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Cloning a hard drive with bad sectors

Hi Experts,

We have a desktop that Norton Ghost says has bad sectors.  Sadly, this was not discovered until attempting to clone the drive.  With "ignore bad sectors" checked, Ghost can image the drive.  The question is - is that safe to do it that way and deploy that image on a new (good) HDD or is it introducing problems?

The current drive and OS installation seem to run fine, the reason for working on the machine was not failures currently attributed to the hard drive.  Just noticed it when backing it up prior to performing some software updates.

No images were taken of this machine prior to now, so otherwise the only option is backup the data and perform a fresh OS install on a new drive.

Thanks
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It Support
Commented:
It would depend on what (if anything) was using the bad sectors. You may be lucky and there was no active data in the bad area, if it was a data file you may just loose some documents, if it was operating system or registry files ocupying the bad area than you may get some instability. Some disk scanning software can tell you what files were using the bad sectors (spinrite for example - http://www.grc.com)
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Commented:
It can introduce problems, as you don't know what data is at that location.

I'd first run the HD manufacturer's diagnostic utility on that HD, these tools can repair limited HD errors, and it'll also tell you whether it is necessary to replace the disk or not. You'll find those tools on the UBCD, or you can download them directly from the manufacturer (I'd recommend the UBCD though as it has several very useful tools compared with only one from the manufacturer):

http://ultimatebootcd.com

After that run a chkdsk /x on the ntfs partitions, this will repair file-system errors, possibly ghost can then clone or image the partitions without needing the ignore bad sectors switch.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Obviously you simply don't "know" for sure where the bad sectors were.

Spinrite does not, by the way, indicate which files were using specific bad sectors.   But what it CAN do is possibly repair the damaged sectors without any data loss -- which would potentially let you get a good image without the concern you have now.    Wouldn't hurt to run it against the "bad" disk.

As for whether or not thd OS is okay => run SFC against the new (cloned) drive and see if it identifies any corrupted system components.    If not, it's very likely everything's fine.

noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Is Windows bootable on this drive? If yes then run CHKDSK /r on all partitions of the drive. Then perform the clone operation. The sectors should be first marked as bad and ignored by system. Then during copy operation they will not be transferred to new drive. I mean the information about these bad sectors.
Also you can run the CHKDSK /r on copy target drive. It will remove the notes about bad sectors from this drive (actually no physical bad sector will be transferred, only the info about them from old drive).
Dave AlfordIt Support

Commented:
garycase - when Spinrite locates a damaged area it will tell you in the results what file (if any) was using that particular sector - http://www.grc.com/image/srDTL.gif
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Thanks Dave ... somehow I'd missed that.
Dave AlfordIt Support

Commented:
garycase - yea, and you're right about running SPINRITE on suspect drive (especially in any recovery mode). I learnt the hardway and ran in before cloneing the damaged disk! You should clone what you can and then run something like Spinrite to identify bad sectors and then possibly try a repair !

Author

Commented:
noxcho - Quick question - After running chkdsk /r, should you be able to complete an image without telling the imaging software to ignore bad sectors?  
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
As I mentioned in my earlier post, provided the HD itself is good, then yes.

Author

Commented:
You are right, sorry about that.  Will attempt now and post back.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
noxcho - Quick question - After running chkdsk /r, should you be able to complete an image without telling the imaging software to ignore bad sectors?  
When CHKDSK marks the bad sectors as bad and stop trying to write and read to this sectors then the file system can tell to imaging software that these sectors are abandoned.
In other words when creating data bitmap snapshot using VSS these sectors will be ignored.
But I know cases when MS CHKDSK and HDD vendor made tools found different amount of bad sectors and those found by CHKDSK were less.

Author

Commented:
So the imaging would have to be done within Windows instead of imaging from a boot disk?
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
No difference. The info about bad sectors is saved in file system, not in Windows.

Author

Commented:
Thx. Thought so but sense you mentioned VSS was not sure.

Author

Commented:
Thx all