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Windows 7: Bad Sectors - What is the best move to 'contain' it?

14 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 
Bad Sectors - What is the best move to 'contain' it?

Yes i know, my choice of title isn't that great. When i say 'contain' i meant mark them as bad, hide them somewhere and to make sure it'll not be used again (if it made sense).

This is going to be a long read. Please do take some time to read them all. Grab a couple beers/coffee, sit back and put on your reading glasses.

I have 2 HDD. 1 x 500GB and 1 x 1TB. The 500GB (C:, E:, F is my primary HDD (OS) and the 1TB (D is my secondary drive used as a storage. For this 'issue/discussion', we're leaving out the 500GB as there's nothing wrong with it (as far as i know). Instead, i think there are issues with my 1TB.

About a week back, i heard some 'robotic/clicking' sound coming from my CPU. It lasted for maybe 2/3 seconds and happened in 3 instances within the same day. I didn't think much of it and continue with whatever i was doing. The day after that incident (if i may call that), a few video files on my 1TB drive wouldn't playing smoothly. It's creating random issues such as - certain files would take ~5-10 seconds to open, a couple would play fine but at some point, it'll stop and 'jerk' (the 'hdd/activity light' on my CPU front panel would be blaring strong instead of the usual 'blink' as soon as the video 'jerks'), some files (particularly those with issues mentioned above) would not copy/paste to my other drive, etc.

This HDD is only 3 month old though (as i made a post here after purchasing it.) It's just crazy as I've never had problems with a HDD this soon. It would normally be at least a year till something annoying starts to happen. I pretty much did nothing different on this HDD as I've done on all my other secondary HDDs' in the past.


Here's what I've done so far (all done back-2-back and in correct order as posted below):
  1. Defrag my 1TB drive with O&O Defrag 14.
  2. Re-format and did a clean install of Windows.
  3. Did a 'quick test' with Hitachi Drive Fitness Test and it didn't report any issues. (did not run the complete test as it took forever and i didn't want to risk over-working/heating my drive).
  4. Ran HDD Regenerator 2011 and left it on for 3.5 hours before terminating the process as it was showing me that it'll finish in 8+ hours (too slow). Those 3.5 hour test didn't come back with anything bad.
  5. Ran chkdsk D: /f /r - (View event viewer log here).
  6. Changed my SATA cable to a brand new one.
  7. Installed HD Tune Pro 4.60. I did a Quick Scan under 'Error Scan' tab and it came back with 4 red (damaged) blocks. I then did the same scan but instead of 'Quick Scan', i did the full one. That came back clean (all green blocks). I then did another Quick Scan again to verify and this time, it came back clean (all green blocks).

Confused already? Well, i sure am. All these were done 5 days ago (the 10th).
Anyway, I've added an attachment of the S.M.A.R.T. log as seen in HD Tune Pro.

I would really appreciate if you do not post comments such as "Backup your files. Your HDD is dying". I've already backed up the few important files but not the rest as I'm running out of space on my other drive. I'm pretty much broke right now and can't afford to spend on another HDD (single father, a 6 year old, low-paying job, etc). I'm aware that my HDD is dying (a tragic death at such a young age) but I'd like to push this bad boy for all it's worth and once it's really dead, I'll send it over for replacement/service (3 month old HDD | 3 year warranty).


Your tips, suggestions, help, etc would be very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read my issue. Looking forward to read your response.



Danny




Attached Thumbnails
Bad Sectors - What is the best move to 'contain' it?-hd-tune-pro-4.60-smart-log.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Dec 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Based on the SMART data you have:

05: Count of reallocated sectors. When the hard drive finds a read/write/verification error, it marks this sector as "reallocated" and transfers data to a special reserved area (spare area). This process is also known as remapping, and "reallocated" sectors are called remaps. Unfortunately, on modern operating systems, such as Windows XP and onwards, "bad blocks" cannot be found while testing the surface, as this feature was removed. However, 3rd-party applications such as "HD Tune" and "CHIP SBIANCAMENTO" can reveal bad sectors across the entire surface, even on partitions that are hidden. Also, as the count of reallocated sectors increases, the read/write speed tends to decrease, unless the bad sectors are manually repositioned to a hidden partition, although the boot sector is always at the start of the disk, so if damage is in that area, the drive is only useful as a redundant backup drive. The raw value normally represents a count of the count of bad sectors that have been found and remapped. Thus, the higher the attribute value, the more sectors the drive has had to reallocate.

- 188 sectors of information have been relocated and old sectors deep sixed from the allocation table. 1 sector - 4kb so 188x4 = 782kb of HDD space has been closed off.

C4: Count of remap operations. The raw value of this attribute shows the total count of attempts to transfer data from reallocated sectors to a spare area. Both successful & unsuccessful attempts are counted.

- It has made a relo attempt 192 times, four of which have failed. 192-4=188.

C5: Count of "unstable" sectors (waiting to be remapped, because of read errors). If an unstable sector is subsequently written or read successfully, this value is decreased and the sector is not remapped. Read errors on a sector will not remap the sector (since it might be readable later); instead, the drive firmware remembers that the sector needs to be remapped, and remaps it the next time it's written.

- You have 24 more sectors that are toast and need to be fixed since SMART last checked (this may have improved since taking this report). This number will decrease if the drive finds it can write to the sector later on.

C7: The count of errors in data transfer via the interface cable as determined by ICRC (Interface Cyclic Redundancy Check).

- Pretty straight forward. You have a total of 21 I/O errors to date.

Now, the DATA column, depending on the manufacturer can mean what I described or it could be total bogus. There is nothing in the ATA standard that says what the DATA column has to adhere to.

SOOOO..... the burning question is WHAT TO DO.

I'd try clearing off the drive and doing a low-level format. If it fails, RMA the drive. If it passes, it should be good to go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

You could use a program called HDD Generator which will find and "quarantine" the bad sectors. Or this program may actually be able to recover those bad sectors and repair them. I've had some good success with this program.

You can find it here: Dmitriy Primochenko Online

Good luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


15 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Some thoughts..

Reallocation means the harddrive found a bad sector, and swapped it with a reserve pool of sectors. After this swap the drive should be free of bad sectors as far the OS is concerned.

So replacing the drive immediately may be an overreaction, a drive with reallocated sectors could last for years. Only thing is if the number rises steadily every few days then you've got a failing hard disk because once the reserve pool runs out it cannot hide the bad sectors anymore from the OS. Also, a drive can only reallocte a sector if you write to it or read from it. So maybe a zero-write on the drive will help identify the problem better, unless you've already done that. If the number doesnt not increase after a zero-write, it means the drive found no new potentially bad sectors that it wants to swap.

At the same time, that Ultradma crc error count indicates the drive is reading bad data, in other words it indicates emerging bad sectors.

All this is based on the assumption that HDtune is reading smart data correctly. It may not be, esp. since the hitachi test didnt show any issues.Try employing a different tool and run the tests every few days.

BTW, i think that sector size is 512 bytes, not 4kb.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jelyman View Post
I'd try clearing off the drive and doing a low-level format. If it fails, RMA the drive. If it passes, it should be good to go.
Thank you for your response jelyman.
To do a low-level format, I'd have to use the Hitachi Drive Fitness Test DVD right? I've never done this before. From your sentence, I guess it's safe to say that by doing a low-level format, it'll wipe all data. I'll try my very best to delete files that I no longer need and squeeze the rest to my 500GB and/or burn them on a DVD as a temp storage.

"If it fails.... If it passes...." After performing a low-level format, does it show if it fails or pass? If it doesn't, what do I have to do to verify if it works or not?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Serpentz View Post
You could use a program called HDD Generator which will find and "quarantine" the bad sectors. Or this program may actually be able to recover those bad sectors and repair them. I've had some good success with this program.

You can find it here: Dmitriy Primochenko Online

Good luck
Thank you but as posted earlier, I've already tried HDD Regenerator 2011. I did not complete the test as it was taking way too long. But if all fails, I guess I'll use it again and do the full and complete scan with HDD Regenerator.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Only thing is if the number rises steadily every few days then you've got a failing hard disk because once the reserve pool runs out it cannot hide the bad sectors anymore from the OS.
I've added another attachment of HD Tune S.M.A.R.T. reading which was taken a minute back. Comparing the attachment in this post and the one I posted 6 hours ago, the numbers are climbing at an alarming rate.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
So maybe a zero-write on the drive will help identify the problem better, unless you've already done that. If the number doesnt not increase after a zero-write, it means the drive found no new potentially bad sectors that it wants to swap.
No, I have not done that. How exactly do i do a zero-write? Will my data be wiped out if i were to perform a zero-write?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
All this is based on the assumption that HDtune is reading smart data correctly. It may not be, esp. since the hitachi test didnt show any issues.Try employing a different tool and run the tests every few days.
I actually did install another program called Hard Disk Sentinels the same day as i installed HD Tune. Added them in attachment.


Thank you ALL for taking the time to respond. I'll probably start doing something tomorrow as there might be more replies, etc. I really appreciate it.


Danny


Attached Thumbnails
Bad Sectors - What is the best move to 'contain' it?-hd-tune.png   Bad Sectors - What is the best move to 'contain' it?-hard-disk-sentinel.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Bad Sectors - What is the best move to 'contain' it?




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