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Bad sector caused by OS?


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#1 voltronDefender

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:06 PM

Bad sector/bad block caused by OS?

Hi;

I recently encountered a service technician telling me and my friend that his hdd bad sectors may have been caused by the OS itself. Is that true? How can that be? I never heard of that before...

I heard some programs/software causing bad sectors but not the OS. Before our encounter with the said service technician, we did a checkdisk/F but the bad sectors were not corrected by Windows. We used the manufacturer's hdd diagnostic/repair software. It did confirmed the presence of bad sectors and gave an option to repair it. After using it(repair function) the hdd software said it had successfully repaired the bad sectors. But after we exited and checked via checkdisk. The bad sectors were still there. Same number as it was first detected.

We ran the manufacturer's hdd diagnostic/repair software again but it said there was no bad sectors. When we did a checkdisk, the bad sectors were there. Used Auslogics Disk Defrag function of "Check for Errors" and it detected it with bad sectors(same number as it was first detected). Even used Auslogics' option to "Correct" the errors but it also cannot repair the bad sectors.

Well, the hdd was placed under RMA and will be replaced this week. But some inquiries again:

1) Is it really possible that the OS have caused the bad sectors? If so how?

2) What is more reliable..the manufacturer's diagnostic tool or Windows?

3) Is there any 3rd party software out there that can "effectively-reliably" diagnose/repair bad sectors?

4) Can you share some approaches/inputs as to what you have to do:

a) when you encounter bad sectors
:thumbsup: when the bad sectors cannot be repaired..(well, replacement (RMA) is best I believe but maybe some more ideas are around..:-)..)

5) What is the correct term...'bad sector' or 'bad block'? Or, they are both different?

6) There is a "logical bad sector(or block)"...right?....how does it differ from a "physical bad sector(or block)"?


The pc is clean from any viruses/malware. Have ran Memtest86+..no problem also whatsoever. CPU fan is working properly. No untoward shutdown errors experienced.

Thanks in advance for the help/explanation!

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#2 Neil B.

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 05:39 PM

1: Im not 100% sure, but I know that if your hdd has bad sectors, it can cause OS corruption.

2: Manufacturer

3: I either use the Ultimate Boot CD, or the Hiren Boot CD. Both of which have tools for specific hdd's by specific manufacturers.

4: Back up data, and replace. Or you could spend 500 bucks for some pro in a clean room to attempt to fix it. If you run the manufacturers tool and it fails to repair sectors, I am not sure of any other way of doing it.

5: Not really sure, I would say a block is a part of a sector?

6: logical is software, physical is hardware

#3 abauw

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:20 PM

hore...online survey...
1. your hardrive is needed by OS to run...thats mean a lots of spining...and lots of spining will make faint...
2. I prefer not to use manufacture or windows diagnostic tool...except for routine check (windows)
3. of course....but please dont ask what :thumbsup:
4. a. if under warranty and the manufacture...RMA is the number one...but if it comes to 2 brand...throwing it to trash is much better than RMA it..
5. dont know...my english is more worst than you...
6. logical can be fix...physical cant be fix...so that mean it only different on "t"

sorry if my answer not satisfied you...
but it my best answer if you ask me...

:guitar: Take me to a place where time is frozen
You don't have to close your eyes to dream :busy:
You can find escape inside this moment :smash:
And I will follow  :whistle:


#4 hamluis

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:37 PM

Bad sector (Wikipedia) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_sector

Bad Sectors On Hard Drives - http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?art...1583&page=3

What is a bad sector - http://www.tech-faq.com/bad-sector.shtml

Bad sectors...come with a hard drive. Formatting a drive doesn't repair bad sectors...nothing really does, everything does a work-around where the bad sectors are marked and not used by Windows.

Louis

#5 ReviverSoft

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 08:35 PM

My 2 cents...

1. No, it is limited to the hard drive's activity.
(However, OS related issues can indirectly affect the hard drive's activity, further leading to bad sectors)

2. Manufacturer first, third party next.
(I've used SeaTools from Seagate, to successfully remap a few bad sectors)

3. HDD Regenerator & SpinRite are popular options.

4. "cannot be repaired" = physical bad sector = time to RMA

5. " Bad block or faulty sector is the name given to a damaged area on a hard disk "

6. A logical bad sector can be repaired by remapping it to a spare physical sector.
A physical bad sector is permanent 'physical' damage to the sector, which in most cases is irreparable.

Edited by ReviverSoft, 27 July 2010 - 08:37 PM.

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#6 Platypus

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 11:13 PM

I have some thoughts that I hope might assist.

Firstly, there are two levels of operation to think of, the physical hard drive, and the file system.

Different diagnostic/maintenance software works at different levels. The manufacturer's diagnostic software and third party HDD utilities deal with the physical hard drive. chkdsk deals primarily with the file system, second with the data integrity of the drive.

The NTFS file system is a high reliability design which maintains its own record of the drive integrity, and this will not be updated by the operation of a HDD utility remapping faulty sectors at the hardware level. Note particularly the section in the Wikipedia article linked by hamluis:

"...it will not reuse that sector and instead remap it to one of its spare-sector regions. This may be the reason why hard disks continue to have sector errors ... until all the bad sectors are remapped: typically with an entire-drive zeroing of sectors."

It's probable that you'd need to zero-fill the drive and re-install in order to clear all record of sector faults and have a fresh file system that reflects the integrity status of the hardware. It's possible that a full format of the entire drive using Vista or Win7 could have the same effect, as those OS write zeros over the drive unless a quick format is chosen. But I don't know if they operate to the full extent a HDD utility's zero fill does.

For the distinctions of sector, block and logical blocks, I'll try to explain how I understand it.

Devices in a computer can operate with two types of I/O, they can be character devices or block devices. A character device can send or receive a single character (eg a line printer), a block device can send or receive a chunk of data as a block, but cannot reference a specific character within that data (eg a hard drive). A block is the data chunk that is the smallest unit a device can input or output.

In order to deal with these data blocks especially accessing and changing individual characters, software (including device firmware) has to perform logical operations on it (storing in arrays, calculating locations etc), so the chunk size becomes a logical block - the size the software has to know about.

At any given level of access to a device, the logical block may or may not be the same size (or even the same thing) as the physical block. The basic block in a hard drive is the sector, usually 512 bytes although 4 kilobyte sectors are appearing in large drives. For a drive operating in LBA (Logical Block Addressing) mode, at the firmware level the logical block is the same size as the physical block. But for efficiency at the file system level, sectors are usually grouped into blocks called Allocation Units, or clusters, and this is defined in the partition table. The NTFS file system defaults to 4K (8 sector) clusters. This becomes the logical block size, and software accessing the drive (eg Windows kernel) uses this block size for drive I/O.

If a sector becomes faulty, the drive firmware sees a bad sector, and a bad block will therefore exist. But unless the logical block and physical block are the same size, the corresponding bad block containing that bad sector must be the larger logical block size. So in the file system, a bad block or bad cluster will be flagged, and taken out of use (in a default NTFS partition, 8 sectors will no longer be used).

So in summary:
Sector: the smallest chunk of data that passes to and from the physical platter in a drive
Block: the smallest chunk of data that can be passed as a unit by a particular stage of block I/O in a computer
Logical block: the size of a data block that software must know in order to correctly perform logical operations on it.
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#7 voltronDefender

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:26 AM

Hi all;

Wow a lot of learning here! Allow me to read them thoroughly first and I'll get back with inquiries/clarifications. Just moment and thanks!

#8 voltronDefender

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:50 PM

Hi all :woot: ;

@Neil B.;

"3: I either use the Ultimate Boot CD, or the Hiren Boot CD. Both of which have tools for specific hdd's by specific
manufacturers."
-- Have not tried both. I'll check them out thanks.

@abauw;

"4. a. if under warranty and the manufacture...RMA is the number one...but if it comes to 2 brand...throwing it to trash is
much better than RMA it..
5. don't know...my English is more worst than you..."
-- RMA is the thing to do(almost all agree on this. Have also experienced a couple of RMA's that showed the same behavior and also "not used them anymore".)
-- Your English is not bad for an average Indonesian. Have met some and their English is the same. It's okay! :cool:

@hamluis;

Nice links given. Covered almost all of my needs! Thanks! :thumbsup:

"Bad sectors...come with a hard drive. Formatting a drive doesn't repair bad sectors...nothing really does, everything does
a work-around where the bad sectors are marked and not used by Windows."
-- Yeah, I have come to think of that too after a couple of bad hdd's that were brand new only to be replaced twice via an RMA..bad sectors once identified are not anymore used by Windows. I understand from one of the links that there are many sectors that can replace a bad one. But once they are present it's only a matter of time till it fails.

@ReviverSoft:

"1. No, it is limited to the hard drive's activity.
(However, OS related issues can indirectly affect the hard drive's activity, further leading to bad sectors)"
-- Some examples please...thanks:-)

"3. HDD Regenerator & SpinRite are popular options."
-- Will take a look at them, thanks!

@Platypus:

Very clear explanation together with the quote from Louis' link! Now I understand, thank you very much. :flowers:

---


Thank you very much for the very generous replies and information. Now it's quite clear to me that even there is a slight possibility that some untoward activity in the OS "might" have cause bad sectors, it is more likely that it is a physical damage on the surface of the hdd itself and will stay there...not repaired. Identified bad sectors are present and as a result bad blocks exists. That particular area will then be remapped/re-allocated and not used by Windows again.

Almost all agree that the best approach is to back-up data and go for RMA or replacement.

While I have used a couple of manufacturer diagnostic tools for the job before, I have also have experienced varying results from them. (with the hdd concerned in this topic as mentioned we ran it and said it had successfully repaired the bad sector but when we checked it was the opposite). I used SeaTools (older version) which gave varied results when I repeat the tests done. It would fail a test then after repeating it says it's "pass". Then afterwards a "fail" again. Same conditions/same hdd. Have performed basic/advance tests on same hdd also had varied results in both the SeaTools for DOS and SeaTools for Windows. Now the new version has a "ticket-type error code" that needs to be included when you do an RMA.

In the case of the hdd concerned here it seems the manufacturer's diagnostic tool passed the hdd so it could not be placed for RMA and maximize it's usage.....

I remember in the Seatools "read me" or in the website that "...a lot of returned hdd's when inspected were perfectly good drives.." paving the way for it's development(diagnostic tool) which was improved to have a "ticket-type error code". RMA comes with a clause telling people that when they inspect an hdd and it is found to be okay they will send it back and bill the owner the cost for shipping and testing! Even the warranty was cut from 5 to 3 years.

So now if you use SeaTools and it says the hdd is okay but get a different result from a 3rd party diagnostic tool, your in an RMA dilemma. :inlove:

On the service technician that I encountered, he also could not explain it to me when I asked for an explanation. I think he was hoping that I would trust what he said making it easier for him. OS related issues are excluded from the pc warranty here. Only the hardware. :cool:

Again, thank you very much to all and indeed a lot of learning here! More power to the forum! :trumpet:

#9 ReviverSoft

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:06 PM

@voltronDefender

Having stated that it 'indirectly' affects your PC, assume you have a program that constantly freezes and that you are left with the only option of shutting down the computer abruptly, while the HDD is still being accessed. In this case, the magnetic head doesn't park itself correctly and in some severe cases, this can affect (physical sector) the hard disk. The chances of this happening are quite slim and only possible over repeated instances.

In short, not a cause for concern.

I'm sure you are an expert on hard drives now! :thumbsup:
ReviverSoft - Happy to help!

#10 voltronDefender

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 01:15 PM

Hi;

@ReviverSoft;

Expert...hmm..still not there but knowing the fact that you guys here at the forums are helping someone like me learn more is a warm feeling inside!

Oh by the way, I got this link from a friend who uses the sounds as of hard drives as reference. Might you be interested...

http://datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php

Thanks and Cheers!

#11 ReviverSoft

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 06:17 PM

Great link, might come in handy for other members @ BC.

Cheers!

Edited by ReviverSoft, 10 August 2010 - 02:15 PM.

ReviverSoft - Happy to help!

#12 voltronDefender

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 12:30 PM

Hi guys;

Still waiting on the RMA notice for pick-up.

@ReviverSoft;

Yeah, the link is good and the info is a good reference. Was surprised that there is one. HDD manufacturers are seldom open to discuss something like this openly.

Cheers!




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