What I mentioned as "bad sectors" here are quoted from following scan/test:

  • result from CHKDSK, referred as "Bad Sectors" on the report screen.
  • result from HD Tune - Error Scan, referred as "Damaged Blocks" or red square.

I have an internal HDD that has been successfully recovered from bad sectors by performing a full erase on whole sectors at that disk. (After an erase, running surface test told that all sector are OK, I don't see bad sectors anymore).

After that I encountered BSOD. After restart, I do the surface scan again, but this time 1 bad sector is found. I tried to erase it again, then running surface test told that the bad sector went away (again).

I already heard several times that sudden power-off or any power-related problem can break your hard drive. But can BSOD cause bad sectors, too? Or does this mean that my drive is already falling and need to be replaced? FYI, the S.M.A.R.T status from HD Tune is still "OK".

Since BSOD is quite common to occur (on my case, for every 3-6 months), I found it's annoying if after that I should repeat the "rescan the disk, erase, and restore" cycle.

EDIT: In reply to all comments & answers here

I found many article explaining that bad sectors aren't always physical reason. There is also logical reason (e.g. the CRC for that block does not match the data read back by the disk).

A logical — or soft — bad sector is a cluster of storage on the hard drive that appears to not be working properly. The operating system may have tried to read data on the hard drive from this sector and found that the error-correcting code (ECC) didn’t match the contents of the sector, which suggests that something is wrong. These may be marked as bad sectors, but can be repaired by overwriting the drive with zeros

Since there are too many, instead of copy the content, I will just put the link here:

  • 3
    What your question is exactly isn't all that clear. Your BSOD are likely caused by the bad sectors not the other way around.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 24, 2015 at 13:09
  • 2
    No, my question is actually on the reverse direction. I have some knowledge on windows debugging, and I believe that all of BSOD I encountered was caused by 3rd-party apps, not from hardware failure. That's why I suspect that BSOD can create bad sectors. Feb 24, 2015 at 13:14
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    @ThariqNugrohotomo - A bad sector is a physical problem. The firmware of the HDD determines if its unable to write or read to a sector. A unexpected crash might result in corrupt data because the HDD didn't write all the data but it wouldn't cause it to determine it was unable to write or read for that sector. Your conclusion is flawed for that reason. If you want help to properly diagnose the cause of the BSOD you should ask that question.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 24, 2015 at 13:53
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    It's semantics. There are two kinds of errors. Defects in the media, which cannot be fixed, and corrupted contents, which can be overwritten. Media defects are locked out so they aren't used again. Corrupted files get relocated, sometimes recovered, and the media is reused. Periodically seeing new mechanical defects means the drive is on its way out. Repeatedly seeing new corrupted files is a software problem. The key thing is which particular test you used and what its terminology means. So please, edit your question with the specific tests and the actual error messages.
    – fixer1234
    Feb 25, 2015 at 4:34
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    I have added some explanation on the top of question. It's quite funny (and annoying) to know that the bad sectors can easily appeared - yet could be easily wiped too. Anyway I will try to request the replacement, as this hardware is still less than 2 years old. Feb 25, 2015 at 5:11

2 Answers 2


A Windows BSOD cannot cause a bad sector, if by that you mean a sector that will later read back as "Uncorrectable ECC error" or similar. This is because software has no access to anything at any lower level than the drive's connector, and there is ordinarily nothing that can be done at the interface of a properly-working disk drive that can cause a bad sector. Not under Windows.

I say "ordinarily", "not under Windows" because the Unix-y utility hdparm does have a --make-bad-sector option. It works by invoking either the WRITE_LONG or WRITE_UNCORRECTABLE_EXT ATA commands. But the Windows disk drivers (we are talking about Windows, since you're talking about a BSOD) provide no way to request these functions.

You likely have a failing hard drive. You had one bad sector (that you knew of), but since then it developed another. That isn't uncommon. The subsequent errors may or may not have caused the BSOD. I can imagine several HD errors that could lead to a BSOD, most likely due to failure to resolve a page fault that was raised in kernel mode (BSOD code KERNEL_INPAGE_ERROR).

Incidentally, a BSOD cannot be caused by a third-party app. Only by buggy kernel mode code (like a driver), a bug in a protected system process, or failing hardware. Bugs in apps can only cause app failures. And BSODs are not at all "common to occur" on properly working hardware with reliable drivers.

  • 2
    Thanks, I appreciate your answer. As bases of my theory, I have updated my question with some links that show that bad sector/block can be caused by unfinished writing e.g. power loss, or maybe BSOD too. Also based on my past experience, frequent BSOD could be repaired just by uninstalling anti-virus, which was caused by some incompatible 3rd party apps. Feb 25, 2015 at 3:55
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    "Unfinished writing" basically doesn't happen. Remember, data moves first into the drive's cache, and is written to the media from there. The drive firmware is clever enough to either do the entire write, or not. Even a power loss should not interfere, even if it happens mid-write, as the drive has enough inertia + energy in its onboard caps to complete a write once it's begun. (Not that a BSOD will not cause power to be removed from the drive.) Feb 25, 2015 at 4:20
  • (s/b "NOTE that a BSOD...") Feb 25, 2015 at 4:44
  • 3
    Oh - antivirus products do include kernel mode code, which explains why buggy ones can cause BSODs. Feb 25, 2015 at 8:20
  • @JamieHanrahan, "s/b" meaning?
    – Pacerier
    May 20, 2015 at 8:54

The typical traditional terminology for a "bad sector" is a portion of a hard drive that is physically failing to work right. It's just plain broken. That is why you're getting some people reporting that a BSOD shouldn't cause this. A BSOD may cause invalid data to be written; some advanced RAID cards have been known to be battery powered so that they can be more sure to write out a complete block if they lose power. (These batteries may be a rather pricey add-on to the base cost of a RAID card.)

When Chkdsk is reporting a bad sector, it really means that Chkdsk had a problem; this can be caused by logical faults, which may be different than a hardware-based "bad sector". The reason it sounds like you're reading two different things is that the term "bad sector" has been used to describe two different types of problems. Advice discussing the concept of a physically bad disk might not apply very well to the topic/concept of a disk that has an invalid filesystem volume caused by corrupt data being written, which might happen if the operating system stops running normally (like when a BSOD happens).

Most BSODs that I've encountered did not result in data errors; I tend to get concerned about hardware reliability anytime I find Chkdsk is reporting bad sectors. Your best bet is to not rely on the drive as a sole way of storing any important data. That's always a good idea (important data should be backed up). If you're one of the more-than-2% (*) of people who haven't bothered to implement a proper backup solution, then this may be an excellent reason to stop allowing excuses to convince you to do things more risky.

(*) I know, it's much more than 2%. Probably way more than 3%, as well.

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