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Unable to correct disk errors


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5 replies to this topic

#1 richierein

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:17 AM

On an XP System I'm working on, I ran diagnostics and received about 30 bad reads. I backup up the system, re-formatted the drive (long format) and re-ran the diagnostics again. I was surprised to see the same disk errors at the same block locations. Did I do something wrong or do these bad blocks remain forever?

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#2 AustrAlien

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:45 AM

Is there only the one partition on the hard drive, so that you are free to wipe the whole hard drive? If so, I suggest running dban to wipe the hard drive. It will run 3 passes if "autonuke" is used and give the hard drive a little bit of exercise to "freshen" it up. See what the situation looks like after doing that. I have successfully recovered problematic hard drives using that technique. Also let us know what diagnostics you are using, on what brand and model of hard drive.

If blocks are indeed "bad", and not just temporarily un-readable, then they will remain that way (and multiply) ... forever, AFAIK.
=================
Download dban (Darik's Boot and Nuke):

"Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction."

If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
  • Download and install ImgBurn.
    Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
  • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
  • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image

    When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.

Boot from the CD, and with ONLY the one hard drive connected to the system ...
Warning: This will completely wipe ALL drives connected to the system!
Type autonuke at the prompt and press the <ENTER> key.
Allow to complete.
Be patient: It may take some considerable time, depending on the size of the HDD.

Edited by AustrAlien, 14 February 2012 - 12:46 AM.

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#3 Platypus

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:29 AM

On an XP System ...re-formatted the drive (long format)

With XP, the only difference between a quick and a full format is a surface integrity scan, any blocks marked bad will be ignored, and any new bad blocks found will be added to the bad block list. These surface flaws that the drive didn't leave the factory with are known as grown errors. As you've observed, they are likely to remain while they are not being written to.

Forcing them to be written to will cause the drive's internal maintenance to map them out to reserve sectors from its maintenance area, as long as there are maintenance sectors still available. You can do this as AustrAlien has suggested, or by using a hard drive manufacturer's zero-fill utility or doing a full format using a version of Windows after XP (ie Vista or later).

If after doing this the bad blocks remain, or keep returning, then the drive has run out of maintenance sectors and will probably keep getting worse.

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#4 richierein

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:18 PM

Hi AustrAllen,

I followed your instructions exactly. Ran DBAN with AUTONUKE. The default was DOD (short), 3 passes. It took 5 hours to run and came back 'Fail' with only one error. By the way, the disk was ATA Disk WDC3200AAKS-7 01.1 298GB WD-WMAT11805292. I guess that's Western Digital. It said to check the LOG for more detailed information but didn't explain how to find it. I looked in the documentation and I couldn't find anything about the LOG file anywhere. Just for kicks I thought I would try the DOD (long) method, 7 passes. This time it took 7 hours. Surprisingly it passed (NO ERRORS). WOW! How is this possible? Where did those bad blocks go? I am amazed. I re-ran the diagnostics and it also returned zero bad blocks. Many thanks to you for your assistance.

Richard
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(Moderator edit:posted E-mail address removed to prevent its harvesting by spambots. jgw)

Edited by jgweed, 16 February 2012 - 09:19 AM.


#5 AustrAlien

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 09:16 AM

No worries: Pleased to see you have had some success, and thanks for letting us know about it.

It doesn't always work of course, but it's a handy one to have in your bag of tricks!


@ Platypus: Thanks for providing the sophisticated/technical explanation.
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#6 Platypus

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:08 AM

Glad to oblige :)

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