How can I determine what a bad sector affects?

Started Mar 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield
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Zero fill the drive..
In reply to skyglider, Mar 9, 2013

Use the drive manufacturer's utility to zero fill the drive.

If it's a Seagate Drive, I'd use Seatools for DOS (you can download a bootable CD with it on it). Here's a direct link to the .iso you can burn to CD:

http://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/support-content/downloads/seatools/_shared/downloads/SeaToolsDOS223ALL.ISO

Here's it's user guide (the Erase Drive> Zero All choice is what I'd use first, then run the diagnostics programs on it to make sure it's OK):

http://www.seagate.com/files/support/seatools/SeaToolsDOSguide.pdf

Or, if it's a WD drive, I'd use their Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for DOS. Pick a drive and you'll see the bootable CD for it in the download list:

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?lang=en

Both can zero fill a drive for you, and also have advanced diagnostics choices that can test all sectors on a drive and mark any with errors as bad in the drive controller's EEPROM (and I'd zero fill them first so that all sectors are written to before using the advanced diagnostics routines).

That way, when you run the extended diagnostics test, you'll have made sure that all sectors have been written to recently with bad sectors remapped to spares.

IOW, after you zero fill them (and the Seagate and WD bootable disks can do that for you), run the manufacturer's diagnostics programs included on them, which will test the drive for any further problems and remap any other problem sectors for you using spares setup for that purpose (doing in the drive controller's EEPROM, whereas file system utilities only mark them at file system level instead)

Then, see what the reports tell you, and if you decide to keep them, repartition the drives and reinstall everything from scratch.

If you're seeing errors from an Operating System (like Windows), then those errors have not been detected by the drive firmware yet.

Once the errors have been mapped out in drive firmware's EEPROM, you will no longer see any errors when using OS utilities (since those sectors have been mapped to spare sectors used for that purpose, versus the OS mapping them out as bad sectors at the file system level instead).

IOW, as far as the OS is concerned, you will no have any bad sectors once they're mapped out in the drive's firmware.

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JimC
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