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What do I do if my hard drive reports bad sectors?

August 30th, 2009

Fix Bad Sectors Bad sectors can often be corrected by using a spare sector built into the hard drive. However, any information written to a bad sector is usually lost.

There are several methods for finding and correcting bad sectors.

1. Use the Error Checking utility built in to Microsoft Windows.

  1. Double Click My Computer, and right-click the hard disk.
  2. On the shortcut menu, click Properties, and on the Tools tab in the Properties dialog box, click Check Now in the Error-Checking Status area.
  3. In the Check Disk dialog box, select the Automatically Fix File System Errors check box, select the Scan For And Attempt Recovery Of Bad Sectors check box, and then click Start.
    View Windows help on detecting and repairing disk errors for more information.

2. Use SeaTools diagnostics for Seagate and Maxtor drives and run a long test.  For Seagate SCSI drives, use Seatools Enterprise. For Maxtor SCSI drives, test with SCSIMax.

3. Erase the drive:

  1. For SCSI drives: Use Seatools Enterprise (for Seagate drives) or SCSIMax (for Maxtor-brand drives) to perform a low-level format on the drive.
  2. For external drives: Use DiscWizard or your external drive management software to zero-fill your external drive.
  3. For internal ATA/IDE and SATA drives:Use SeaTools for DOS to perform a full zero fill.
    This option will erase ALL data on the partitions on the drive.
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