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Im getting 2 replacement drives

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March 9, 2010 4:36:39 PM

2 drives are failing, and im getting replacements.

so here is what im thinking.

get the drives, install them as extras to begin with.
format them, long format, the 3-4 hour kind
than write 1 and 0 on the drive compleatly, to weed out any bad secotrs and get *** going faster.

than

replace c drive with one harddrive,
install windows,
update it compleatly
install graphics drivers

than

restart and boot off dvd into knoppix and move all the data on old c drive to new one, in a folder labled "z -bu"
and move everything from my old data drive to the new data drive

and keep a manual raid of them for the next 3 months, untill i am sure there will me no mechanical failure.

am i missing anything or does that sound like a good plan?

More about : replacement drives

a c 348 G Storage
March 10, 2010 3:36:10 PM

I assume these two that are failing are NOT in any RAID array, they are separate drives.

When you do a Full Format operation it already does a complete test of ALL the sectors on the drive, marking off any bad ones never to be used. But this is within Windows, and uses the OS's tables of disk allocation units to mark "defective" sectors for non-use. An additional step BEFORE that might be to download and use the drive maker's diagnostic utility package. Seagate has Seatools, WD has Data Lifegard, etc. These utilities include test routines built into the disk hardware itself. One is a zero-fill operation. Using it forces the HDD within its own firmware to write zeros to EVERY sector of the HDD, read it back, verify good performance, etc. If any sector is questionable it will retire that one and replace it with another from its own secret stock of spares. When it is done the HDD has ONLY good sectors available to any OS. If you then do the Windows Partition and Full Format steps, that OS should find NO faulty sectors. Now you're really sure everything is good on that drive.

It appears your need is to be able to move absolutely everything from a failing C: boot drive to a new unit that will replace it completely. (You also have a second data drive to replace.) I assume the data still on the old drive is accessible. By far the easiest way to do this is cloning. Most HDD makers also will let you download for free a package to do that job. Seagate has Disk Wizard, WD has Acronis True Image WD Edition, others have their own. Those two actually are customized version of a very good third-party package, Acronis True Image. It is good and powerful, so be sure you get and read the manuals for them. The free versions from HDD makers usually are restricted to making a clone TO a drive from that maker - they don't care whose old drive you are abandoning, but they will be happy to help you move TO one of THEIR drives. You download and install on your existing drive, mount the replacement drive in your machine, then run the software to make your clone. In making the clone you should pay attention to options. Pay special attention to the SIZE of the clone image. By default it often offers to make your clone the same as the old one (even to arranging for multiple Partitions if that's what your old HDD has), and there are times when you want to change those sizes on the new drive to something you manually set. Once the clone is made you simply shut down, remove the old drive, and hook up the new one in its place. It will perform exactly as the old one did, but without the impending failures.

Since you have two drives to swap, do this sequence twice, separately for each drive. The only difference may be that, as you clone the non-boot drive, just check that the cloning software is not trying to make the clone copy into a bootable disk, since it is a data-only disk you will not boot from.
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March 10, 2010 11:19:25 PM

the c drive had a ntfs error in the event viewer, and that caused windows and a few programs to stop functioning right, so im going with a full re install for that reason.

and for the f drive, that one stops working randomly, it could go for 10 mints, it could fo for 10 days. cloning at most if my drive preforms at max would take 187 hours, but realisticly it would take close to double.

now i also have this question.

for seagate, the "One is a zero-fill operation. Using it forces the HDD within its own firmware to write zeros to EVERY sector of the HDD, read it back, verify good performance, etc" that, can it be done within windows? and do i do it before or after format?
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a c 348 G Storage
March 11, 2010 12:27:59 PM

To be honest, I am not sure at all. I have never used the version that runs under Windows. I much prefer to download the version that you burn to your own CD-R. Then you boot from that optical disk (it loads a mini-DOS into RAM and runs from there) and run all your tests directly on the drive, completely independent of any OS on any HDD. If the drive you're testing is your only drive, this is really important. Your case is different, I understand - you are just being VERY sure to check out brand new empty drives being added to a functioning system. But I still prefer the independent optical disk-based version. That applied to BOTH the Seagate and WD diagnostic packages.
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March 11, 2010 12:31:38 PM

my life mostly revolves around the computer, the reason i want to do it in windows is because i can do something else while thats going on.

how long do you think the process would take for a 1.5tb drive to zero fill?
and can i do more than 1 drive at a time? it would go so much faster that way.
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a c 348 G Storage
March 11, 2010 12:42:26 PM

I'm going to guess here. My basis is that we recently built a machine and did the Full Format option on a 1.5 TB WD Green drive, and it took a bit over 3 hours. A zero-fill probably takes a similar time, maybe a bit longer.

IF you are using the stand-alone version that boots from the optical disk, I'm sure you can NOT work on more than one disk at a time. IF the version that runs under Windows will do this task, maybe you can work on two disks at once, I don't know. I would speculate that it should work, because the task fundamentally is one carried out entirely within the HDD itself, with periodic reporting out to the OS that called the routines. But I just can't say for sure.
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March 11, 2010 12:45:39 PM

will bad sectors show up on smart check with the zerofill? and how many bad sectors should i find before i should have a cause for concern?

when i asked seagate they sidesteaped the question
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a c 348 G Storage
March 11, 2010 1:24:23 PM

Background info to understand. When a HDD is made and Low-Level Formatted (you CANNOT do this at home!) it contains quite a bunch of excess capacity more than its rating. The controller on the HDD's own PC board allocates all the good space necessary for the rated capacity for use, and then sets aside as good spares the remaining excess, keeping track of all of it. During all normal use, the on-board system assesses the quality of the signals coming off the disk reads. If it detects poor signal quality it will copy that sector's data to a known good spare and use it as a substitute, marking the questionable one as Do Not Use. This all happens within the drive unit, and the OS never even knows about this - it only knows the drive keeps on working well with no errors. But the drive does keep track of how many spare good sectors it has used up. Eventually if the spare stock gets low, it sets an alarm in the SMART data on its own board. Any utility tool that checks the SMART data will see this and tell you that there is an advance warning to check out. This particular one means two things: for some unexplained reason, there have been a LOT of bad sectors that needed replacing; and, the stock of good spares is getting low, so the hidden process may NOT be able to keep saving your ass for much longer. So, replace this drive NOW before it turns into a disaster.

This is the ideal scenario. The result is that, entirely in the background and beyond the view of your OS, the HDD's on-board smarts have been monitoring your disk and making sure that potential problems from bad sectors have been avoided and you have lost NONE of your data. Two things can happen that disturb this scene. One is that a sector could go bad for some unknown reason and you just don't happen to try using it, so no read-and-check-it operation gets done there. It is undetected. The other is that whatever the problem is, it is so severe that the data actually is corrupt, not just hard to read. In that case the data copied from the failed sector to the known-good one will be bad, but at least your file will be usable (at least, likely it will) but with an error in it. If either of these happens, that is one way that Windows Scan Disk (which knows nothing of all this background activity) can find a "Bad Sector". Its way of handling that is to make NO attempt to recover the data. It will simply mark that sector in its own data tables as one to be avoided at all times.

One way to force a HDD to do a thorough complete survey of itself and fix EVERY questionable sector with this process is to do a Zero-Fill operation. That tells the HDD on-board system to use a built-in routine to write all zeros to each and every sector it is using, then read it back and test the signals for reliability. Any that are questionable will get substituted, just like the normal process. By the time it is finished and assuming there are not TOO many bad sector substitutions, ALL of the sectors it is using will be good. BUT you have destroyed all data that ever was on the drive. If you then use Windows' tools to Create a Partition and Format it, Windows will find ONLY good sectors, because that is all the HDD's system makes available. Windows never knows anything about the hidden stash of good spares, or the list of bad sectors the disk will not use.

How many bad before you worry? I'm not sure, and I assume it is a proportion of the disk space. The number may actually be displayed to you by the diagnostic test suites. I go by the SMART system info. It it is happy, so am I. If it says that too many have been substituted and the stock of good spares is running low, I believe that and replace the drive ASAP.
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March 11, 2010 1:34:56 PM

i use hd tune to see the smart data. a 5 year old wd drive that has been running for 5 years reports no bad secters, but a 2 month old seagate reports 5 that were moved and 3 pending and 3 unrecoverable.

im fine with not doing a zero write, now that i was told by seagate that long drive self test should do more or less the same outcome as zero write but in windows. doing that and a full format is paranoid enough... i think.

can you tell me anything about pending and unrecoverable sectors, other people told me things without ever explaining what they were
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a c 348 G Storage
March 11, 2010 1:59:56 PM

No, I can't give you the proper explanations, try looking up on the web. "Moved" and "Unrecoverable" seem reasonably clear, but I'm not sure what a "Pending" status means - that is, why has it not yet been Moved?
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March 11, 2010 2:03:22 PM

i dont understand that either, and apparently it can only be fixed by touching the file manually, but i have no idea where they are.

i was told to download a Linux distro, cant spell it, and it will erase and rewrite every file, and that will get rid of it, but that always sounded to risky to me.
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