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Is my Hard Drive failing?


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#1 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 09:30 PM

 My computer has always ran fine and I suspect it will for longer (I hope). I have always been a person that is scared to death of a hard drive failure.

I have put together several reports and pictures of scans. The bad sector thing is scaring me though because I called a guy at a computer repair shop and he said that 1 or more bad sectors indicated an imminent hard drive failure. I don’t even care about my personal files, the only thing I care about is having a complete windows files backup so I can put them onto another (not broken hard drive) to store  and then put on a large hard drive to have Windows Vista back when I get the money to get a larger hard drive (I’m completely broke) and boot of my Windows files and then build up my programs again. Or if any of you people at Bleeping Computer know of a downloadable Vista installation CD I could use that. I would really just like to know; Is my hard drive failing, Do I need to make a backup, What Windows files do I need to backup (I already have the C:\Windows part backed up).

 

I am very scared that it might fail, I need to know if it is to I can take appropriate action. Please read the information I have given you. It should be more than enough. I also do NOT have internet access on my desktop, I am running my Toshiba Satellite A60 Laptop that has wireless (the desktop is the one with the hopefully not imminent hard drive failure), I CANNOT do anything on my Desktop that requires internet. If anything needs to be done outside of the operating system I have Ubuntu on a dual boot on a different hard drive (that how I copied my entire C:\Windows folder).

 

            Attached File  Hard Drive Information.zip   377.53KB   4 downloads

 


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


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#2 James Litten

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 10:37 PM

Hi

 

Yes, your hard drive has a lot of what are called 'soft bad sectors'. These are bad sectors that have been encountered but not yet proven to be completely unrecoverable. There are currently over 800 of these and the immediate concern is that they may be increasing. The drive will fail but there is no way to know when based on this data. It could be today, it could be ten years from now. It all depends on where the bad sectors are and whether or not more sectors are going bad.

 

If your computer has a valid product key for Vista on a sticker on it, you should be able to get a Vista CD from the computer's manufacturer.

 

Other than reinstalling, you can attempt to clone or image the drive. It can be difficult because of the bad sectors. I would use GNU ddrescue for that but it is an involved process that may be more than you want to do.

 

Perhaps someone else can join us and suggest cloning solutions that are easy and handle bad sectors gracefully.

 

-=[ James ]=-



#3 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 10:51 PM

That is very good information, but do these "soft bad sectors" cause any harm. I need to use my computer because I use it a lot. The only reason I am even posting is because the guy at the computer place said it is cause for concern. I am also unable to make an image (because I wouldn't have enough space to keep the file) and I don't have the sticker because when my cousin got the computer the sticker was already off of it (I don't know why). I just want to know if I should be worried or will it be at LEAST a couple months until it fails or doesn't fail.  


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#4 James Litten

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:18 PM

It could go at any time. There is no way to tell based on the data that you provided.The drive is bad and should not be trusted. Odds are that its condition will continue to degrade. I would definitely backup anything important on it.

 

-=[ James ]=-



#5 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:26 PM

All I care about are the windows files required to run windows vista. I need to know what files to backup so I can put them on my flash drive. 


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#6 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:30 PM

It could go at any time. There is no way to tell based on the data that you provided.

 

-=[ James ]=-

 

What other data do you need. I can provide you with anything you want.


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#7 James Litten

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:07 AM

Hi

 

The other data would take a lot of effort to get and unfortunately would not solve the problem. In fact if the drive's data is degrading then gathering this data could certainly bring about its demise much quicker. It would entail identifying the locations of the bad sectors, identifying what files are affected by the bad sector (specifically, any system files) and determining if the number of bad sectors is increasing (by trying to force potentially bad sectors or monitoring for them over a period of time like a week).

 

As far as copying files to keep Vista running on a different drive, you'd have to copy all of the Windows files including system and hidden files and folders. I'm not sure how to do that by simply copying specific files to a USB drive. I use imaging or cloning utilities for that. Maybe someone else can answer that.

 

-=[ James ]=-



#8 James Litten

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:15 AM

I want to add that you've done an excellent job of identifying this potential disaster. I can say that you can find the product key of your Windows Vista install using Belarc Adviser

http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

 

It will be listed in the area called Software Licenses

 

I can't help you as far as getting a Vista install disc or ISO but with that key you should be able to use any Vista disc of the same version as your install.

 

-=[ James ]=-



#9 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:39 AM

Thank you for your help. This Toshiba I am running off of right now (to post this) was made in 2001. The hard drive is perfectly fine! ZERO bad sectors and ZERO problems. I like Toshiba. And the product key is all I would need to re-install Vista (BECAUSE DEAR LORD I CAN'T AFFORD TO PURCHASE WINDOWS 8.1 (not to mention that it sucks :killcomp: )) If you find out anything about the install ISO reply back as soon as you can. I have always had a lot of faith in that computer, that it would work forever. I REALLY WISH THEY WOULD PUT MORE MONEY INTO HARD DRIVES.

 

Anyway now that I got that out of my system, you got any cheap good hard drives that have the same capacity as mine. 


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#10 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:51 AM

How do you identify the location of the bad sectors?


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#11 James Litten

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 10:04 AM

I was serious when I said that doing that will likely cause the drive to fail quicker and you have stated multiple times that you need this disk to last as long as possible. Knowing this information will not allow you to effect a repair. It will just tell you how dangerous the current bad sectors are by letting you know if they are affecting system files. I'll say it again just to be clear.

 

The process of discovering the locations of the bad sectors will likely cause the disk drive to fail much quicker.

 

If you want further instructions for this, then someone else will have to provide them since I can't offer instructions for something that has no benefit and will likely cause harm. I'm sorry.

 

 



#12 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 06:33 PM

I'm sorry I misunderstood you. I thought you said to find the bad sectors and isolate them. Anyway thank you sooooooooo much for your help. I am going to call this closed (even though I don't want to) Happy Computing! :busy:!!!!!!!!!!


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.





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