Although sector issues wont usually cause the drive to fail considering there is around 975,000,000 sectors in a 500GB hdd, once it starts they usually continue to multiply, but not always. It also may cause the files on the bad sector to become unrecoverable. There are programs out there that will fix bad sectors kinda, and they usually take days to run. Spinrite is probably the best free one out there. What it does for the most part is recover the files off of the bad sectors then it will mark the sectors as bad so that the hdd wont write to it.
If there is physical damage no software is going to fix it - free or not.
-RMA now - save yourself a headache.
No, no software will fix it and I agree, I would RMA too. The only thing software will do is mark the sectors as bad and it wont write to them. That is not ensuring that more bad sectors wont appear, because more than likely more will. But I have had hdd's with bad sectors work for a long time after spinrite was used.
Yeah but spinrite costs $89 any other freeware to do the job !
No, Sprinrite 6.0 is free on bittorrent.
As for the 'error was detected while repairing bad sectors' error on WD's diagnostic software, I have learned that running software called HDD regenerator (also free on bittorrent) bootable CD on the drive effectively remaps those bad sectors or marks those bad sectors as bad.
The problem with my drive was that there were a few 'pending bad sectors' and a full read surface scan would not force the drive to remap these bad sectors, so I kept on getting new file corruption errors on chkdsk read-based surface scans every time.
When I ran WD's windows diagnostic program (lifeguard diagnostics), it said 'error was detected while repairing bad sector' and the pending sector count was still there.
So It turns out that WD's diagnostic program does not do a write based surface test.
HDD regenerator fixed it right away. It takes a while to scan a large drive but now the drive works perfectly now. Before I though I'd have to buy a new drive. Planned obsolescence? Their own diagnostic software ought to do everything an aftermarket diagnostic software can do...
Bottom line, use HDD regenerator to get rid of your pending bad sector count SMART attribute.