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Laptop was acting really weird, and copy and seek times were really slow, so I decided to scan the hard drive surface. I have a couple hundred bad sectors all clustered up in last couple of gigabytes on the hard drive. If I leave that part out unformatted, will it work right?

edit: This is the situation after testing. There is visible chaos at the end. All Sentinel or HDD Regenerator tests and repairs freeze when processes reaches 99%. It found additional 1 bad sector in the middle and a weird darker green pattern at the upper part of the image :)

Chkdsk with /f or /r also freezes at 99%. Done full windows format. People say that it should remap the bad sectors, but I'm not sure it did here any good.I will just try to make a 100 GB partition for system, and see how it works.

disk surface map

4 Answers 4

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If the bad sectors are not used, then they should not cause any issues. This is assuming there isnt something more seriously wrong with the hard drive.

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  • That was my idea also, but I wasn't sure. OK, supposing nothing else is wrong with the disk, this should work then. Thanks.
    – Cornelius
    Jan 11, 2018 at 14:50
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If the errors are all towards the very end of the disk, that almost sounds like there may be some sort of compatibility issue that causes the software to not successfully reference the end sectors. That hasn't seemed like as much of an issue in recent years as LBA48 takes care of capacities in the petabyte range, and drives aren't that large yet.

However, if this isn't the result of a software bug, then you likely have a physical defect. The typical advice I've heard most often is that once a drive has some physically bad sectors, such drives tend to be far more prone to have additional physical/mechanical problems in the near future. So, you are advised to back up all desired data and then not use that drive for storing any important data.

(Often people say to not use the drive at all, but in some circumstances, it could be useful. e.g., as a cache for some sort of personal video media streaming, since if data corrupted one frame then it might really not impact you negatively. But for any data that needs to have integrity, which is probably most of the data you would care about, including computer software code which you want to behave correctly, do not use such a broken drive for such data.)

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  • It was 320 GB laptop disk. It's currently in my desktop, being scanned and regenerated, and it shows lots of bad sectors from Gib 299 - 300. I though just using the first 80% of the disk and leaving the last 20% unpartitioned could make it not irritate that area, and make it last a little longer.
    – Cornelius
    Jan 11, 2018 at 14:49
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I want to suggest the following software that can isolate bad sectors:

Repartition Bad Drive:
Repartition Bad Drive is a free utility from Abstradrome which is intended to isolate unrecoverable bad sectors from partitions. If HDD Regenerator reports that bad sectors cannot be regenerated, then the hard drive contains unrecoverable bad sectors.

Partition Bad Disk:
PBD (Partition Bad Disk) shareware can fix the bad sector problem by detecting/isolating bad sectors, partitioning the disk to exclude bad sectors from any created partition

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Modern hard disk have spare sectors for problems of bad sectors, so the question is if your visible bad sectors are only the tip of the iceberg.

For analyzing the status of the disk, you need to consult its S.M.A.R.T. data.

A nice utility for this is Speccy. Examine well the data found in the "Storage" section, and especially the S.M.A.R.T data. Speccy will tell you if the readings are normal.

If you have hundreds of problems on the disk, it is failing. Junk it or continue to use it at your own risk.

For better interpretation of S.M.A.R.T. values, see the articles :

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  • SMART and Sentinel are reporting that disk is critical and that it should be replaced. Yes, I want to continue to use it, because there is no risk, no valuable data is on it. I'm just wondering, if I exclude bad sector part and 10 GB left and right from it, will the system continue to report disk errors, and will that stop bad surface expanding? All this, of course, supposing that it is the only problem with the disk.
    – Cornelius
    Jan 11, 2018 at 14:41
  • I would suggest in this case to reformat the disk using slow/low-level format. This will re-magnetize all sectors and serve as a further test that will detect more bad sectors if they exist. If the format never finishes, or if it comes up with a horrifying number of bad sectors, then better abandon this disk, since using it will just be a waste of your time.
    – harrymc
    Jan 11, 2018 at 15:35
  • If the format succeeds, it can repair some bad sectors and strengthen weak sectors.
    – harrymc
    Jan 11, 2018 at 21:00

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