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I run check disk pretty regularly on my hard drive, and lately it's been saying that I have some bad sectores (66, to be exact). I've run smartctl and HD Tune. Both tell me that I have bad sectors and the drive is in "pre-fail" stage. The drive is only a couple of years old. How worried should I be?

My drive is a FUJITSU MHW2160BJ FFS G2

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Please copy and paste your HDTune or smartctl SMART status report in so we can see exactly which attributes have high counts. – James T Jun 15 '10 at 2:21
Here's a screenshot of the HD Tune "Health" tab. I'll post the SMART status report later. – RHPT Jun 15 '10 at 3:27
wow... It has pretty much been turned on for those two years day and night. I would defiantly replace the drive. If you want some interesting reading... read Googles report "Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population" which lists reallocated sectors as one of the signs of imminent doom. – James T Jun 15 '10 at 5:31
Thanks everyone for the comments. My laptop is still under warranty, so I'm getting Dell to send a replacement. – RHPT Jun 17 '10 at 2:15
up vote 14 down vote accepted

The question isn't "How worried should I be?", it's "Can I worry enough?".

Prepare for the worst. If you aren't making backups make them now. Replace the drive and have it checked by someone else. If they confirm what your software is saying then kudos! You just avoided losing a hard drive. If they say it's fine, rejoice! There we no issues and you were scared for nothing.

Either way you win. The only way you lose is if you ignore it, don't backup, and it fails.

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Yeah, if the S.M.A.R.T status says that it failed, you probably don't have much life left in it. It is impossible to tell you how much time you have left. I just know that in my experience... when the drive says its bad... it is not very long before it corrupts data or stops working all together. Sometimes drives fail without a hint in the SMART status. Consider yourself lucky.

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Why wait? Even if SMART said the drive is fine... if you are developing bad sectors (presumably SMART would consider this indicative of pending failure), replace the drive. For $50 or less, you could probably get a drive as big or bigger that's new and less likely to fail in the near future (I've had brand new drives DOA - not often, but it happens).

Of course, you can take chances, but most people would probably be better off spending the $50 and two hours (or so) cloning the old drive to the new one (or better still, re-install - longer, but less likely to end up with corrupted files and you'll have a clean system).

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