I heard that reallocated sectors reported in S.M.A.R.T. data can cause delays in operation; is it true? I get freezes (temporarily) of videos and games for seconds while the hard drive led appears to be on and I suspect it's that.

But the (97) reallocated sectors are stable (in number) for months and the disk appears healthy and fast in anything apart from once an hour or two hours when it might make a game or video freeze for 3 seconds while the hard drive led is on.

Can reallocated sectors on a disk cause noticeable delays in disk read/writes?

  • What drive is it? Make and model please. Also, the type of motherboard you have would be useful to know. – user3463 May 28 '11 at 21:47
  • Just being re-allocated is not going to be the problem. It would be a problem if it was done improperly. Does it always happen when accessing the same files? – soandos May 28 '11 at 21:53

S.M.A.R.T has many pieces of data such as "current, worst, threshold, and data" (hdtune). Make sure your looking at the "data" column if your trying to get an idea of the number of reallocations.

After making sure that your looking at the correct piece of information, you can consider this:

According to google's hard drive study:

We find, for example, that after their first scan error, drives are 39 times more likely to fail within 60 days than drives with no such errors. First errors in re- allocations, offline reallocations, and probational counts are also strongly correlated to higher failure probabil- ities. Despite those strong correlations, we find that failure prediction models based on SMART parameters alone are likely to be severely limited in their prediction accuracy, given that a large fraction of our failed drives have shown no SMART error signals whatsoever.

So if you do actually have reallocated sectors, consider yourself lucky that the hard drive is showing you some sign of failure. Backup all your information and get a new hard drive. Hard drives nearing the end of their life can have many different symptoms. Slowness, and data corruption is generally what happens. From a user perspective, it could be that programs stop working/goes slow or files get corrupted or windows stops booting all together.

To elaborate:

Whether reallocated sectors directly cause slowness is not clear. I would think that based on Google's conclusion, having reallocated sectors makes it likely that there are also other issues with the drive that are not recorded by S.M.A.R.T that could cause slowness.

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