Help - HD issue...

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View


Re: Dell Inspiron laptop running Vista....

I was doing a back up, Seagate BlackArmor, when the program came across an
error, unable to read a particular sector.  Second try, same problem, so I
chose to ignore that sector, and continue in order to complete the backup.

I ran Check Disk, it cleaned up a few bad sectors (orphan, cluster
problems), nothing out the usual....

However phase 5 of 5, it stopped at 74%, at one particular sector.....
Shutdown, restart Checkdisk, this time no problems along the way until phase
5 of 5... 74%, same sector....

I understand in looking around the net that Vista runs hard on drives,
always indexing....

Are there any other utilities I can try to fix this sector or am I looking
at a new drive??? I have never replaced a drive in a laptop.... Desktop
years ago (with ME), but never a laptop.. is this what I may be looking at??

thank you!

--
Thanks & B'rgds,

Uncle Vinnie



Re: Help - HD issue...



Uncle Vinnie wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

http://vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/chkdsk.htm

   "Phases 4 and 5: Checking sectors (optional)

    If the /R switch is in effect, Chkdsk runs two more passes
    to look for bad sectors.

    During stage 4, Chkdsk verifies all clusters in use;

    during stage 5, Chkdsk verifies unused clusters."

That would suggest to me, since you've completed Phase 4 clean,
you could continue with your backup activity, and get all your files
safely off the computer.

Then, install a new hard drive in the laptop, and put all the files back.

You can't really "fix" a sector. The hard drive, has a certain percentage
of spare sectors, and it has a map of which sectors have been spared out.
The disk will be "error free" until at some point, you run out of spares
in a particular area of the disk, and attempts to write at that point,
could be failing with an error. Personally, when a disk shows the first hint
of trouble, I replace it. Unless you're on a really tight budget, generally
your info is worth more to you, than the sub-$100 for a new drive.

*******

Cloning a Dell, isn't going to be that easy. For example, if I download
PTEDIT32 and look at the primary partition table, I can use that to see
how many partitions are defined. There is more than C: present there.
To fully transfer control from one disk to another, you'd want to make
sure all the partitions and the MBR are copied. Since your disk is damaged (and
so far, you've only chkdsk'ed C:), it's hard to say what is going to
happen with the other partitions. One of those partitions, could be the
"recovery partition" - the one you were supposed to burn a backup copy of,
for a day when the hard drive dies. The recovery partition is used to
overwrite your C:, and install the OS image again. Anything on C: could be
wiped out, such as an email database or personal files, when you use
that kind of recovery process.

(A Dell computer with three partitions on it. C: would be the 07-type one.)

http://www.vistax64.com/attachments/vista-installation-setup/7308d1224108918-hidden-partiton-recovery-dell-xps-420-dell-tbl.gif

(
ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/tools/pq/utilities/PTEDIT32.zip )

The goodells site has info on what some of those partitions are for.
These pages are examples of the level of detail they have in some
of their articles.

http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/recover.htm

http://www.goodells.net/dellutility/index.htm

*******

If I were doing this, I'd purchase

1) A new 2.5" hard drive, either SATA or IDE connector type, picked to match
    the SATA or IDE connector on the existing drive. Drive thickness should
    not exceed the one that is currently there (9.5mm ?). I think I've seen
    some terabyte drives that are 12.5mm thick, so you can't just buy the
    first thing you see. Generally the hard drive bay is pretty easy to get to.
    Some drives have an adapter on the interface connector, as part of a
    stress relief scheme (so the drive can float when the laptop casing is
twisted).
    You remove the old drive, transfer the adapter to the new drive, and screw
    the new drive into place. When dealing with laptop cabling, be very careful,
    as the cables are easier to damage than on a desktop.

    In terms of drive size, it depends on the vintage of computer, as to how
    large a drive it might support. Ten years ago, the BIOS could support up
    to 128GB drives, in which case a 120GB might be a comfortable upper limit.
    If the existing drive is a 160GB, then your new drive could be larger if
    you want. (SATA is probably less of a problem in this regard, than the
    older IDE interface ones.)

2) An external USB2 hard drive enclosure. That will allow connecting the new
    drive to the computer, and doing your cloning or transferring. You select
    a USB2 to SATA enclosure for a SATA drive, or a USB2 to IDE enclosure for
    an IDE drive.

3) Depending on the brand of disk, you can download the disk manufacturer cloning
    software. Seagate has some version of Acronis for download for example. That
is
    intended to make it easy for customers to move from one drive to other.

2.5" USB enclosures can come with either a "Y" cable, or two separate USB cables.
One USB cable is used purely as a source of an addition 500mA of current. The
other USB cable is a "full" cable, using +5V, GND, D+ and D- data signals. The
two
cable scheme, makes it possible to get up to 5V @ 1 ampere of current to run the
2.5"
SATA or IDE drive. Many drives need that level of current for the first ten
seconds,
to get them to spin up. If a 2.5" drive isn't responding in an enclosure, chances
are it can't complete spinup. More of the enclosures should come with an adapter,
to take the worry out of that aspect of the operation. I'm not crazy about
the two cable scheme - it's a bit hokey.

Connect the enclosure with the laptop off. Many laptops will have at least two
USB connectors, which should be enough to begin your cloning.

When the laptop is turned on, both the internal drive and the external are
going to be boot candidates for the BIOS. Maybe there is a BIOS boot order
thing, to prevent the external from being used. On my computer, I can press
F8 to select a BIOS boot menu, and that is how I control which disk boots.
You don't really want the external disk booting, while you're in the cloning
process. The cloned disk should only be booted, once it is installed
in the computer, and the disk enclosure is unplugged from the computer.
Do at least one boot cycle, of the cloned and installed disk, before using
the USB disk enclosure again.

*******

There is another way to copy a disk, which is at the sector level. There is a
program here, which has the ability to ignore bad sectors when doing a disk
to disk copy. Only problem is, this is a Linux program. You could use a Linux
LiveCD, such as Ubuntu, but the syntax for the command is going to need a
good understanding of what is going on. (For this to work, without headaches,
you'd want the new disk to be the same size or a bit bigger than the old one.
That ensures none of the partitions get "cut off" when copying. Working
at the file level - such as with tools like Acronis, that would be less
of a consideration - if working at the file level, the new disk should
be big enough to hold all the files the old one had, which is a different
criterion.)

("Antonio Diaz's GNU ddrescue")
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Damaged_Hard_Disk

The only advantage of that method, is it works at the sector level. That means,
the operator (that's me), can be as dumb as a post, and do the transfer from
disk to disk and get it right. If there is any "damage" to any of the file
systems, well, that damage is going to be present in the clone. But if you're
trying
to do this repair on your own, it is an alternative method to trying to copy
whatever goofy partitions exist on the laptop.

As far as I can remember, programs like that, when they run into a bad sector,
put a "sector of zero digits" in its place. Now, a sector of zeros may be
easy for the OS to recognize as "not a file system structure" or it could
drive the file system driver nuts. I can't comment on what percentage of the
time, a copy made in that way, with damaged things replaced by zeros, results
in further problems. The file level transfer scheme, is going to transfer
what are presumably whole files, or just ignore a file which is damaged
and can't be copied. If the file was a key file needed to boot the
computer (NTLDR), you'd be dead in the water, the first time you attempted
to boot the new drive in your laptop's hard drive bay. So when the disk
is damaged, either style of cloning can still lead to trouble.

So you can see, when a drive is throwing errors, there can be some
collateral damage as a result. The drive could be so toasted, that
either style of cloning is not completely successful.

Your first priority is getting as much data backed up as possible.
Your second priority, is cloning to a new drive. Don't leave this
task for some time next month - I had a bad drive, I was tired and
decided to shut down and go to bed, rather than work on it. The
next day, I turned on the computer and there was a loud "sproing"
noise from inside the hard drive. Of course, the drive was
completely dead and all the data was gone. You can learn from
that experience - the time from "first trouble seen", to completely
dead, can be literally over night. If I'd stayed up and worked on
it, I'd have that data today.

If you don't want to do any of this yourself, you can always take
the laptop, and a new drive, to a shop and get them to do the
cloning. That is, if there is a shop in town you trust to do that.
(I guess that's why I do all my own work.)

Good luck,
    Paul

Re: Help - HD issue...



On Sun, 8 Aug 2010 06:45:47 -0400, "Uncle Vinnie"

Quoted text here. Click to load it



The very first thing you need to do is a drive sanity test, i.e.
reading the drive's S.M.A.R.T. table.
A program like CrystalDiskInfo will show you what is going on
inside your diskdrive.
http://download.cnet.com/CrystalDiskInfo/3000-2086_4-10832082.html

If the drive has more flawed locations than it has space
available for relocating them, it is best to replace the drive as
soon as possible.

--
Kind regards,
Gerard Bok

Re: Help - HD issue...



Hi, Gerard.. I ran Crystal and it came back Caution... C5 highlighted -
ciurrent pending sector count 200.  What does this mean?? I have a feeling I
am indeed looking at a new drive - hoping I can clone the existing one..
BTW, Inspiron 1525, WD3200BEVT drive, 4 partitions.



Gerard Bok wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

--
Thanks & B'rgds,

Uncle Vinnie



Re: Help - HD issue...



Uncle Vinnie wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Might that be their 704 error noted on the web page below?

http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/manual-en/EventLog.html

It is also mentioned here:

http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/manual-en/HealthStatus.html

It isn't defined because it is a SMART value and threshold on which it
is reporting (and warning about).  I don't think it is Crystals' intent
to train you how to interpret all the SMART values.  That's up to you to
know or investigate.  They're just showing you the data made available
by SMART.

Google still works:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bsmart+%2Bc5+%2B%22Current+Pending+Sector+Count%22

First article found:
http://www.ntfs.com/disk-monitor-smart-attributes.htm
(see the C5 error description)

Hard disks come with a fixed amount of reserve sectors used for
remapping bad sectors.  Once that reserve space has been consumed, there
is no place to mask out the bad sectors by remapping them elsewhere.
SpinRite can turn bad sectors into good sectors through realignment and
refreshing but, again, it costs money (although they have a satisfaction
guarantee with 30-day money back refund).

Remapped sectors incur a performance penalty.  The more of them you
have, the longer it takes to do the read with the redirect to the mapped
reserved sector.  With bad sectors that cannot be remapped (no more
reserve space), you may find that you cannot successfully clone that
hard disk.  They're bad, they can't get remapped, so their data cannot
be moved elsewhere to mask that the original sectors are bad.


http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/geom/format_Defect.htm
"At the high level, the operating system can be told to mark the area as
bad and avoid it (creating "bad sector" reports at the operating system
level.). Alternately, the disk itself can be told at a low level to
remap the bad area and use one of its spares instead."

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/qual/features_SMART.htm
"Number of Remapped Sectors: If the drive is remapping many sectors due
to internally-detected errors, this can mean the drive is starting to
go."

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/geom/error_Mapping.htm
"The occasional difficulty reading a sector would typically be ignored
as a random occurrence, but if multiple retries or other advanced error
correction procedures were needed to read a sector, many drives would
automatically mark the sector bad and relocate its contents to one of
the drive's spare sectors."

Re: Help - HD issue...



Uncle Vinnie wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

One period will suffice to end a sentence.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

The only good long-time hard disk savior utility that I know of which
consistently works for repair is SpinRite.  By the time you pay for
SpinRite ($89), you could've bought another new replacement hard disk;
however, you'd have SpinRite to use again later.  

I had SpinRite about a decade ago when it came handy to repair a hard
disk to make it usable but I still replaced the hard drive since the
device wasn't trustworthy anymore (they symptom was an ever growing
lineal seperation of plated media away from the substrate).  I didn't
bother upgrading to later version of SpinRite because I'd just go buy
another hard disk for [nearly] the same price. SpinRite makes sense as a
utility in your toolbox when you have many hosts to maintain.

Some hard disk manufactures provide a free diagnostic utility you can
download from their web site.  You identified a brand for your computer
(and the huge Inspiron family of products instead of a particular
model), NOT the hard disk manufacturer, so your "details" were missing.
 Seagate has their Seagate SeaTools.  Maxtor had their diagnostic
utility but got gobbled up by Seagate.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads /

Re: Help - HD issue...



Thanks for your reply.
Here are the 2 things, details, not in my initial inquiry:  It is an
Inspiron 1525, the drive is WD3200BEVT (Scorpio Blue).  Western Digitals
software came back with a pass for SMART. However, it failed running a quick
test, and hung doing the in depth test.

They do have a clone utility, do you think it would accurately clone this
drive, 4 partitions, running Vista?  It's apparant I need to focus on
getting the drive replaced.


VanguardLH wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

--
Thanks & B'rgds,

Uncle Vinnie



Re: Help - HD issue...



Uncle Vinnie wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Did you run the utility from a bootable floppy, CD, or USB drive?  If
you ran it within Windows then you don't know if there is some software
or malware causing the problem with the diagnostic tool.  You want to
use the diagnostics own bootable OS to run under that rather than under
the suspect OS.

I don't know how fully WD supports the S.M.A.R.T. specification to know
if it will reliably indicate every possible failure for a hard disk.  In
fact, I've seen users note SMART warnings which were bogus and they were
using their hard disks for another 2-3 years, or longer.  Not all SMART
events are critical.  SMART tries to predict failure based on some
measurable statistics but that doesn't mean prediction is absolutely
perfect or that all measurements can detect all types of drive failures.

On of the uses of SpinRite is to realign the sectors on the platters to
reduce errors reading them.  This happens with all magnetic media where
positioning is magnetically encoded.  As drives warm and cool and get
shocked or over time, the heads may not be exactly in the best position
to read the data.  

Also, all magnetism has a term of retentivity.  That is, the dipoles
used to record the magnetic flux are under stress and what to realign.
Data that has not been accessed for a long time will wane in its
strength and eventually become unreadable.  That's why floppies or other
magnetic media, including hard disks, that have been storage for years
might no longer be readable.  Magnetic storage is not everlasting
storage.  By reading the bytes, clearing the sector, and rewriting them
you force a new alignment of the dipoles for increased strenth and more
reliable reading.  That is, you need to refresh the data.  Often there
are files left on a hard disk which don't get accessed (and written
over) for such a long time that the recording becomes weak.  SpinRite
helps with that by refreshing the data.

There are a lots of problems on hard disks that SpinRite will detect
(and fix) that SMART will not predict.  But SpinRite costs money to
acquire so if cloning to a new hard disk works then it is probably your
best immediate fix.  Of course, it's possible that SpinRite fixes that
ailing old hard disk to make it new again and you could use it for many
more years or decades.  Your choice.  You could replace a circuit board
or you could buy a soldering iron to repair the cold solder joints.  One
fixes now but only once.  Once probably fixes now and is reusable later.

It's not like you have to blindly buy SpinRite and hope it helps fix
your ailing hard disk.  They have a money-back guarantee; see:

http://www.grc.com/cs/licenseinfo.htm

If it doesn't help, get a refund and move on to buying a replacement
hard disk and cloning.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You can but try.  When you get the replacement hard disk, see if their
cloning program works.  Regardless of whose cloner you use, if it
doesn't work means that you cannot clone the drive successfully (which
means you're stuck paying $1500 to have a lab recover the files if they
really are that important to you).

From WD's download pages, they give you a stripped version of Acronis
TrueImage.  I use that and it's very good; however, I use it for image
backups and have not used it to clone a hard disk.  I've not had any
problems restoring from the images so I suspect their cloning function
should work well.

If the cloning fails, you'll probably have to get SpinRite or toss the
old drive and start with a fresh install of the OS on a new hard disk
and hope you can retrieve your data files from other sources.

Re: Help - HD issue...



Uncle Vinnie wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Vanguard seems to like the idea of playing with it.

I say replace it and move on. It costs $50 to put a new drive in there.

Your drive is currently showing bad spots. The failing quick test
is warning enough. And if you don't hurry and finish this,
the next thing you know, the drive will no longer be responding.

Cloning utilities work on the premise that the source device
is in perfect condition. They don't necessarily deal well with
errors. The thing is, the hard drive also plays a part in this.
The firmware in the drive, has a very long timeout constant
(to the point of being technically absurd), for an attempt
to read a sector. It might go anywhere from five to fifteen seconds,
before declaring it cannot read the sector.

If you have hundreds of thousands of bad sectors, a normal backup or
cloning operation will never finish. It would take too long,
for all those timeouts to occur.

This article discusses some approaches, when the drive is in serious
trouble.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Damaged_Hard_Disk

    "The best method: Antonio Diaz's GNU 'ddrescue' "

     # first, grab most of the error-free areas in a hurry:
     ./ddrescue -n /dev/old_disk /dev/new_disk rescued.log
     # then try to recover as much of the dicey areas as possible:
     ./ddrescue -r 1 /dev/old_disk /dev/new_disk rescued.log

"dd" is a sector by sector approach. It copies the disk, without
regard to whether the file system is readable or not. Other
cloning approaches, are file-by-file, which requires a fully
functional file system, if you expect to get all the files.
With the "dd" approach, the idea is to physically copy as
much as possible, such that you can attempt recovery at your
leisure later.

When a process like that is finished, the file system is
still by definition "damaged". Any sector which could not
be read, and was replaced by a sector full of zeros, is
potentially a problem. If that falls in precisely the
wrong place, a whole directory on the file system could
disappear, as an example. But when you're in serious
trouble, you take what you can get.

If you're reasonably confident that a normal backup is
getting all of what is important on the drive, then you don't
need to read that web page. If you think major portions are
missing, then you'd better get hopping, before the drive
is dead.

I had a drive once, where I got a warning late at night. I
knew I needed to backup immediately, but I was tired, so I
switched off and went to bed. Next day, the drive was dead.
Don't let that happen to you!

You can connect the new hard drive, to your computer, with
either a USB to SATA/IDE adapter cable kit, or use an
external hard drive enclosure with USB interface. Either of
those will allow you to transfer data off the drive, onto
the new hard drive.

My procedure would be slightly different than that. I would
make two copies of the data, like this.

    bad_drive --> first_copy    (two passes ddrescue if necessary)
    first_copy --> second_copy  (using perhaps a second computer if you want)
    chkdsk(first_copy)          (CHKDSK could make a huge mess. If it does, your
                                 next step is   second_copy --> first_copy)

The emphasis there, is to do as good a job as possible, getting
the data off the drive. Then make sure you have two copies. Use
repair tools, such as CHKDSK, on one copy only. If it is obvious
it can't be repaired that way, at least you have enough copies
of the original data, to continue doing recovery work. But if
the original dies, then you're stuck with $$$ data recovery
services.

    Paul

Re: Help - HD issue...THANK YOU!



Paul, Vanguard, Gerard..

Thank you very much for all of your advice, your links, your expertise, and
your time.  I printed everything out that you posted, read them all, looked
into all the links as well.  All of the tests came back with indicating
drive issues so, since I had a network backup (Seagate NAS110), I made a
complete backup of the drive, all of the partitions.  I could have saved a
few bucks online but my local BestBuy had the identical drive in stock for
$54, so I replaced it.  Between the back up, boot disk, and restore, it took
a good part of a day, but it seems to have worked well, at least the
BlackArmor/Acronis softwared indicated so.
The laptop booted up absolutely normally.  I guess I will have to check all
of the programs, as well as a test run of a check disk, defrag, etc, but it
seems to have been a successful cloning, something I have not done since the
98/ME days.  Drives have gotten alot bigger and alot more complex  haven't
they!  So, again, I thank you very much and will continue testing to be sure
all is in perfect order!  If not, I might be back, but let's hope all is
indeed well again.

Paul wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

--
Thanks & B'rgds,

Uncle Vinnie



Re: Help - HD issue...THANK YOU!



Uncle Vinnie wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Glad to hear all went well :-)

Now, if you want, you can connect that 2.5" drive to a USB to IDE adapter,
or use a USB enclosure. Only if you already have the hardware to do that.
You can get a copy of HDTune ( http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe )
and run a bad block scan, and the graphic that results, will give you some
idea exactly how bad the drive was, and which partition might have been
most at danger.

If you're ever curious about the world of data recovery, now you have
a "specimen" to work on. Since that drive is still running, you can
experiment with SpinRite if you want, or ddrescue, but only if you
have the time to waste on it. All I've got here, is a couple
completely dead drives, and all the rest are perfectly functional,
so while I know of tools to try, I don't currently have anything
to experiment on. (And that's a good thing, I guess.)

    Paul


Re: Help - HD issue...THANK YOU!



You know, I just might decide to tinker just a little more!  It's all a
learning thing!  What's so bad about a few sparks and puffs of smoke every
now and then!!

Paul wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

--
Thanks & B'rgds,

Uncle Vinnie



Site Timeline