When I tried to do a Windows Vista Complete PC Backup, I received an error message that blathered about bad sectors. Then, when I ran chkdsk /r on the destination drive, this is what I got:

C:\Windows\system32>chkdsk /R E:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Volume label is Desktop Backup.

CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 5)...
  822016 file records processed.
File verification completed.
  1 large file records processed.
  0 bad file records processed.
  0 EA records processed.
  0 reparse records processed.
CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 5)...
  848938 index entries processed.
Index verification completed.
  0 unindexed files processed.
CHKDSK is verifying security descriptors (stage 3 of 5)...
  822016 security descriptors processed.
Security descriptor verification completed.
  13461 data files processed.
CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage 4 of 5)...
The disk does not have enough space to replace bad clusters
detected in file 239649 of name .
The disk does not have enough space to replace bad clusters
detected in file 239650 of name .
The disk does not have enough space to replace bad clusters
detected in file 239651 of name .
An unspecified error occurred.f 822000 files processed)

Yet, when I ran the SeaTools short & long generic tests on the Seagate disk, I didn't receive any errors.

I know that I could reformat the disk and try running chkdsk /r again but I'd prefer to avoid waiting >4 hours in the hope that the problem was magically fixed.

On the other hand, if I RmA the drive to Seagate, I have no SeaTools error number to use and they may claim that the drive is just fine.

What should I try to do next?

Side frustration:

There is plenty of free hard drive space. The E: partition has 182 GB free.

  • Can you find a way to run chkdsk with just that drive in there? You say there's enough space on it. Alternatively, it could be complaining that not enough space on C(which in the case you mention is another drive). So you could try moving something off that and onto another disk.
    – barlop
    Apr 3, 2011 at 13:03
  • 1
    CHKDSK DOES NOT "BLATHER". If it says you've got bad sectors, pay attention. If seagates tool says fine, then, well, that's interesting. But don't treat chkdsk's msg especially about bad sectors, like you'd treat the MS Word paperclip.
    – barlop
    Apr 3, 2011 at 13:06
  • Replace the drive before you lose all your data.
    – Moab
    Apr 3, 2011 at 15:29
  • Actually, the error message was coming from Windows Backup and it turned out that both drives had problems that could be fixed by reformatting the drives.
    – Zian Choy
    Apr 13, 2011 at 1:43
  • 1
    I didn't understand, were you able to fix the errors?
    – Royi
    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:35

4 Answers 4


The free drive space and the drive space chkdisk uses are two different things. Each hard disk has some extra unallocated space which is used as replacement space for bad sectors. That space may not be used for anything else and as far as user (of a normally functioning drive) is concerned doesn't exist.

The "free" space on your E: partition isn't free at all. It's taken up by the E: partition (and even if you deleted the partition it still isn't free in the meaning of "free" windows is using).

Basically each sector on a hard disk has its own number. Usually at the end of the drive there are extra sectors which are not numbered. They are used when a sector goes bad. Bad sector's number is removed form the sector and assigned to one of the sectors without a number. This way the bad sector is "fixed".

In the end, the only thing you can do i replace the drive. Each drive has a finite number of normal sectors and a finite number of spare sectors. In your case, spar sectors are used up.

Another thing which is interesting is finding the cause of bad sectors. Hard drives are usually designed in such way that during its lifetime it will not run out of spare sectors. That means that something is generating abnormally large number of bad sectors on your drive and that something is going to get your data sooner or later, so even if you somehow manage to fix this or decide to ignore chkdisk, you should consider replacing the drive because there is a high chance that it will completely fail.

  • 1
    I read about 2 types of Bad Sectors - Hard and Soft. How can I tell which one I have?
    – Royi
    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:36
  • But what does the error means does not have enough space to replace bad clusters? Does that mean that the drive did "fix" the bad clusters automatically (and without telling anything about it) and that the extra unallocated space is now empty?
    – JinSnow
    Apr 25, 2021 at 7:47
  • 1
    @JinSnow Yes, that's exactly what it means. That's why the SMART reports are important for HDDs, since they'll tell you how if the situation with spare sectors is looking good or bad, and normally, you should have enough time to replace the drive before it completely breaks down.
    – AndrejaKo
    Apr 26, 2021 at 7:08

Try HDD Regenerator. I had the same issue of "not enough space" and this program managed to 'repair' the bad sectors. Once it had finished I used chkdsk to repair system files and the drive is working fine now!


In the end, I realized that it's better to wait the 8+ hours for chkdsk to run on both drives than to wait several days for a replacement. In retrospect, this solution should have been obvious.

There are 2 steps involved:

  1. Run chkdsk /r
  2. Wait for chkdsk to finish
  • 1
    What solution? Were you able to repair the drive? How did you do that?
    – Green
    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:18
  • Is above option solved your problem Apr 7, 2019 at 10:27
  • 1
    By curiosity, how long did last your drive after that? (And did you use it daily)
    – JinSnow
    Apr 25, 2021 at 7:49

Just use Victoria. This is a free tool to view SMART, check disks and regenerate bad clusters. Check "remap" to regenerate bad clusters during testing.

  • This should be a comment
    – SeanClt
    Mar 24, 2016 at 17:03
  • Please explain how to use the program to solve the problem, since it doesn't appear to be a super common utility.
    – Ben N
    Mar 24, 2016 at 17:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.