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My harddisk (Seagate ST3000DM001, 3000GB) is failing:

SMART readings

Also, my computer sometimes froze when I used data from the drive. I already have a new one, and all data is safe, but what can I still do with this disk? I could use it as a temp-drive, placing downloads and overnight simulations results (both which I can afford to lose) there - would that work? Is there some low-level format I can do to save as much of the disk as possible?

Ideally I would like to ask the drive to do some internal RAID-like reconfiguration and giving me e.g. 1 TB of the 3 TB as good disk, and using the remainder to do internal redundancy (as likely more sectors will be failing soon).

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closed as primarily opinion-based by techie007, Tog, Heptite, David, random Feb 15 at 15:02

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Any data on a drive that is failing is data you should be willing to lose. You won't be able to partition a drive and configure a RAID. –  Ramhound Feb 11 at 18:21
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Magnets...! The only use for a failing drive. ☺ –  Richard Le Mesurier Feb 11 at 21:52
    
Out of curiosity, for how long have you had this drive? –  Carl Feb 12 at 3:35
    
@RichardLeMesurier yes! Epic magnets. + they can hold the shiney platter to the fridge which is fun to spin every time I go to the fridge. –  Chris K Feb 12 at 4:51
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6 Answers

Trust me, the drive is already doing everything it possibly can to make as much of its capacity stable and usable for you as it can. That's what they're designed to do.

If there was a way to make it more stable without using extra drives and hardware (or doubling the cost of drives, etc.), then the drive manufacturers would have done it already. :)

If you trust it enough to hold data you can lose at any time - go ahead and use it. Otherwise, chuck it in the trash and buy a new one (or if it's new enough, return it to Seagate under warranty for a replacement).

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This disk has been released on November 2011. Most "cheap" harddrives have a 3 years warranty nowadays, so even if you got one of the first ones, you should be able to return it.

Just go on the manufacturer website. They will ask for a serial number and tell you what are your options.

I've done that many times in the past years and they always returned me a new drive in few weeks.

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If its under warranty this is the thing to do. You may need to run seatools on it, but it should buy you a few years. –  Journeyman Geek Feb 12 at 7:24
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You can make a stylish clock, like this one: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/storage/how-to-turn-an-old-hard-drive-into-a-cool-clock-692403

Alternately, the magnets inside are always fun to play with as long as you avoid catching your finger between two of them.

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Is there some low-level format I can do to save as much of the disk as possible?

No. Consumer initiated low-level formats used to be possible in the past. These days they are not. Any modern disk will not accept it, and a 3TB drive is most certainly modern.

Ideally I would like to ask the drive to do some internal RAID-like reconfiguration and giving me e.g. 1 TB of the 3 TB as good disk, and using the remainder to do internal redundancy (as likely more sectors will be failing soon).

RAID profits from having extra spindles. (more disk, move moving heads). While you can use partitions on the same disk to configure a RAID array it will seriously degrade performance.

My advice: Find out where the bad sectors are. If all the reallocated sectors originally were at the end of the drive then avoid using that part.

As for the rest: I do not think I need to repeat the warning about only storing data you do not mind losing. Personally I would not even do that, my prime options would be:

  1. Check warranty.
  2. If that is expired: Threw it in the trash to avoid future headaches.
  3. Or use it to move data between friends (sneakernet. Copies of data).
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Ideally I would like to ask the drive to do some internal RAID-like reconfiguration and giving me e.g. 1 TB of the 3 TB as good disk, and using the remainder to do internal redundancy (as likely more sectors will be failing soon).

The drive cannot do this, but you could yourself - under Linux. You would need to partition it into 3 1TB partitions, or however you like, and then junction them all into a RAID 1 or mirrored md volume using mdadm. Would be slow, but redundant. I don't believe mdadm or the "md" subsystem of Linux cares where the volumes physically are, even if it doesn't really make sense (it just cares about the size which needs to match as close as possible). I haven't tried this.

Only problem is that a lot of hard drives that are failing will stop responding randomly. You may have better luck if this is not in an USB enclosure and over SATA. You may be able to issue resets to a stuck drive using hdparm to kick it back into action (if the operating system doesn't do that automatically which I think it does) but tread very carefully with that command.

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Hare drives are consumable devices that should be replaced periodically.

You could try and extend the life of the drive a little longer with a utility like spin rite

You could use it as a secondary backup drive (not your primary backup), or cold storage of unimportant items.

Everything else is novelty:

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While programs like SpinRite are great to get the HDD to a point where the data can be duplicated its just that, a last attempt to get the drive to a state, so the data can be duplicated –  Ramhound Feb 11 at 19:05
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