Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm trying to capture an image of this laptop, and it consistently fails (at 54%) with a CRC error. My first thought is to put the HDD in a USB enclosure and scandisk it from my workstation. IIRC, the bad-sector information is stored in the partition information (i.e. it's not OS-dependent), and the capture will no longer try to read those bad sectors when I stick the drive back in the laptop.

(I'd just boot up the drive and scan it on its own laptop, but it's already sysprepped and I'm looking for the lazy way out).

Anyway, is this a good plan, or am I wasting time, and the capture is just going to fail again at 54%?


share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Scandisk may work, but could lead to more problems as it is very rarely just one bad sector - and usually one leads to more and when you start marking, they can move around/randomise (Hard to explain, if anyone doesn't know what I mean, say in commentsand I will try to explain).

What I recommend you do is buy a new hard drive - once they start dying, it is a very steep downhill slope.

To backup your files, do it folder by folder and try to simply avoid the ones that are faulty. If you want to do it all in one go, try a Linux boot disk for the DD command, or use a tool such as R-Studio (Windows, not free) that simply can do file operations regardless of hard drive status - they will simply skip over the bad sector.

Another program to consider is Spinrite, I know numerous people who have had "miraculous" results with it (whilst others say it is a con), personally I have not used it - but just saying others seem to say it works well.

share|improve this answer
I'm not really worried about the drive, I just want to get it into a state where I can capture the image to re-deploy later. Possibly after I find a new drive for this laptop. ;) – Kara Marfia Jan 22 '10 at 20:05
scandisk may work? no it DOES exactly what it says on the tin! scandisk leading to more problems and more bad sectors "when you start marking". now that's one interesting thesis, saying that scandisk will make "random" sectors bad that weren't bad before. i'm not in the least surprised that you find it "hard to explain" that. – Molly7244 Jan 24 '10 at 12:28
@Molly I use the word maybe when the result is not 100% certain, it is awkward to explain, but as you obviously do not understand it in detail - If the hard drive has physical damage on the platter, marking bad works - it simply avoids the bad sectors and goes on. If the damage is with the motor, it may mark incorrect sectors and each time you run the command it marks more and more bad, where as if you use other tools and do not mark as bad, it is possible that you can go over the same sector numerous times and get a good read. – William Hilsum Jan 24 '10 at 13:07
the argument is rather moot, as i pointed out in my answer: if scandisk marks a sector as bad, then the operating system will give this sector a berth (i.e. not using it), however, and this is what the question is about, drive imaging software doesn't care for sectors marked by windows scandisk, and will fail at this point. – Molly7244 Jan 24 '10 at 19:09
It is possible that Scandisk will rename/move/change files if they are over a bad sector. It usually also skips over already marked bad sectors unless you do the /B command - again, as I said, "It could lead to more problems", I stand by that. It is a good program for many faults, but if a drive is physically damaged, this can put the last nails in the coffin. – William Hilsum Jan 24 '10 at 19:26

the problem with scan disk: it may mark the sector as bad alright, but that's only for the operating system. drive cloning software will fail at this point.

i would run HDD Regenerator over the drive and then image it. HDD Regenerator does a pretty good job:

HDD Regenerator is a unique program for regeneration of physically damaged hard disk drives. It does not hide bad sectors, it really restores them!

How it works:

Almost 60% of all hard drives damaged with bad sectors have an incorrectly magnetized disk surface. We have developed an algorithm which is used to repair damaged disk surfaces. This technology is hardware independent, it supports many types of hard drives and repairs damage that even low-level disk formatting cannot repair. As a result, previously unreadable information will be restored. Because of the way the repair is made, the existing information on the disk drive will not be affected!

share|improve this answer
I didn't realize it would ignore the bad sector mark when taking an image, thanks! – Kara Marfia Jan 26 '10 at 21:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .