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I had a HDD with several bad sectors on it. It caused 100% disk utilization problem. So I put a new SSD and put old one in the place of DVD ROM using caddy. I installed clean Windows on SSD (keeping both SSD and HDD inside). But after an hour Windows told that hard disk needs to be replaced (listing partitions that belonged to the old HDD).

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Then I shut down the PC and restarted, but then it did not start. Dell logo flashed and then instead of booting Windows, it gave blank screen with blinking cursor. So I ejected the caddy with old HDD and restarted. Still same: blank screen with the blinking cursor. So I reinstalled clean Windows 10 with only SSD inside and finally got back the working machine. But now I am thinking whether I should put back the caddy with old HDD in. Is there any risk in using old HDD? I mean I know I may loose some data...but apart from that will it cause any harm to other components of my laptop? Should I completely abandon the old corrupted HDD? I know two partitions on it are perfectly good. Only one is screwed. Also was that blank screen with blinking cursor issue due to faulty old HDD?

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The HDD is unlikely to cause harm. There's nothing destructive about reading a dead HDD, except to the data on that HDD. That said, the BIOS might do a scan of drives during the POST and choke on the suspect HDD, hence the blank screen. Windows will also likely try to do all sorts of writes to it automatically to maintain things like search databases and indexing, unless you manage to turn all that off. This probably explains why you got the message after an hour.

Ultimately, the suspect HDD is probably going to cause you more drama than it is worth. If you really want to keep it around, consider an external USB enclosure and only mount it once Windows has booted.

  • I concur with Heath's assessment -- it's probably best to just toss the disk in the trash, with the caveat that you might want to wipe it first to ensure nobody can access any sensitive personal data that might still be recovered. Continuing to use the disk should not harm anything else, but it's likely to be more hassle than it's worth. Also, disk problems tend to get worse over time, so you can't trust the old disk with anything even remotely important. – Rod Smith Jun 10 '17 at 23:40

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