BAD SECTORS in Hardrive_DBAN error

Hello, i just runned DBAN (quick mode or something like that) to wipe my harddrive and when it finished it gave me the following message:
" DBAN finished with non-fatal errors
this is usually caused by disks with bad sectors
send the log file with all support requests
etc etc etc... (i was unable to save the log file because i did not have a floppy disk on hand...)"

I am not worried about the floppy disks, i am worried about the Bad Sectors..., so My question is, can BAD Sectors be fixed? can i do it my self with some free software that you now, a test, something?

I formated my PC , and then i used DBAN because i want to reinstall Windows XP Pro SP3, I know DBAN is not necessary,  but i just wanted to try it... anyway, thwe BAD sectors problem is the issue...

My specs:
Dell Precision workstation 470 (3 1/2 years old PC)
XP Pro Sp2  (but now i have it slipstreamed with SP3
1 Harddrive SATA  160 Gb (or 150 Gb) approximately

In the meantime i am installing right now Windows XP Pro SP3, but if i need to format again and resintall it to FIX the BAD SECTOS is no problem for me to do it.

So please give me some advice.

Regards.
unrinoceronteAsked:
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Encrypted1024Commented:
Bad sectors can not be fixed. It is physical damage to the disk platter and most drives suffer from these close to the end of there life. Your computer may seem to run correctly with some bad sectors but any data stored on bad sectors will be unreadable and lost.
This is usually a sign that the drive is failing and should be replaces as soon as possible.
DavidPresidentCommented:
Software such as spinright can recover bad sectors. It depends on the specifics.  If, for example, it is bad because of an ECC problem, then piece-o-cake.   If it is bad because of a head crash, then forget about it.

But if you don't need the data that was at the bad sector, it will repair itself once you write anything at all to it.  So run chkdsk with the option to automatically fix bad sectors.
Encrypted1024Commented:
dlethe, judging by your profile you seem to be a serious hard drive expert. I am aware of software solutions "hiding" bad sectors like spinright, or marking them as bad like chkdsk, but are those truly viable options?
In my experience bad sectors is usually a sign of a failing drive. Is this an incorrect assumption of mine?
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Some day I'll write one of those EE reports on bad sectors.  I cranked one out a month ago on general RAID/storage stuff, and have already gotten over 10,000 points for it in a matter of a few days because it was an editors choice, and such.    Worth reading .. I was planning to do one on myths of defrag/chkdsk on RAID as too many "experts" are grossly incorrect on how these utilities behave when run on a RAID LUN.

Check it out .... http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/Storage/Misc/Disk-drive-reliability-overview.html

ANyway, i wrote code years ago to create bad sectors on-the-fly at specific offsets for testing RAID controllers.  Bad sectors are natural and NOT necessarily a sign of impending doom.  Depending on the make/model of HDD, there could be room for over 25,000 remapped sectors.  I've seen drives with over 10,000 bad sectors pass all diagnostics, and run just fine, with no sign of imminent death.    

Now what happens is if the embedded S.M.A.R.T. algorithms detect a creation pattern where bad sectors are combined with things like decreasing spindle speed, and no sign of shock, then they will trigger the SMART alert, and tell you the disk needs to be replaced.  THis is appropriate.  But bad sectors that just crop up during normal operations, that have the fingerprint of being a result of a BSOD, power failure, etc, are no big deal and are not supposed to trigger anything.  I have seen bad firmware revisions that treat a single bad sector as root cause to fail a self-test.  

So bottom line, bad sectors are natural, and should be of no concern, if that is all that you have.  The disk firmware will analyze the timestamp of their discovery, along with a dozen other things that may or may not be reportable to add context.    So what you need to do is run a S.M.A.R.T. test on the HDD after bad sectors are discovered.  This will tell you if the disk is in a degraded condition.   S.M.A.R.T. is not infallible, but if you do get such an alert, then the disk qualifies for a warranty replacement.  

Does that answer the question well enough?  If not, feel free to add a bunch of questions and I'll put it on my todo list as a FAQ I will write

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Encrypted1024Commented:
Thank you for a great explanation. I do have a few more comments and questions.
I think that at some point back in the dark ages of computing (a few years ago) that the drives may not have had the same resiliency and due to firmware and modern technology may be more resistant today than they used to be. This may account for some peoples incorrect assumptions.
Now, if a drives firmware is capable of detecting a bad sector and remapping that sector so it is no longer accessed by the OS, that makes good sense as to why bad sectors are no longer an issue. But if this is the case, why does chkdsk still see them? It would seem that if the OS can see the bad sector that the firmware is not doing its job correctly.
Or am I missunderstanding the role of the firmware in this scenario?
DavidPresidentCommented:
The problem is not remapping, it is what to put there.  The HDD has no idea whether that particular sector is being used by an O/S.  It just sees 1s and 0s.
   So if it remapped it automatically, then that would mean undetected data loss.

A sector will automatically get remapped when you try to write to it.  
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Wow! great explanation Dletthe, you clarify me a lot this issue, and and you give me some hope!!  So its not doom! for my Hd.. ok , now to continue with the subject, so how can i do this SMART test that you suggest?

Look what i have done, i formatted my HD, i runned DBAN, and just now i reinstalled XP PRO SP3, so please advice me in how to procede with the SMART Test? do i have to do also de CHKDSK?  please let me know, i dont have much computer knowledge (well actually a lot for an architect, i am more like an affitionate, i like to solve my PC problems myself with help of Experts Exchange...)

thanks!
DavidPresidentCommented:
you need to mentally separate file system from the hardware.   A basic S.M.A.R.T. test gives a simple pass/fail based on the vendor/product specific algorithm in that hDD, and whether or not it says the disk is degrading.   With windows, you can just do the chkdsk option and click on the detect & fix bad blocks, and this will do a full media read test, and chkdsk all at the same time.

I don't use dban, but most of the drive vendors have a free windows utility that will run the embedded self-tests and report SMART status.  I would do that.  There are some commercial products, but they are overkill for your needs, and of course, not free.
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
I see..

So basically i should run as you say the vendors utility...  So the link provided by BRUM07 in my other question will solve that?

" Brum07:
See here if you know the manufacturer

http://www.onlinecomputertips.com/hardware/drive_utilities.html "

What about using HD TUNE? somebody else also recommended it to me a while ago for other situation...

So what i will do is find my HARDDRIVE brand, and then check BRUM07 link, and test the vendors application...?  am i right?  And in the test, is just a test, or it fixes errors or problems also?
 
DavidPresidentCommented:
The software is all different, but in general they won't "fix" errors.  Nothing much you can fix unless you have the type of software that is in a lab that exposes the soft underbelly, so to speak.

chkdisk with the 2 boxes checked will "fix" bad blocks that have no data on them automatically, and if the bad block is in a file, it will tell you, and try to save a chunk of the file, like I am sure you have seen many times before.
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
One Last doubt DLETHE, i only have installed XP, so there is no more data in the disks, you mention that CHKDSK will only fix BAD BLOCKS that have no data.... But what if when i reinstalled Windows, some files of Windows where written to those Bad sectors??    Is there a way to fix the bad sectors before installing XP, or i dont know,... I dont mind reinstalling XP again,  is there something i can do the next time i reinstall XP to be usre that no files of the OS are written to those bad sectors?

DavidPresidentCommented:
no, chkdsk will find all unreadable blocks, and compare with what it knows about the file system.  If the block is used by a file, directory entry, whatever, then it will tell you about the corruption, and repair the block by writing zeros to it.   You will see this in errors.   If the block is free space, it will repair it.  In this case there was no file system damage.

You can fix bad sectors before starting by telling windows to format the HDD, or getting any program to just write zeros to all blocks (easy if you have a UNIX sytesm)

ocanada_techguyCommented:
I was tempted to write yet another explanation, but in dlethe you are in good hands.
Since you are formatting a drive, you don't care if bad sectors result in holes or zeroes or corruption of documents, photos, music, or worse a program or crucial part of your OS.
If the bad sector was causing many disk errors in your Event Log along with pregnant pauses, a slowing down, or other odd behaviour, you might then wish to ensure the bad tracks got set aside,so called bad-tracking or bad sectoring.
Some drives, especially expensive enterprise-class, have built-in logic for rereading the data off the bad spot and "detouring" that piece of the file chain to a "spare" sector.  If the spare area was almost all used up, that would be an example of the thresholds that would raise a red flag in S.M.A.R.T monitoring.
chkdsk doesn't do such a good job of reading the bad sector data in jeapordy, after a dozen or so retries it'll give up.   IF the drive itself does, ECC and what have you, well then no problem.  You can usually hear this audibly as click click or ca-chunk ca-chunk as the heads reset to track zero and back just in case the problem is with alignment.
What of the cheap comsumer drives that do not?  Well if the bad sector is just magnetic signal strength of an area on the platter being somewhat poor, there may be hope for getting most of that information.  If a phyiscal "crash" caused the magnetic surface of the platter to be scratched off, well it's unlikely the data can be retrieved.  Then again, those shavings inside the drive, compared to the microscopic gap between platter and read/write heads thanks to Bernoulli effect, well they'd seem like big boulders, and if caught-up against the head, more scraping, more crashing, with disasterous results.  If you hear audible grinding or scraping noises, STOP right away.

Anyhoo, I  mentioned there may be hope.  I highly recommend a program called SpinRite 6, dlethe mentioned it too, although I'll  admit I recently encountered a bug with it handling a  particularly large partition with excessive errors.  Youcann read about it at the GRC website.  What is does is retries the data on the bad spot HUNDREDS of times, so instead of resorting to the entire sector zeroes it looks at the variation in magnetic field strength averaged over many reads and pieces together most of the data.  It indicates with bad sectors were fully recovered and those it could not.  Then whether it's 50, 90, or 100% of the data on the bad sector is remapped to another good sector.  Afterward automatic chkdsk (or fsck if UNIX) restores the integrity of the filesystem, but not surface scanning for badtracks.  Much better than chkdsk for repairing without data losses.   What's interesting is it can also be used as a PREVENTITIVE measure, using the fancy mathematical algorithms it detects questionable and poor sectors and can set them aside BEFORE they become bad sectors and the data in jeapordy.  

Without it, and yes, naybe even with it, you might have to recover from backups after the resulting corruption/losses.

That's where RAID6 or, parity bit checking, striping, or even simple mirroring can avoid data loss when the inevitable bad sectors occur.

Let's suppose that the master/file allocation tables (FAT/MFT/Inode) even though there is redundancy, was corrupted, or the classic "ooops" files were accidentally deleted.  A program like Easy Recovery Pro (by Ontrack) can try to piece together files from the chains of blocks that had been previously allocated and sequenced in files.

In your case, right now no need for SpinRite, (yet).  You are formatting and just want the bad sectors it finds right now to be set aside not to be used without any worry of losing data.  chkdsk does that ok.

In fact, that's what some people do.  Once a year or so, (they keep good backups all along mind you) the SCRUB the drive, thoroughly scanning and setting aside bad sectors quickly and easily, and then recover the backup.  As a side benefit, depending what technique, the drive is perfectly defragmented.

What you may be  interested in, is HDD Regenerator.  Let's say the "spare area" for bad tracking is full and the S.M.A.R.T. threshold has been exceeded, in that case the drive would be considered end-of-life BAD.  Supposedly HDDRegenerator can recreate a whole new spare area, make some bad sectors good again, and but the SMART settings back to zero, as if it were from the factory  (even drives straight from the factory already have bad spots set aside)

I don't have alot of experience with HDDRegenerator to recommend it personally, whereas SpinRite 6 and Easy Recovery Pro I do and swear by.
ocanada_techguyCommented:
unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Hi, please excuse me for the taking so long to response, i have not beeing able to run more tests because of time, been incredibly busy, but i will run them today, and post and close question tonight.

Thanks.
DavidPresidentCommented:
The short answer on bad sectors is that drives contain thousands of spare sectors (some tens of thousands).  Sectors die and degrade all of the time.  That is what spares are for, that is also why they add ECC bits to make sure the data is valid.  

The S.M.A.R.T. algorithms use a histogram of bad sectors + time/date stamps + data such as spinup, RPMs, distance between head and media, and such to determine if a drive is in degrading condition.  If so, it sends out the alert.   So bad sectors are no indication that a drive is bad ... until it is applied to the algorithm the drive uses.

(Of course if 100% of sectors are  bad, then obviously the drive will be "bad").  Also RAID controllers are a whole 'nuther bag of worms when it comes to bad sectors & drive failures.  Suffice to say, if a disk takes too long to remap or abandon a bad sector recovery, then the RAID controller will interpret this delay as a drive failure and kill the drive and potentially take a RAID LUN offline.

If you want to know  if a drive should be replaced .. run SMART utility, but understand that false positives and missed negatives are quite common, ... BUT in event of a disk in warranty, if you get a S.M.A.R.T. alert then the disk qualifies for a warranty replacement, so it doesn't really matter if there is a false positive.     There are media tests and self-tests which don't produce false positives.  OK, that is my short comment on all of this.
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