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I have been told by separate people to use chkdsk /r and zero fill to repair my hard drive. Since chkdsk saves data and zero fill doesn't, under what cases would someone prefer zero fill over chkdsk?

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closed as not constructive by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Karan, Dave M, 8088, Canadian Luke Apr 8 '13 at 4:46

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chkdsk has little to do with RAID. RAID is a way to take several disks and set them up with redundancy (either by mirroring or by parity), and it's designed to let the system continue running even if a disk fails completely. It has no meaning on a single drive, and doesn't have error-checking on the same disk as the data it protects (as that wouldn't help if the whole disk fails); error-checking is spread, but each error-checking bit protects against errors on the other disk. –  cpast Apr 7 '13 at 2:22
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The general information on chkdsk you seem to seek is available from several sources, and your goal is unclear. If your goal is to maintain as much data as possible, then of course it's better not to perform a zero-fill. If your aim is to stress test the drive, then a zero-fill is better. Chkdsk drops data (uses 0's instead) for sectors it can't read, and makes no attempts to recover the data in those sectors. I'm voting to close, as in general, we like specific questions about specific problems here. :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 7 '13 at 2:23
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1 Answer 1

You cannot fix bad sectors. They are physically damaged and no program will solve this.

The chkdsk should detect and mark them so the system will not attempt to use them. It is recommended over a zerofill, because a zerofill will just wipe the disk losing all information, including the bad sectors markers set by chkdsk.

When a disk has bad sectors, this problem has a tendency to grow, because it can either be caused by oxidation or loose particles inside the disk, that will harm other areas and soon the disk will become inoperable. If you want a real solid solution, replace your disk.

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In addition the hard drive has reserved sectors so it can hide bad sectors by remapping them to these reserved sectors. Bad sectors can not be fixed only hidden. Programs like spinrite will try to recover the data, but usually has to move the recovered data to a spare sector. –  cybernard Apr 7 '13 at 2:47
    
@Havenard: actually this isn't the full story. Both, the file systems and hard drives themselves have mechanisms to deal with bad sectors. The hard drive itself can "relocate" bad sectors and use a reserved space as long as that suffices. Of course the description about the FS is correct. –  0xC0000022L Apr 7 '13 at 4:34
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