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I have a Seagate internal hard disk drive. I recently opened up my laptop [Dell Inspiron N5010] [Warranty has expired], cleaned it and it worked normally after waking up from hibernation. However, when I restarted it, it stuck on windows loading screen, then tried to boot from Dell recovery partition but failed. It gave the error:

Windows has encounter a problem communicating with a device connected to your computer. 

This error can be caused by unplugging a removable storage device such as an external 
USB drive while the device is in use, or by faulty hardware such as a hard drive or 
CD-ROM drive that is failing. Make sure any removable storage is properly connected 
and then restart your computer 

If you continue to receive this error message, contact the hardware manufacturer. 

Status: 0xc00000e9 
Info: An unexpected I/O error has occurred. 

While cleaning, I had mistakenly touched the round silvery thing at the bottom of the HDD. I don't know whether this has caused the problem or not. Since I have Fedora also installed in the same HDD, I can boot from it but it shows weird read errors when I ask it to mount Windows partitions. The disk utility also says that the Hard Disk has many bad sectors and needs to be replaced.

I downloaded Seatools from Seagate website and used it. In the long test, I gave it permission to repair the first 100 errors which it did successfully. Now I am confused at what I should do.

Internal Hard Disk Costs: 
a.  Internal HDD 500GB Costs: Rs3518 
b.1 External HDD 500GB Costs: Rs3472 
b.2 External HDD 1TB Costs: Rs5500 
c.  Internal to External Converter Costs: Rs650 

I have the following options: 

(i) Buy an External HDD, backup my data. Try to repair bad sectors of HDD. Then two cases arise: 

(a) My Internal HDD gets repaired [almost] 

(b) My internal HDD doesn't get repaired. Then I need to buy another internal HDD and replace the damaged one. OR break the seal of the external one and put it inside my laptop as internal. Breaking the case involves risks. 

(ii) Buy a Internal HDD and an Internal to External Converter Case [Not very reliable], backup my data. Try to repair bad sectors of HDD. Then two cases arise: 

    (a) My Internal HDD gets repaired [almost] 

    (b) My internal HDD doesn't get repaired. Then I need to just put in the new internal HDD I just bought. 

Experts, please guide me as to what will be the most VFM option? Also, if a HDD is failing, is it that I shouldn't read from it too otherwise there is a chance of other sectors failing? What I mean is, is it wrong to read from the HDD without taking backup first?

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closed as off topic by Paul, BinaryMisfit, Journeyman Geek, 8088, Synetech Dec 4 '12 at 18:13

Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Take a backup immediately and buy a new drive. Shopping questions are off topic: faq – Paul Dec 4 '12 at 9:33
@Paul Internal or external? Please provide suggestion according to my question. My question is not which company's product I should buy. My question is what option should I go for. – Nehal J. Wani Dec 4 '12 at 9:38
Just to note, unless you've damaged something through static, touching the external parts of the drive shouldn't damage it. – Journeyman Geek Dec 4 '12 at 10:33

An drive with actual bad sectors is bad. You can not repair it.

What your repair program seems to do is 'repairing' a sector by marking it as bad, and then using another sector. This is similar to 'repairing' a page in a book by trying to read it real hard, and copying the contents to another page.

However the drive itself already does similar things. When you (as end user) get to the point where to drive fails to remap sectors on its own it already has repaired a lot of problems. Usually this is not the start of problems, this is when they get to the point where you throw away the drive.

You can check this by reading the S.M.A.R.T. values of the drive.

If your BIOS has support for it then the BIOS can check those values. Many BIOSes do, and a repair increase in bad sectors results in a warning (SMART: drive failure imminent. Press F1 to continue) before you start loosing data. If you have support for this then turn it on in the BIOS.

Anyway, the internal drive is bad and you only have two realistic options:

  1. Get a new internal drive. (either HDD or SSD). Throw away the old one.
  2. Throw away the internal drive, leave the bay empty and carry around an external drive connected to eSATA.

I do not think anyone would choose 2.

As for the old data, restore what you need from your backups.

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What if Seatools is able to repair the bad sectors? – Nehal J. Wani Dec 4 '12 at 10:11
Bad sectors can not be repaired on a modern drive. Either they are bad forever, or require a low level format. Which is usually a factory only thing. The best it can do it mark the sectors as 'bad, do not use'. That is not the same as repair. Also, compare it to a book where pages start falling out. You decide to skip the pages which have already fallen out. But when a book is at the point where it randomly looses pages you can not trust the other pages to stay either. Same with a HDD and sectors. – Hennes Dec 4 '12 at 10:18
Most (all?) modern drives have spare sectors that they use as a replacement for failing sectors automatically. Read errors are transparently handled by retrying the read until it is successful, marking the defective sector internally as bad, and using a spare sector as a replacement for the failed sector in future reads. "Bad" sectors are failing sectors that could not be read at all, so they could not be remapped to a spare sector. If you see bad sectors on the OS level, the remapping failed to unrecoverable errors, or because the disk ran out of spare sectors. – TheBlastOne Dec 4 '12 at 10:34
@TheBlastOne All modern drives do, in fact one of the things that differentiate consumer grade drives from enterprise grade drives is the % of the physical media the data is stored on that is dedicated to those replacement sectors. The term for this is in the SSD world is Over-provisioning but the same concept happens in the HDD side too. – Scott Chamberlain Jun 20 '14 at 21:12

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