Just how bad are bad sectors...

Well, one day when i tried to listen to an mp3, my hard disk started making a pretty nasty noise, like just a really loud access, and the computer froze. Upon restart, it booted to windows but made a nasty noise. I ran scandisk (which took forever) and when it hit 1,161,000 it started making the same noise and took a really long time. Well, after about another 20 minutes while scandisk was still incomplete, the computer froze and I had to reboot. After that the hard drive works and sounds fine. But, I ran Scandisk again and it completed without any bad noises, and reported back 32,000 bytes in bad sectors. Now, how serious a problem is this? Is it something that I should call who I bought it from and demand a replacement part, as I am sure it has some warranty. It is only about 8 months old, so that shouldn't have happened. Are bad sectors something that will only get worse over time, or is it a common occurance over time in all hard disks?

Also, does anyone know a better program than Windows' built in Scandisk? It took like 2 hours or so for Scandisk to scan my 10 GB hard disk. That just sucks. Is there anything else that is faster and better that I could get? Thanks.

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
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More about just sectors
  1. Bad sectors is usually data corruption and can be solved by a LLF (low level format). Whoever is the manufacture of the drive (Maxtor, IBM, Quantum, Western Digital, ect.)should have a utility for diagnosing problems with the drive. If you feel uncomfortable with it call the drive Mfg. and see what they will do about it? They may offer a replacement but if they have a utility like the one mentioned above, then they will probably suggest you run that first ...

    Hope that helps! *:O)

    <font color=green>"Your call will be answered by the next available Tech Support representative"</font color=green>
  2. I am having the same problem right now. I have IBM HD, brand new. I have a bad sector though, and whenever scandisk trys to fix it, the HD makes that screetching sound, and it eventually freezes. Is there anyway to fix the bad sector without losing my data on my computer? Or do I have to backit up and format the baby?

    AO Admin
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  3. i thought bad sectors were damaged parts of the hard disk? i had a bad sector on my hard disk and i sent it back for a replacement. (turned out good actually since my 27gb 5400rpm WD HD was replaced with a 32gb 7200 rpm IBM drive :-))
  4. scandisk isn't the utility you want. maxtor, western digital and others have bootable utility disks that usually come with a retail purchase of a drive (and are also downloadable) for disk imaging, partitioning, calculating drive performance, and for scanning and "repairing" damaged sectors. my understanding of the damaged sector repair is that there is a table written to of known bad sectors that the harddrive keeps tabs on and will no longer write to. i've found that these do a better job of repairing than scandisk does. often, they will give an error code if things are too bad, and you can use that when calling the manufacturer for warranty repair.

    note that if you have bad sectors and you attempt to format with the msdos utility format, it could take up to an entire _day_ or more if there are a lot of bad sectors. (i had a 1.2GB WD a few years ago that took 6 hours to format. i would hate to imagine how long a 40GB drive would take. :tongue: )

    i think the WD and Maxtor utilities want Win9X files to be loaded when creating the boot disk. you cannot create them under NT or 2000.

    if the utility that you use returns an error code, your best bet is to back it up to another drive from within the utility, then try the low-level formatting, and test the drive again. if still have errors, get it replaced.

  5. Factory low level format on new harddrive do the mapping of bad sectors (exist on every harddrive platter) where writing/reading is not reliable.
    All brands (that I know) of harddrives have 3 years warranty. We always replace harddrives that got bad sectors on our corporate computers. What’s the reason to create sudden problem to the co-workers? Never faced any problem with replacement of Fujitsu, Maxtor, IBM, Quantum with bad sector(s) on warranty. Back to my previous work in computer repair depot, a harddrive diagnosed with bad sector(s) had been replaced with a new one. On computers on warranty, without telling the customer if not asked. Never counted the bad sectors. Nobody bothered to ask how many or anything related. Not sure about low level formatting in home conditions. I was told by a technician from our main Fujitsu Service Department, that they don’t recommend to do it, and... they don’t do low level format at their depot. For me, - doesn't matter. I don’t argue with them, just have a pleasure from replacing the harddrive (with much bigger capacity, by the way).
    And I really make happy my co-worker with that new, bigger harddrive.
    Bad sector is a serious problem on the important part of a computer. Anybody fixing the engine on your brand new car yourself? Patching the tires covered by the warranty also?

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by NickM on 04/26/01 02:25 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  6. Well the problem got really bad causing the computer to consistently crash. So, I got the IBM Disk Fitness Test Utility and had it repair the drive. After it repaired it, I ran the test again and no bad sectors were found. So, time to reinstall everything (I backed up everyting important before hand though). But, my Windows ME CD is a 98 Upgrade only, and I've only got 95 on CD, which it won't let me use. So, I gotta pick up 98 SE from somewhere, which I think I will use instead of ME this time around. I'm using my other, older computer now in the meantime. So, no more Counter-Strike for a couple of days :( Thanks for the info and help everyone.

    "We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
  7. I'm not sure about WinMe, but it worked with Win98/98SE upgrade CD's: you start clean install (on formatted HDD after boot up from a floppy) using Windows upgrade CD, then the install asks you about previous Windows version. You insert your older Windows CD, show the path and continue your installation. Clean install is always better.
    Probably you know about it. Just in case.
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