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How bad are bad sectors on a hard drive really? If a tool (e.g. disk utility from ubuntu/gnome) reports bad sectors on a disk, what is the expected time to death? (assuming the bad sector did not damage any existing files).

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On second read one could understand death of disk or death of system by unbootability, or better written unavailability of boot capabilities. – uprego Dec 13 '13 at 8:53
Related: Bad Sectors on Hard Drive – Michael Kjörling Dec 13 '13 at 15:37

Depends on the file system format and the pace of physical degrading.

In case of traditional hard disk drives, since the Seagate Barracuda series arose circa ten years ago, I lost no disk because of bad sectors, but earlier than those disks I remember that already FAT32 and NTFS where enough good handling them.

So I would expect a very good support of bad sectors by FOSS file system formats and tools.

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As long as the number of bad sectors doesn't grow… If it grows, then backup your data and replace the hard drive. – Alexey Ivanov Jan 2 '14 at 8:05

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