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Linux said that my hard disk is failing. Then I tried to use chkdsk/r on windows. Then wipe it out using boot and nuke(dban). My laptop was running slowly back then. After 2 weeks of not using my laptop. I decided to use the built in startup checker in the bios. It checks for the memory and the hard disk. After maybe 1 hour. The startup checker said that the startup check passed. Then I tried booting up the laptop which I installed linux mint. Then suddenly it became fast again. Note that my laptop was running very slow when I used it 2 weeks ago. Could it be that the built in startup checker fixed something? Should I believe what Linux is saying?Do I really need to replace the hard disk? The screenshot below is taken after the startup check.

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Save all your important documents on the hard drive. If you can't get them back after 6 months, the hard disk is really failing. –  ta.speot.is Oct 23 '10 at 0:37
    
I love how most of the S.M.A.R.T. tools seem to give you what looks to be meaningless or wild values. I watch the reallocated count on some of my ReadyNAS drives and I've read they have from 40-60 spare sectors. I have a drive failing that just hit 20 after about a year of failing. I already have a spare drive on hand for when it finally decided to go. However, whether to trusting SMART is like starting a religious war. Both sides feel strong about their position and both sides have evidence to back their opinion up. –  Scott McClenning Oct 23 '10 at 4:20

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It's failing. Change it quickly. Don't mess around.

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+1, simple and to the point. –  Wuffers Oct 23 '10 at 0:59

I am sorry for my heretic opinion, but I didn't removed a harddisk only because of some bad sectors. Not even because of a lot. The filesystems, especially on linux, have very good badblock support. You need only to do a deep sectorlevel bad block scan - and doublecheck your backup.

If it is a server or on a machine on which your job can depend, I also suggest a change. If not, it depends on your money for the cause.

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SMART tries to predict failure based on metrics - excessive bad sectors are one metric. Considering the cost of drives today, I wouldn't chance my data - buy a new drive - You can replace it for $40 and double its size for $50.

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Well, the BIOS check seems to be checking the sectors one by one, as Linux only checks the S.M.A.R.T. status of the drive. There may be some failure inside the harddisk so it's determining the sectors for SMART wrong. SMART isn't really reliable, but I would prefer to replace the disk.

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That's a fairly large number of bad sectors and you can be sure that those aren't getting any better. I would change out the harddrive ASAP before it dies completely and takes you data with it.

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