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I was using Roadkil Diskwipe on an external hard drive and the power went out. I had removed it from any outlet connection by the time power was restored to prevent power-spike damage (it's on a surge protector, but I didn't want to rely on that). My question is, where do I go from here? Obviously I don't care about preserving any data currently on it, I just want to make sure the drive itself is not terminally damaged. I'm running chkdsk (full), but I don't know if that's the correct step to assessing any damage. If it makes any difference, the hard drive was unallocated at the time of the outage, as Diskwipe requires that for it to run. Also, could something like this cause latent problems with the drive itself (i.e. serious issues that I won't be aware of when testing it now). I'd appreciate any program recommendations if chkdsk is not the most appropriate diagnostic route. Thank you.

  • Just wipe it again. – David Schwartz Nov 2 '13 at 7:43
  • As long as it responds etc, it should be ok. – Karthik T Nov 2 '13 at 7:51
  • Thank you for your responses. It seems the consensus is that it should be okay, which is a huge relief. – Mark Trexler Nov 2 '13 at 8:24
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You can just run the disk wipe program again and it will force the drive to remap bad sectors, if any. There is no need to run chkdsk separately since:

  1. the bad sector detection and remapping is transparently done by the drive controller when a sector is written to.
  2. the disk is not formatted and part of chkdsk's function is to check the filesystem (which doesn't exist in this case).

The power outage itself would not cause any hardware issues on the drive since, for a long time, hard drives have been built with a retract circuit that positions the head in a safe place when power is turned off. Since you do not suspect a power spike related damage when the power came back (because it was disconnected), there's nothing to worry.

If you would like to have more confidence on the state of the drive, run the disk wipe program multiple times continuously over a period of a day.

For more information, see my answer to the question Can prematurely powering down a computer cause bad sectors in a hard drive?

Lastly, if you do wish to run chkdsk, use the "/R" command line option (or if you run the check through the hard drive Properties > Tools > Error-checking menu, make sure the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. option is enabled).

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  • Thank you. This answers all of my questions. I wish I had asked this before I started chkdsk (since it has a while yet to finish), but at least I know that my drive should be fine from a hardware standpoint. – Mark Trexler Nov 2 '13 at 8:23

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