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I have this 120GB HDD with ~2-3GB of contiguous bad sectors on it, no way to regenerate them, but other than that, still usable. I don't have splinters running inside, so it seem safe for now (or for a while).

I tried HDD Low Level Format Tool , but it's taking too long to pass the damaged area. It takes about 7-8 minutes/MB. The damaged area is in the middle of the disk, so it's very uncomfortable for me to make two partitions that will keep the damage between them.

I would really like to have a option to isolate them, so the head won't go over them again.

The HDD was usable, I was actually using it, until I noticed data loss on my D partition. That made me to discover the damage.

The solution I need should better be a bootable one, because at this moment I don't have any OS installed. I tried LLF from a hiren's disk.

UPDATES:

  • I DON'T want to recover any data from it, just to make it functional again.
  • I don't have any OS on it
  • It's partly low-level formatted (with LLF), so it's a Raw Disk.

All I need is a relatively QUICK way to isolate that bad area. It's contiguous, because it appeared after the laptop, while running, was dropped on the floor.

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    I know you're asking about trying to keep the drive useable, but consider the cost vs. benefit here. Cost: You may lose all of your files and data unexpectedly. Benefit: You save $50 or however much a 120gig HDD goes for these days. I would unplug the drive, buy a new one, and don't use the damaged one until the new one arrives and you are transferring your files over. Jan 25, 2014 at 5:01
  • I have some ideas - what OS are you using?
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jan 25, 2014 at 5:31
  • I will put Win7 on it after I will fix it. I tried chkdsk, I tried formatting under windows, I tried to regenerate sectors, now I am running LLF from HDDGURU.COM (from bootable cd), but it takes like a lifetime (7-8minutes for each MB)...
    – derei
    Jan 25, 2014 at 5:34
  • Ahh, I'm thinking that if it was windows 8 or windows 7 pro, you could create a pair of VHDs and use windows spaces to merge them, or combine them into a spanning volume. Kind of overcomplicated, and you can't use it as a boot drive in those cases. Having a split partition is your best bet here.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jan 25, 2014 at 5:43
  • @JourneymanGeek, please explain or post a link from where I can understand the process, I am not familiar with it. Thank you.
    – derei
    Jan 25, 2014 at 5:49

3 Answers 3

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You can not truly isolated that many bad sectors. Chances are a new bad sector or two is added every week, and the system will keep stumbling over them.

  1. Good drive recovery programs which might attempt to fix or hide these areas would take over a year to run with that many bad sectors. (Referring to mhdd or SpinRite) It took SpinRite 3 real months to process 300 really bad sectors.

  2. Your only band-aid, not to be confused with fix, is to format it and you might have to quick format it. Then run chkdsk /r c: However, with that many bad sectors it might take days (and yet this would still be the fastest option) to process than many bad sectors.

  3. If you partitioned around it you could either use junctions (mklink /j) or hard link the second partition to the first one at some location. Possibly or best option under this solution is to junction "Program files" and "Program files (x86)" to the second partition. Then you could junction other folders, on an as needed basis to maximize the usable space.

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  • I am not sure what a format would do. At best the problem gets worst because system files are not placed on those bad sectors.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 25, 2014 at 5:46
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    @Ramhound The user won't buy a new one(see comments), which he should definitely do. Format with chkdsk /r c: would cause all the bad sectors to be placed in the NTFS bad table never to be heard from again. Until the next new bad sector appears.
    – cybernard
    Jan 25, 2014 at 6:18
  • You should indicate what the command does because it wasn't clear.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 25, 2014 at 18:12
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HDRecover on SourceForge looks promising. It requires Linux, so if you don't have a live CD of your favorite distro laying around, you'd need to download one first. Description reads:

Tool to encourage hard disks to reallocate bad sectors allowing data recovery and possible continued use of the hard disk.

The reviews look promising, although I haven't tried it personally.

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  • I'll give it a try.
    – derei
    Jan 25, 2014 at 5:50
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I would at least attempt to run Disk Check:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ee872425.aspx

Try and give it sometime to work. If it doesn't work then I would try to copy over the files slowly (one at a time) so it doesn't overload the few sectors left.

If it goes too far, and all the sectors become damaged, the link also includes details on how to recover data from bad sectors via a command line.

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  • I don't want to recover any data. I want to make the disk reusable again. If I simply rewrite MBR the damage will be still there and every time I save something to disk, if it's written in the damaged area, it's lost. The damage is physical because I dropped the laptop. So, CAN'T recover sectors, I tried. Only way is to isolate and move on. But I will read your link, thanks. -Also, please read more carefully: I DON'T HAVE ANY OS installed at this time. It's just a raw disk.
    – derei
    Jan 25, 2014 at 4:57

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