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How to tell if drive failed due to physical damage or not

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February 18, 2012 10:07:13 AM

Hello everyone,

I have a 1.5 year old Samsung HD 153 WI that I bought second-hand half a year ago. In spite of it being an internal hard drive I used it as an external storage unit (inside a casing). A month ago I accidentaly dropped the drive in it's casing, from a small height (the height of the PC tower on which it stood). The drive wasn't operating at the moment, and when I switched my PC back on it continued to work flawlessly (I've successfully added and read a number of files).

Fast forward to a day before yesterday... while deleting some data, there was a directory that couldn't be erased as Windows kept complaining that it wasn't empty. So I run chkdsk /f and got first 8 KBs of bad sectors :( . After that I could proceed with deleting the directory. But a thought kept nagging at me so I did a chkdsk /b to rescan the entire drive for bad sectors... and that operation never completed as it got stuck at some point.

Unfortunetaly that was probably my last chance to back up the files as tomorrow they were all unreadable (perhaps due to broken indexes from an incomplete CHKDSK operation). What's more I cannot reformat the disk or zero-fill it as it gets stuck at around 15th gigabyte reporting more than 2048 bad sectors. After some experimentation I created an empty partition to take up the first 250 GBs of space and then proceeded to zero fill from there, this operation is still running and it seems that this will complete okay.

So it seems I have two options, I could RMA the drive or I could perhaps keep it and use it from the 250th gigabyte onward, knowing full well that it is probably unreliable. I don't feel completely okay about RMAing the drive as it well be my fault - the drive WAS dropped, after all, albeit a month ago.
Does this description sound like what usually happens with dropped drives, or does it perhaps sound more like an spontaneous failure?
a c 119 G Storage
February 18, 2012 3:51:41 PM

With a regular hdd that has spinning platters you are writing to the disk and by dropping it I don't see how you can damage the disk unless the arm inside somhow scratched the disk. If there is no visable damage to the outside of the hdd then they can't say that it is your fault. So I would RMA the drive and just say that there are bad sectors because you don't know for sure how you got the bad secto0rs and that is something that happens to hdd's anyway.
February 20, 2012 10:13:54 PM

Most likely one of the read/write heads is damaged. If you continue to use this hard drive you can damage the platter as well.
February 21, 2012 6:56:56 AM

Thanks for the replies, Inzone and FrankHDD.

I've read up on the subject and concluded that, given that the entire damage seems to be on the same platter, the most probable cause is a piece of dirt that somehow got on the platter (I had only 8K of damage in the beginning which then rapidly spread). Whether this has anything to do with the drop, I don't know - the drive did work reliably for a month afterward, and I have another two very old drives which had a much nastier drop and still work okay.
!