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HDD Failure imminent chkdsk also hanging

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May 13, 2012 5:14:01 PM

Hi!

I've been going through some posts on these forums to find an answer to my problem, but I can't seem to find one directly so I'm posting to ask anyways. I have a 500gb HDD on my Sony Vaio (VPCF115FM) that has been telling me a HDD failure is imminent and I should back up. I have tried the Windows backup and it doesn't seem to be working, so I've taken most of my important files off manually with few problems. It seems that it is a logical hard drive failure rather than a mechanical one, and I was hoping there were ways to find the error and fix it, or at least know that it is unfixable sooner rather than later and just wipe it and start again.

I have been trying to run chkdsk, but my computer is haging at stage 4 of 5 with 14% complete on 48034 of 514288 files processed. This has gone on for about 3-4 hours now and not moved. I was wondering whether more time may allow it to continue or whether it may be stuck there indefinitly.

I also ran h2testw and it came back with a I/O error, I can't remember it exactly because I saved the log on my computer which is now stuck in chkdsk, but I believe it came back with an error at 2xd70000.

Any help would be great! I bought a new HDD from best buy and started to install Windows 7 and do some drivers, but I wanted to go back and see if this was fixable, or whether wiping it clean would be cheaper. Wiping it and starting again would be just as tedious on a new HDD and on an old one, and now I'm thinking it would be far cheaper if I didn't need a new HDD and my old one could be salvaged - repaired or refreshed.
a c 353 G Storage
May 13, 2012 6:11:59 PM

Chkdisk is a sector by sector check, and if it is hanging (i would let it run it's coarse, may take a LONGGGGG time), that is a GOOD indication to replace drive as quickly as possible.

Reason it takes so long is that when it finds a "problem" sector it will A) try to repair it, or B) try to move the data (if any) to a good sector. On these "bad" sectors it will attempt to read it multiple times.

On "marking" bad sectors. 4 sectors = 1 cluster (8 sectors x 512 Bytes = 1 4Kbyte cluster. A cluster is the smallest size a file can occupy. so if you had a very small file say 50 Bytes it still takes 4 Kbytes to store it. I think if it finds one bad sector it will mark the whole cluster as bad and try to remap it.
HDDs have a Hidden space that has extra sectors, and untill it runs out of space remapping Bad sectors from this hidden space there is not much effect - But when you run out of this space windows can not remap.
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May 13, 2012 9:36:29 PM

When you say replace the HDD does that mean that attempting to wipe it clean with something like DBAN or HDDErase won't remove the bad sectors for a clean install? Main reason I'm asking is because I'be bought a $200 HDD from best buy somewhat rashly that I was hoping I could return if I can save my old drive, or find the same HDD online as Newegg has it for less than half the price.

Thanks for the quick reply. It's been another 5 hours and still no movement.
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a c 353 G Storage
May 13, 2012 10:01:59 PM

Generally there are only two causes for Bad sectors. One is that the head is misaligned to the sectors. Normally some of the sectors contain alignment data so that the heads can maintain alignment, when it gets to far out it can not maintain the alignment. The second reason is that the head may come ito contact with the platter and if this happens the platter is damaged - This does not happen very often and is more catostopic.

The program that you mention only "wipe" the data that is it rewrites all the data to either a zero or a 1 so that the old data can not readily be retrieved. Does NOT "repaire the sector algnment. Some programs will just mark the sectors as bad. However as time goes on more and more sectors become unreadable and any sector that has data means that that file is GONE.

Give you an idea. take a file that is just 100 Kbytes. that file is recorded in 25 Clusters (200 sectors) Each cluster has a pointer to the next cluster. If Just one sector becomes unreadable, then the entire file may be totally useless. If it happens to be a system file then the operation of that program may be inoperative.

My recommendatiopn is to NOT salvage that drive. Just put the computer on hold until your new drive arrives from newegg, add add shipping for fast shipping.
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