Is it possible to know whether bad sectors are caused by physical damage or logical damage on a hard drive?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Xavierjazz, fixer1234, Excellll, DavidPostill, mdpc Mar 31 '15 at 0:50

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    How would a bad sector be caused by software? – Daniel B Mar 25 '15 at 16:55
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    Software cannot cause a HDD sector to go bad. It seems you are asking the same question you asked previously in a slightly different way. A HDD can detect a sector is bad even if its not. Software like Spinrite 6 and force a HDD to reevaluate if a sector is good or bad by reading and writing to it multiple times. Its still up to the firmware to determine that though. – Ramhound Mar 25 '15 at 17:08
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    Your confusion is now clear. That article appears to be written by someone who knows just enough to be dangerous. Much of the information is either written in a confusing way (probably because the author doesn't understand), or is incorrect. There are basically 2 types of problems, physical inability to store the data, and data corruption. Physically bad sectors are locked out and replaced by spare sectors through logical mapping. Corruption is fixed by rewriting. Humans generally don't deal with the actual sectors. The drive electronics or system utilities fix things appropriately. – fixer1234 Mar 25 '15 at 17:28
  • ATramhound. Spinrite (by the notorious steve gibson) is Controversial as it may actually be bad for a hard drive, doing multiple writes on a potentially bad drive(scott mueller critiqued it). And it uses false marketting about stopping disk crashes forever(john navas and others have critiqued him for his false marketting). And if a harddrive is faulty, then the software you suggest there may indeed cause it to get worse! There was even a whole website exposing steve gibson but I won't write more on that 'cos stuff like that gets deleted from this site. – barlop Mar 26 '15 at 3:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The only way I know for something to be marked as a bad sector by the OS when there isn't a physical problem is if something has falsely manipulated the bad block list in the master file table, such as if you directly clone a hard drive that did have bad physical sectors to a new one that does not. A simple byte-for-byte partition copy preserves the same list of bad blocks, even if they aren't bad on the new drive. Another way this can happen is if there is some sort of temporary controller or driver issue fooling the OS into marking a whole bunch of clusters as bad when they really aren't. new drive.

If you think this situation applies to you, and you have a newer version of Windows, chkdsk /b will reevaluate clusters marked as bad. On older versions of Windows this option was not available. There is a way to do this with a Linux boot disk, but it is not nearly as straightforward.

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