I have a hard drive (a samsung product). I couldn't boot into Windows, so I tested the hard drive using Samsung's Utility available at: http://support-us.samsung.com/cyber/popup/iframe/pop_troubleshooting_fr.jsp?idx=51176&modelname=HD250HJ1

On running the scan, I see that the disc has LBA errors.

What exactly is an LBA error? any way to salvage the data, or the Hard drive?

up vote 10 down vote accepted

the Hard drive check utility had suggested that I format the Hard drive. Does that mean that I can safely use the disk after a low level format & it won't have any issues?

If you provided more information both about the model of drive you are using as well as about the errors the Samsung utility reported you might get better answers. Without knowing the details of your situation all we can really do is speculate. Well, that, and perhaps wave our hands wildly in the air for emphasis.

LBA is an acronym for Logical Block Addressing. In this case I assume it is just another, possibly more technically accurate way of referring to a "bad sector".

Unless your hard drive is very old, the file system of your OS probably didn't even know anything had happened. For a while now the firmware in hard drives has been transparently handling sector write errors by remapping the sector to another location on the drive. If you were able to copy all the data on this drive and no errors were reported it seems quite possible that the offending sector was not even being used (yet) by your file system. The bad sector may have only been discovered because the Samsung diagnostic tool you used performed a complete scan of all sectors on the drive.

The first thing to do in a situation like this is to save your data, which you've done.

Next I would recommend that you look at the S.M.A.R.T. data for the drive. Perhaps the Samsung diagnostic can do this for you. If not, there are freeware utilities available that will do this for you. In particular, see what the values of the following S.M.A.R.T. attributes list below are.

  1. ID 005 (0x05) Reallocated Sectors Count
  2. ID 188 (0xBC) Command Timeout
  3. ID 196 (0xC4) Reallocation Event Count
  4. ID 197 (0xC5) Current Pending Sector Count
  5. ID 198 (0xC6) Uncorrectable Sector Count

Note: Your drive may not implement all of these attributes. You can refer to this table for a description of an attribute.

What "hard drive check utility" did you use? Did it provide any other information other than the recommendation to format the drive?

For what it's worth, there really is no such thing these days as a "low level format" of a hard drive. That term hasn't really had any meaning for a hard drive for at least a decade or two now. All you could do is a file system level format of (a partition on) the drive.

The rational behind this suggestion may be to attempt to "force" the drive to remap a sector which so far has only failed when read. (See the description in the table for ID 197 (0xC5) Current Pending Sector Count.)

If that is true then a "format" would only be of use if each sector was written to not just read from. As an alternative, you could use a disk erase tool which wrote zeros to every sector on the drive. That might be what you want to try to do if the drive's Pending Sector Count remains non-zero.

How "safe" would it be to continue to use this drive? Who knows??

It certainly is always a good practice to ensure you have a backup of your data. Beyond that I would suggest continuing to monitor the S.M.A.R.T. attributes to see if the drive continues to degrade over time. A bad sector or three is more or less expected these days and is not in and of itself a reason to stop using a drive.

However, I would view a pattern of repeated and typically escalating failures over time as a sign of impending drive death. If you see this and the drive is still in warranty, ask Samsung to replace it.

  • Last paragraph was helpful. I was concerned about these kinds of errors, but it stopped increasing now – Anwar Mar 21 '17 at 12:57

Most likely they are bad sectors on the drive, Have you connected the drive to another PC using a usb adapter, see if you can see any files, maybe copy them off?

If you cannot see any files on the drive then I suggest using this software to try and recover the bad sectors then try to copy the data off.

http://store3.esellerate.net/store/ProductInfo.aspx?StoreIDC=STR793615240&SkuIDC=SKU9923428806&pc=

  • That's what I did. I used a Linux live CD, to copy all the data to an external Harddrive. I have a follow up question: the Hard drive check utility had suggested that I format the Hard drive. Does that mean that I can safely use the disk after a low level format & it won't have any issues? – Devdatta Tengshe Jul 22 '10 at 5:00
  • No necessarily, if there are truly bad sectors, most likely more will happen in the future, but sometimes sectors get marked as bad when they are recoverable, that is what that regenerator software is for, it will try to recover sectors marked as bad. – Moab Jul 22 '10 at 21:41

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