Bad Sectors - Any Advice?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Nailzaz, Oct 25, 2007.

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  1. Nailzaz

    Nailzaz Registered Member

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    Hello Forums,

    I recently purchased 4 hard drives (for external backups) and after imaging my main drive last night, I received an error message and it had to do with bad sectors. I ran chkdsk (Vista) and it found them and repaired them.

    I would like to know:

    1) Is this a common issue and one that I should be concerned about?
    2) Does this mean that I should return the hard drive(s)? Exchange them?
    3) Does chkdsk fix the problem - in other words, am I OK to backup my data to these drives now or will the problem continue?
    4) I see in my BIOS an option for enabling S.M.A.R.T., I'm not sure what that does but I think it's supposed to help with hard drives going "bad" - would it help? Would it hurt performance?

    Thank you in advance for any help and advice.

    Paul
    Arizona, USA
     
  2. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    Chkdsk "repaired" the sectors so it should be fine to use the drive. If bad sectors start reappearing (a lot) then I would look at an exchange.
     
  3. FadeAway

    FadeAway Registered Member

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    You may find that if you restore one of those images, even if you
    verified it before restoration, that it will restore to the bad
    sectors/clusters and if you run chkdsk again, Windows will repair them again.

    It has happened to me, and seems to be no big thing, but I don't have
    the technical background to explain it.
     
  4. Nailzaz

    Nailzaz Registered Member

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    Okay, it sounds like this isn't a big deal.

    A couple more things...

    1. I do validate my backups

    2. There is an option in Norton Ghost 12 to "ignore bad sectors". Would you guys recommend I check this option?

    3. I was mistaken about having a S.M.A.R.T. option in my BIOS, that's in my wife's PC.

    4. This is off-topic, but may have to do with possible read/write issues. In Vista there's an option to set the drives (2 USB externals) to "Quick Removal" or "Performance". I picked "Performance" as they're always plugged-in; good choice or no?

    Great advice and it's really appreciated.

    Paul
     
  5. FadeAway

    FadeAway Registered Member

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    On the particular partition that does this, I run chkdsk to make sure
    Windows has done its repairs, before I create a new image. Then I
    don't get any read errors from the image program ATI10. Works for me.

    edit: Re-reading above, I see it might be confusing. I only run
    chkdsk once, after an image restoration, not every time a new image
    is created.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2007
  6. Espresso

    Espresso Registered Member

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  7. mikeo1313

    mikeo1313 Registered Member

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  8. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Checkdisk cannot repair a bad sector, it can just map it as dirty.

    IMHO the odd bad sector is fine (from a stability point of view), what you need to monitor is when the rate of gaining bad sectors increases. I've probably had 2 drives over the past 5 years that have gained the odd bad sector but never failled.

    What you need to check is that you have lost this sector. Modern hdds usually have spare sectors that can be remapped in to cover the occasional bad sector. I would run a low level diagnostic tool from your hdd manufacturer to comfirm (from their website usually).
    If it has'nt been remapped and appears as a bad sector I would return the drive as the drive should behave as new for the period of warrenty.

    As you are aware, backups are your best friend.

    Cheers, Nick.
     
  9. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    If those are your backup drives, I would disconnect them after a backup and reconnect to make a new backup. I'd choose Quick Removal.
     
  10. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    Return the drives. I don't see bad sectors on a new drive as acceptable.
     
  11. Nailzaz

    Nailzaz Registered Member

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    I disconnected both drives, installed just one and picked Quick Removal and so far so good - no issues.

    I'm wondering if that was the problem?
     
  12. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    Maybe. Keep an eye on both drives and if any problem arises, enforce the warranty.
     
  13. mikeo1313

    mikeo1313 Registered Member

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    http://forums.getdata.com/

    points to the same place, but I noticed the title was experts-exchange... have the slightest idea how that happened...

    Its a forum on data recovery.

    Once again I'll suggest to return the drive.
     
  14. Nailzaz

    Nailzaz Registered Member

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    Hey everyone (again) and thank you for the ongoing help.

    I seem to continue to have problems with my new hard drives. I purchased 2 drives and 4 USB external enclosures for backups for 2 computers.

    Here's some thoughts and questions and would appreciate advice:

    1) I think I need to run CHKDSK on each drive, one at a time (separately) and multiple times to find out which one(s) have problems. Yes/No? If so, how many times should I run CHKDSK?

    2) Does CHKSDK create a log file or something for me to view to help me find out more information?

    3) Is there a better utility to check the hard drives (other than check disk)? CHKDSK takes a long time (thus down time) and maybe there's something out there that's either more thorough or faster?

    4) There's probably debate and/or loyalties on this, but is one hard drive or brand more reliable than others?

    5) If I need to return/exchange drive(s), what's the best way to wipe the information that's on them?

    Here is my information:
    Enclosures: (2) AMS VENUS DS-2316B2BK Aluminum 3.5" USB 2.0 Black External
    Hard Drives: (2) Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKB 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive
    Format: NTFS
    OS: Vista Ultimate (64-bit)

    Thank you again for any help.

    Paul
    Chandler, AZ
     
  15. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Until you stop getting errors, sometimes I have had to 3 times. Run in windows in read only mode, will advise you that there are errors and to run with the /f option to run at boot time to fix.

    Not sure.

    Nothing will be quicker at checking the file system.

    I would suggest seeing if you manufacturer has any tools to download and run.

    Whichever one offers the longest warrenty IMHO, have a look on www.storagereview.com.


    A giant horse shoe magnet :ninja: .

    www.heidi.ie/eraser/ is a great tool, there are others like it.

    Anytime.
     
  16. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    I wonder if any of your problems are down to the external enclosures ? Recently I have tried 3 different external sata to USB cases. Although they work, after a fashion I have found that restoring images can take ages and with one external
    the only way to restore an image was to copy the image to a partition on the desktop and restore from there. anyway I would be curious to know how the drives behave if installed inside of a desktop.
     
  17. Nailzaz

    Nailzaz Registered Member

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    Good point about the enclosures and thanks again to everyone who's given me advice.

    I did run the Western Digital diagnostics and one drive found a bunch of bad sectors but couldn't repair them and the other drive came up with "too many bad sectors to repair".

    It seems odd that multiple drives would be like this, so it could be the enclosures. I think I'll try a different enclosure, one that has known Vista support. I've been looking at EAGLE Consus N-Series
     
  18. Nailzaz

    Nailzaz Registered Member

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    Guys, this is maybe off-topic, but I was thinking - why am I using external drives for backing up anyway? I think originally it was because I thought well, I have a bunch of old IDE drives so why not put them to good use, but when I went searching today, I found that external enclosures offer SATA *internal* connections (obviously for SATA drives) with optional external connections to the computer.

    This being the case, if one has room and the motherboard for more internal SATA drives (like I do) - Why don't I just install internal SATA drives to backup to? Wouldn't it be much faster?

    I can understand if one is swapping out drives or something, but I'm not - I'm just backing up to make sure that if my main drive fails that my data is stored somewhere else.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you all. As always, thank you for the help.

    Sincerely,
    Paul
     
  19. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    USB 2.0 and Firewire are slower than SATA, but not by much. eSATA is as fast as SATA.
    Having your backup drive online (i.e. connected to the PSU/motherboard and mounted by the OS) is calling for trouble.
    The three golden rules of backup:
    - Redundancy: if possible, store multiple copies of your data (CD/DVD, external drive, online storage service, mail attachment, etc)
    - Offline: your backup files/drives should be kept away from troubles (power spikes, faulty controllers, malware, user mistake, etc)
    - Offsite: if possible, keep copies of your data away from your home/work. This is the only protection against natural disasters, thief, fire, aliens (:D). Buy a safebox and store copies of your data inside it, then give it to your mom/friend.
     
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