a year now..and counting

Author

Commented:
Nobus, I did see your posts thanks very much - it was just that it wasn't worth paying €30 for a program that might restore a disk, when a replacement disk was the same price.

But thank you anyway and I'll will bear your information in mind.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
ok - that's your choice - and of course correct concerning 1 disk...

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