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I already have Windows XP, During installing Ubuntu(dual boot) the disk drive just stuck up at one place and doesn't seem to move ahead..
Is there a disk bad sector mark utility that just marks these sectors so that the disk doesn't seek them later.
I tried running Seagate Seatools on the drive but both the short test and long test fail even before they start even chkdsk /f/r doesn't seem to work as the system locks up at stage four.

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Virtually all modern (i.e. last 15 years) drives, mechanical and SSD alike, detect bad sectors on their own and remap logical sectors to good physical sectors from a reserve pool. By the time it gets to the point where you are seeing repeat read errors on certain sectors, the drive is in very bad shape as this generally means it's used up its reserved pool completely and can't do any more remapping. You can check the reallocation count in the SMART statistics, but if you see a drive in this condition it's time to get a new drive immediately. –  Jason C Jun 29 at 23:15

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

SpinRite from GRC is well known as a disk recovery tool.

It will scan all sectors, try to recover the data if possible and mark defective sectors so they're not reused. Worked fine for me in a few occasions.

It's not free though: $89.00

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Well I tried using SpinRite but it wastes a lot of time recovering data from the bad sectors and I don't want that I just want a tool to mark the sectors bad and move on... –  Kevin Boyd Oct 7 '09 at 6:49
Spinrite doesn't mark defective sectors. It lets the drive do it itself (also in general it makes no sense to mark bad sectors on modern drives, they do it themselves and the mapping of sector addresses to physical sectors isn't constant anyways). It's also fairly useless for drives with actual damage, and very dangerous for drives where the damage increases with activity e.g. flaked magnetic coating, etc. –  Jason C Jun 29 at 9:13

Sorry, but this just doesn't make any sense to me...

With hard drive prices under $50... WHY would you even think about installing ANYTHING to a hard disk that fails ANY tests?

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Perhaps he has a PATA drive and they are getting harder to come by? Or is looking for a freeware solution to save ~$50 ? –  Davy Landman Sep 27 '09 at 8:26
No actually I have a SATA and I am looking for FOSS solution. –  Kevin Boyd Sep 27 '09 at 8:33
Well, I have to say, I consider this VERY unwise. With drives as cheap as they are, I don't understand why you would risk your data on drives that have already indicated they are failing. It just doesn't make sense to me. –  Multiverse IT Sep 27 '09 at 9:56
A couple bad sectors in itself isn't necessarly a sign of doom, but having an installation freeze up is a sign of impending catastrophic failure of the mechanical subsystem. tl;dr: get a new drive. –  Bigbio2002 Aug 26 '11 at 20:19
Today's hard drives have spare sectors that get remapped - if they get used up, then the bad sectors start appearing when you ask tools like chkdsk to check the disk. At that point there's a lot more than a couple of bad sectors... And given the cost of hard drives, why not just replace the drive to ensure you data is safe - the drive WILL fail... maybe it'd be fine for months or years, but it WILL fail and a new drive is less likely to fail as quickly. –  Multiverse IT Aug 27 '11 at 15:51

IIRC, all modern drives has the ability to mark some bad sectors & continue operation. I'm currently reading.

Bad block HOWTO for smartmontools

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If you don't care about the data you can use the "seatools for DOS" boot disk to scan for bad sectors or, as it's the drive (not the software) that detects and relocates bad sectors any process that can reads all the sectors on your disk without crashing when it finds a bad one should trigger the swap out. If you have can boot your ubuntu live CD simply pop open a terminal and use dd e.g. dd if=/dev/sdX of=/dev/null bs=512 conv=noerror

Some newer drives have a block size of 4096 rather than 512.

Spinrite does 2 things nothing else that I'm aware of does (which is why I own a copy). It can recover data from a bad sector (rather than erasing it like all the other tools) and it can 'refresh and verify' the disk surface meaning it reads and writes each sector twice to catch sectors that are near to failure.

Ignore the guy who's telling you to just get a new drive, a few bad sectors does not always indicate a failing drive, they are more often than not caused by unexpected power loss and there is nothing mechanically wrong with the drive. Modern drives have a huge gross error rate by design (the market preferring capacity to reliability) and are correcting a surprising number of errors every second even on new drives. The odd 'bad' sector is neither here nor there when you consider the size of modern drives and $50 is a useful amount of money.

Also it;s worth bearing in mind even brand new drives come with bad (already reallocated) sectors and always have. Back in the day you had to program these into your operating system by hand when you installed the drive from a list the manufacturer provided with the drive. People who reckon a single bad sector indicates you drive is near deaths door know nothing.

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You can try using HDD Regenerator to fix the bad sector. But this software is not free. I have experience with bad sectors and my HDD works normally after using this software.

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  1. very first thing backup your important data.
  2. scan the full hard drive with windows scan disk utility.
  3. if you find bad sectors on hard drive then note down which partition has bad sectors. 4.recreate the partition and exclude the bad sector area and a little more area around bad sectors.
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