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Bad Sectors on Hard Drive

ISSUE:
I have an external HDD that I recently lent to my cousin. He has this problem that whenever he connects a flash drive or a memory card to his PC, they all develop a bad sector.
My hard drive was with him for a few days and now when I connect my hard drive, it takes ages to read the data. Whats worse that I can not open any picture or sound files on the external HDD. My explorer.exe crashes if I try to do so.
It is a 500GB WD External HDD that is almost full. So, please lemme know how to get it working to normal again!

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marked as duplicate by Xavierjazz, Synetech, Randolph West, 8088, Canadian Luke Aug 20 '12 at 4:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Chkdsk? Spitrite? What have you tried? –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 19 '12 at 18:56
    
I tried trying to fix the sector errors as right_click->properties->tools->error-checking but then the process never starts. It is unable to check for errors –  Fasih Khatib Aug 19 '12 at 18:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you can connect that hard drive internally (take it out of it's case and connect to a SATA/PATA header) it might be able to detect errors and correct them. It will certainly do it faster than any USB connection might allow.

And assuming there's no virus, what it sounds like is that his system or even yours may be trying to defrag that hard drive whenever it's plugged in. So when you suddenly disconnect a hard drive while data is trying to be written (or moved) you wind up causing all kinds of problems - just like that. This is why it's so important to use the disconnect and eject media options in the systray.

So right now, you're best option might be to try and copy everything you can over to a safe or alternate location. Do it now while you still can. This will obviously take some time to do too. That's just advice in case the stuff on it is stuff you care about. You may even want to try this from a different computer too. Then again, perhaps booting a live Linux system or something like your HDD's manufacturer recovery disk might be something to consider for this data recovery process - just not Windows.

Then, as I said, you may want to consider connecting that drive internally and scanning it for problems. Again, this may take some time depending on the damage that was done. It may also come to light that your external HDD has tripped it's SMART flag too which is all the more reason to get your data off of it - or at least copied.

That's what I would do. First limit the damage by getting whatever data I can still get. Then and only then would I try to fix the problem. Good luck.

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If the drive behaves weird, check it's S.M.A.R.T. status with a tool like GSmartControl. Do not attempt to write to the disk (e.g. by letting chkdsk reapair file system errors) until you know it is healthy.

Depending on the worth of your files, do a sector based backup immediately. I recommend using ddrescue as it is designed to handle read errors as good as possible.

You might get better results if you access the drive directly and not through a USB bridge which you probably use at the moment.

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It passed the test! I updated the drivers and it seems to work fine now but relatively slower. Any cure? –  Fasih Khatib Aug 20 '12 at 6:30
    
It has file system errors! what to do now? SMART status is good! –  Fasih Khatib Aug 20 '12 at 6:41
    
What kind of drivers did you update? That should not have been necessary. Which test did you run? Any (recent) entries in GSmartControl's error log? And what about Windows event log? Have you tried to access the files from a Linux live system like Knoppix? Also check if dmesg shows errors when accessing the disk. Edit your question and add what you found out. –  Gurken Papst Aug 20 '12 at 16:17

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