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I've seen a lot of hard drives with only a few bad (unrecoverable) sectors (as indicated by SMART). Of course the proper thing to do with a bad drive is replace it, as there's a good chance of the drive crashing completely in the near future; I'm aware of that. However, in the interim, or for those who don't want to spend $70 to save data they don't value highly anyway (sigh, non-technical people), or just to get some use out of old hardware instead of throwing it away, I'm wondering if there's a way to identify where the unrecoverable sectors are ("where" meaning numerically, from 0 to the number of sectors on the drive), so I could stick a blank partition in that general area. Yes, this would involve low-level-formatting the drive and reinstalling the OS, of course.


Would partitioning around unrecoverable sectors even be a workable way of reducing the disk of losing data?

If so, is there a way to find the location of these unrecoverable sectors?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Renan, wizlog, Tog, Dave Feb 22 '13 at 11:45

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.

Not so relevant, but in my opinion the time you are about to spend on research and on implementing this, will cost you more. in addition, what about the disk life ? if it is damage, why you think this is a patch ? and no more sectors will go bad in the near future ? – ilansch Feb 21 '13 at 21:44
To respond to the duplicate question flag: drives can only remap a few dead sectors, and when there are more than that any basic drive utility will do nothing. The accepted answer on that other question costs more than a drive, so that's not too helpful. @ilansch yeah no I definitely don't make that much money. And I'm under the impression a disk head crash should only damage a few sectors, so why on earth would more sectors go bad? – Marcus Chan Feb 21 '13 at 23:34
@Marcus Chan, When the head crashes it physically damages the coating of the disk. Debris from this sticking to the heads will cause further crashes. – Tog Feb 22 '13 at 9:40

I believe the "badblocks" linux utility can do this. (You might need a Linux boot disk to use it, unless you have a Linux like OS).

As the other posters have said though, this is an incredibly bad idea, and I would refuse to do it on principle. Once a disk starts going bad it is likely to get worse. There are many reasons for this, one of the easiest to understand is a tiny bit of the surface coming off the disk, and then being used as an abrasive which scratches the rest of the disk - which is spinning at high speed. Invariably if a drive is getting damaged sectors it is an early sign its going to die.

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