Bad Sectors...What's reliable? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-26-2013, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an old WD 320 gig drive, that has been repurposed, as a backup drive for my server. (probably not large enough, for a server, but it covers the media I have right now.)
I am in the process of building a new server/nas...and thought I may utilize the 320 gig for my O/S drive. One problem: WHS 2011 recognizes bad sectors, and re allocation errors...
I recently took it out of my current server, and ran Acronis, as well as Windows error correction/check. Neither came back with any issues...
Which is more reliable...Acronis, Windows...or WHS...( I think it's an add-in, but can't remember the name...) How do I determine if there really is an issue with the drive?
As always, thanks for any assistance you can provide...

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post #2 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Anybody?

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post #3 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 05:37 AM
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you can download software from wd to test the hd and its free, or you could use hard disk sentinel which is free but limited, the pay version is well worth having with lots of features esp in a server for periodic hd testing monitoring.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 05:39 AM
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If such an old drive would show the first signs of any troubles, i would throw it out immediately - not worth the risk.

In any case, you could try to read out SMART values, if it truely had/has bad sectors, it may have re-mapped them onto backup sectors. SMART will tell you.
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 05:52 AM
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A low value for reallocated sectors you can live with if it isn't growing. These are sectors that the drive has previously detected and has swapped out. They are no longer an issue and will cause no future problem. If you suddenly see a increase of multiple sectors, or more than the very occasional single sector, then I would consider the drive unreliable.

If pending sector count is greater than zero, then that is a problem as the drive has detected a bad sector, but has not swapped out the sector. Future data written to that sector could be lost. I would not use a drive that has pending sectors that won't go to zero after a drive scan.

The safest thing would be not to use the drive, obviously. But that sometimes isn't an option for financial or other considerations. If you do decide to take the chance, I would run multiple passes of a drive zeroing tool (check manufacturer's website or use a freeware/shareware tool). Keep an eye on the SMART values to see if any of the relevant counters are increasing. If they change between passes I wouldn't use the drive. If they are stable, then it might be safe. But it's anyone's guess for how long. It could die tomorrow...or it could die 10 years from now.

I personally run my WHS 2011 server on an old laptop hard drive that has multiple reallocated sectors from it's previous life. If it dies it will be an inconvenience, but my valuable data is on separate drives than the OS so nothing of real value would be lost aside from the time to rebuild the system. I also have old PATA scratch working drive that handles usenet data that has similar reallocated sectors. As a scratch drive it has no value for storage of data longer than a few hours at most. Finally I do have a few large capacity drives that have a couple of reallocated sectors. But they've been stable for months and subsequent drive scans have not detected any other problems so I don't worry too much about them.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 05:58 AM
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Every time I get issues with a drive I replace it and start over.

I'm not sure that helps you, but that's what I do

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys...
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If such an old drive would show the first signs of any troubles, i would throw it out immediately - not worth the risk.

In any case, you could try to read out SMART values, if it truely had/has bad sectors, it may have re-mapped them onto backup sectors. SMART will tell you.

The re-allocation count is like 17, and the bad sector count is 0000000000001. That's why I ask...If the other checks are not showing a problem, then why is my add-in?
Oh, the add-in is "Home Smart 2013". It detected the bad sectors in my original O/S drive from the HP N 40L...but for some reason, I am thinking it was the same count...(1 and 17)
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you can download software from wd to test the hd and its free, or you could use hard disk sentinel which is free but limited, the pay version is well worth having with lots of features esp in a server for periodic hd testing monitoring.

Mac25, I have Acronis from WD, Is this the same as what you are referring? I also have another freeware program...Drive Check. The problem with most of these programs, is they will not install on WHS. So, I have to pull the drive, and check it on my PC.

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post #8 of 18 Old 08-27-2013, 09:47 AM
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its data lifeguard diagnostic for windows, under support at wd website, it will install on all windows version I believe
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-28-2013, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin g. View Post

Thanks, guys...
The re-allocation count is like 17, and the bad sector count is 0000000000001. That's why I ask...If the other checks are not showing a problem, then why is my add-in?

Oh, the add-in is "Home Smart 2013". It detected the bad sectors in my original O/S drive from the HP N 40L...but for some reason, I am thinking it was the same count...(1 and 17)
Depending on the tool, it may be looking at the raw value or the normalized value. The raw value probably is 17 in your case. That could be 17 decimal, or 17 in hex which would be 23 in decimal. Either way, it's a very few number of sectors based on the total number of sectors on the drive, as well as the number of replacement sectors that are set aside when the drive is manufactured. The normalized value is what you're suppose to look at to gauge the overall health. Normally for the counter values it's a 100 to 0 scale where 100 is the best. There will also be a threshold value that's suppose to indicate where the drive is deemed "bad". For instance, here's my OS drive as reported in CrystalDiskInfo:

100 100 __5 000000020007 Reallocated Sectors Count

The first field is current value, the second is the worst that it's been (for fields that may go up and down as the drive operates), the 3rd the threshold. and the 4th is the raw value. Different drives will report different things in the raw value so you have to guess at the interperetation. In my case, the value I'm looking for is just the 4 lest significant digits (furthest to the right). I don't really have 20007 errors. It's been at that since I pulled it from an old laptop that was banged around during use several years ago so I just live with it. I too use Home Server SMART 2013 and I just adjusted it's threshold to ignore my existing baseline errors. If a new error pops up, it still notifies me, but otherwise stays silent.

In your case, reallocated sector count of 17 isn't the greatest, but as I said before the drive's probably still usable as long as the counter isn't increasing. I wouldn't be uber confident in it, but if you can risk maybe a small amount of files not being accessible... Or in otherwords, don't store your only copy of priceless photos of your kids. But the MP3s or movies that you've ripped where if a file was rendered corrupt you just have to rerip it, not a huge problem.

I'm not sure what your "bad sector count" is coming from. That's not a typical SMART parameter worded like that, from what I've ever seen.
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-28-2013, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the WD report:




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post #11 of 18 Old 08-28-2013, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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And the Home Server SMART report


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post #12 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 06:36 AM
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The WD tool shows the normalized values. I'd ignore them as it masks the underlying raw values. The Home Server SMART report shows the raw values. You have 23 reallocated sectors (0x17) that has occurred in 1 event. There could have been a manufacturing defect on 17 contiguous sectors, maybe the head nicked the platter due to a bump, who knows. But all the errors happened at once. Depending on how you look at it that can be a good or bad sign. It's good that subsequent errors haven't happened, so it may have been a one time issue. On the other hand 23 is a significant number of sectors to lose at once and are adjacent sectors and tracks right on the threshold of being reallocated?

The drive is likely usable, but has some damage. It may run fine for years to come, or it may die a second after you put something valuable on it. No one here can tell you what your drive will do.
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the assist...
Would it help to wipe/format/write zero's? Then check again? Or is it an issue where it's damage that will always be there? It was a portable Mybook that I stripped and put in to use as a backup. It's funny, cause in the mybook, it showed an "overheat" value...
As mentioned...it will just be an O/S drive if I use it... I already use it as just backups. and I have backed it up to one of my storage drives.

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post #14 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 12:51 PM
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Can you wipe the drive to test it? If so, your best bet is to note the SMART values one more time to make sure they have not changed from your post #11, then write to every sector on the HDD and read every sector back. Then check the SMART values again to see if reallocated or pending sectors have increased. If they have increased, then you can decide whether to abandon the drive (RMA if possible), or to repeat the procedure to see if the bad parameters increase yet again. If it were me, I would replace the drive if they increased after the first time, but some people might want more evidence of a failing drive.

I use a linux program, badblocks, to write to all the sectors and read them back. You could boot up a linux live distro to do that, or use some other tool (Windows) that you know.
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 12:56 PM
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Buy new SSD drive and win biggrin.gif

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post #16 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin g. View Post

Thanks for the assist...
Would it help to wipe/format/write zero's? Then check again? Or is it an issue where it's damage that will always be there?
The reallocated sector count is there to stay. Nothing that you can do as the end consumer can recover or reset those sectors. I would run several passes of a drive zeroing tool. Western Digital Lifeguard Diagnostic Tool can zero the drive out as well as run short and extended test. The short test I believe only scans the first and last X% of the drive where the extended test scans the whole drive, making sure it can successfully read every sector correctly. The extended test attempts to write zeros and tests that the sectors have actually zeroed out. In theory running the zeros test should touch every usable sector and after a few passes any bad sectors that should be found, would be found. In reality, I know I had a WD drive that would consistently pass any drive scan tool with flying colors but as soon as you started copying a large amount of data, new bad sectors would show.
Quote:
It was a portable Mybook that I stripped and put in to use as a backup. It's funny, cause in the mybook, it showed an "overheat" value...
Portable drives are more likely that a drive was bumped, moved, dropped, etc while it was spinning. This greatly increases the chances of the head making physical contact or other issues related to movement. The drive could have overheated as well. The specs for that drive have an operating temperature up to 131 degrees F. If it was in a warm and there was poor circulation within the mybook case, it might be able to get that hot. I wouldn't think under normal circumstance it would though.
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post #17 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Buy new SSD drive and win biggrin.gif


uhhmmmm, no...too expensive per gig...you, of all people, can appreciate that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdru View Post

The reallocated sector count is there to stay. Nothing that you can do as the end consumer can recover or reset those sectors. I would run several passes of a drive zeroing tool. Western Digital Lifeguard Diagnostic Tool can zero the drive out as well as run short and extended test. The short test I believe only scans the first and last X% of the drive where the extended test scans the whole drive, making sure it can successfully read every sector correctly. The extended test attempts to write zeros and tests that the sectors have actually zeroed out. In theory running the zeros test should touch every usable sector and after a few passes any bad sectors that should be found, would be found. In reality, I know I had a WD drive that would consistently pass any drive scan tool with flying colors but as soon as you started copying a large amount of data, new bad sectors would show.
Portable drives are more likely that a drive was bumped, moved, dropped, etc while it was spinning. This greatly increases the chances of the head making physical contact or other issues related to movement. The drive could have overheated as well. The specs for that drive have an operating temperature up to 131 degrees F. If it was in a warm and there was poor circulation within the mybook case, it might be able to get that hot. I wouldn't think under normal circumstance it would though.


Thanks again...I guess I'll just get an inexpensive 1tb, or 500 giig for the O/S...I have a bunch of drives to buy to fill this one...so it will be one-sie two-sie as I go along.

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post #18 of 18 Old 08-29-2013, 09:55 PM
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I use HDsentinel in server mode (more strict rating of drive health) to monitor my drives - it has saved me from data loss a number of times now, and paid for itself many times over.
Once a drive starts to show these kinds of errors, in my experience it's on the way out. You can use tools to force reallocation of the sectors and keep using it, but I find that it will fail completely within a month or two of that happening if not sooner.

If you see these problems start to arise, back up your data and send the drive in for repair, or replace it if it's out of warranty.
Any time you buy a new drive, run a full write+read surface test on the disk at least once to test for premature failures.

I had a brand new drive which reported a single problematic sector when running this test (I forget if it was weak or bad) and I decided not to deal with returning it, as it passed after re-initializing the disk surface. A few months later and the drive completely failed - but HDsentinel gave me enough warning that I was able to copy all my data off it to an external drive just in time - I don't have enough storage that I can keep duplicates of every file on my system.
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