Isolate physically defective sectors from a hard drive

This guide will allow you to diagnose and isolate physically defective areas of a hard drive. The tool I’m going to introduce will help you re-partition your hard drive in such a way that bad sectors are out of partitioned areas.

Diagnosing the problem

The first step is whether really your hard drive has bad sectors. Once the problem is identified, we can decide on the right solution to follow.

Is my hard drive faulty? Does it have corrupt areas?

Several symptoms may mean that your hard drive suffers from bad sectors. The following examples can be noted:

  • Your computer takes too long to start.
  • Applications seem to take a lot of time to get started.
  • You have errors that evoke input/output errors.
  • Windows makes file system checks at every start almost.
  • Your computer and more specifically your hard drive makes an abnormal crude of cliques.

Whether you have any of these problems or not, it is better to check and have a clear heart. Before that, I would like to explain two important points.

What is a bad sector?

A bad sector is a small area of your hard drive that it can’t read correctly. There are two types of bad sectors:

  • A logically defective sector: these can occur if your computer is unplugged/stopped unexpectedly. Otherwise if the disk is disconnected while the operating system was in the process of writing data. A logically defective area can be repaired easily.
  • A physically defective sector: as you can imagine, these sectors are physically illegible. They are generated if your computer takes a shock. Or if your hard drive takes a hit. The latter are more difficult to resolve.

In order to diagnose your hard drive, the easiest solution is to use Crystal disk info. This app allows you to view a detailed report about your hard drive from the day it was factory assembled.

The software interface

The Crystal disk Info interface 6.1.14
The Crystal disk Info interface 6.1.14

The interface of Crystal disk info is very simple and displays all the information you will need, after the typical menu at the top we have;

  • A bar that lists the disks detected on your computer.
  • A part that displays the health status of the disk (based on the S.M.A.R.T. data).
  • The current temperature of the hard drive.
  • The unique information about the hard drive, its version of the micro-software, its serial number, its speed of rotation, the number of ignitions since its manufacture or even the total number of hours of operation.
  • The table at the bottom represents all the S.M.A.R.T. data in their pure State.

What is the S.M.A.R.T. ?

Self-monitoring, analysis and reporting Technologiy (self-monitoring, analysis and report technology) is a hard disk monitoring system built into the latter and allowing continuous monitoring of its State. The latter is based on several reliability indicators to anticipate possible errors.

If you want to better understand this system and the indicators it shows you, I invite you to visit the corresponding Wikipedia article.

How to read all this data?

Generally, the “health status” part informs you of the status of the disk as follows;

  • Correct (blue color): everything is fine, the disc is in perfect working order.
  • Caution (yellow color): some problems have been detected, it is recommended to back up your data.
  • Bad (red color): the health status of the disc is critical, you need to back up your data.

Specifically, the values to be monitored in order to be sure that all is well are the following (according to their ID):
05, C5 and C6. If their condition is dangerous or bad (yellow and red respectively) you should consider backing up your data as soon as possible or lose it forever.

I can’t copy my files anymore!

Roadkil's unstoppable copy interface.
Unstoppable Copier interface.

If you are unable to copy your files from your damaged hard drive, Roadkil’s unstoppable copier is the best choice. This is because it allows you to copy the maximum amount of readable data from your damaged disk. The application also offers other functions such as pause/resume copying or scheduling multiple copies..

The application is relatively simple, with the default settings being the best to choose from. There is nothing to prevent you from customizing certain settings. You can also switch to the “batch mode” tab to select multiple different copy sources.

Finally, thanks to the table at the bottom of the interface (“copy” tab), you can see the status of your copy and some very useful statistics.

How to isolate bad sectors from my hard drive?

Bad drive repartition interface.
Bad drive repartition interface.

The idea is simple, repartition the disk in such a way to isolate the defective areas so that they are inaccessible, certainly this will not correct the State S.M.A.R.T. of the disk, but this will allow you to recycle your disk into a temporary storage s
olution. Note: do not use your defective and repartitioned disk to store important data! To
partition your hard drive while automatically isolating bad sectors, there is a free and highly efficient program named repartition ADB drive.

Just run the executable that you upload, choose the faulty disk to distribute and click on the button “Repartition drive selected”. Remember to copy your files before you start partitioning. Last n
ote: the repartitioning process takes a lot of time, this depends on the State of the disk, its size and its speed of reading, I managed to repartition my 320Gb disk in a day personally.

We hope that this guide will help you, do not hesitate to share your opinion.

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