I have a laptop that has stopped working and after a time of testing and debugging I found that the hard drive has malfunctioned.

Specifically, I have used Sea Tools for DOS and discovered that the hard has "bad sectors". The Sea Tools application has an option to try to fix this but could not fix them.

I have also used a few other diagnosing tools that found problems with the disk. Specifically, I have used one tool that analyzed the whole disk and found many unresponsive sectors (over 20) among the sectors that were responding well.

Is there a way to make the disk functional ? Is there a way to fix or remove them from use ?

Edit: I have tried different application to format the disk but they do not work. They return an error that there is a problem with the disk.

  • It depends on filesystem you're using. You may mark those bad blocks, so that system wouldn't use them. But it's not wise storing any non-expendable data on that disk.
    – week
    Sep 3 '13 at 20:55
  • @week, can you explain with a little more detail about filesystem and how bad sectors can be marked ?
    – AncientRo
    Sep 3 '13 at 20:59
  • @AncientRo your hdd does that automatically you can't fix bad sectors only move the data again happens automatically at this point replacement is advised there will be a time the hdd cannot recover the data on the bad sectors to move the data or simply no spare sectors to move to
    – Ramhound
    Sep 3 '13 at 21:03
  • If you're using Windows than you can run chkdsk /R utility, that'll check disks partition for bad sectors and avoid further using those.
    – week
    Sep 3 '13 at 21:06
  • @week I am in DOS and running these testing and diagnosis applications from DOS. I cannot install an operating system nor can I format the drives.
    – AncientRo
    Sep 3 '13 at 21:10

There is no way to make them functional again, in fact it is the disk itself that detects the bad sectors and takes them out of use. There is a reserve of sectors that are not used when the disk is new that take over from sectors that are marked as bad. There is no need to manually remove sectors from use.

You use to have to manually mark sectors as bad within the filesystem, but unless this disk is ancient (more than 15 years old) that isn't the case for you.

That said, disks with bad sectors are usually going bad and will gain more and more bad sectors over time. Every bad sector is lost data. I would suggest immediately backing up any data and replacing the disk.

  • Last paragraph is probably the most important one. After few first bad sectors, next ones will start to appear. This disk isn't safe for storage anymore, it's a ticking timebomb for your data.
    – gronostaj
    Sep 3 '13 at 22:25
  • I couldn't agree more. Replace the disk immediately! If you have problems recovering data from the disk, there are tools that may enable at least partial recovery, but the most important action right now is to get as much data off the disk as soon as possible.
    – Rod Smith
    Sep 4 '13 at 1:08

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