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So I have a 40GB hard drive on an older computer of mine which is going bad... it slowly looses data as time goes by. I was wondering if there's ...
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  1. #1
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    Hard drive going bad, any way to fix it?


    So I have a 40GB hard drive on an older computer of mine which is going bad... it slowly looses data as time goes by. I was wondering if there's any way to do low level format (like fdformat on floppies) to maybe fix this. I don't care if the bad sectors aren't allocated, I would just like to be able to still use it, mostly because it's 40GB and it's the biggest spare HD I have.

    Thanks
    "Today you are freer than ever to do what you want, provided you can pay for it!" --Bad Religion

  2. #2
    drl
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    Hi, bidi.

    I also have a number of drives that are at the age where they seem to be deteriorating. However, so far, I have only one that I am judging as hopeless.

    I use a few tools to try to rehabilitate drives. First, I try SpinRite, which is on the pricey side, but it handles all kinds of drives, IDE, SATA, SCSI. It does non-destructive tests by first saving the data, then re-writing the sectors, plus a few other things. (In the case of one SCSI drive, SR resurrected the drive -- it's not perfect, but I have been running CentOS successfully on it in a scratch server -- nice to have, but I don't care if I lose it.)

    For free, vendors often supply toolsets, see some references in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_%28computing%29 for Hard disk manufacturers' tools.

    It may be that modern drives cannot be low-level formatted:
    Can SpinRite low-level format my IDE, EIDE, or SCSI drive?

    No software of any sort can truly low-level format today's modern drives. The ability to low-level format hard drives was lost back in the early 1990's when disc surfaces began incorporating factory written "embedded servo data". If you have a very old drive that can truly be low-level reformatted, SpinRite v5.0 will do that for you (which all v6.0 owners are welcome to download and run anytime). But this is only possible on very old non-servo based MFM and RLL drives with capacities up to a few hundred megabytes.
    http://www.grc.com/sr/faq.htm
    Let us know how it goes; best wishes ... cheers, drl

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    I wouldn't mind paying to get this hard drive back, the thing is that for $89 I can get a brand new 3 300-400GB drives (litteraly). Software like that are kind of useless now a days with SATA taking over than IDE drives becoming so cheap. I guess a company that uses a few SCSI drives might have more use for software like that than a regular home user (like me).

    I've tried DBAN (a boot and nuke floppy) but it came back with errors, so I'm guessing it didn't fix anything. It's a shame that new drives can't be low level formatted, but I guess that's not in the manufacturer's interests anyway. I'll keep trying, in the meanwhile I'll just keep it as a slave drive.
    "Today you are freer than ever to do what you want, provided you can pay for it!" --Bad Religion

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    First I think you should install smartmontools and turn on all the SMART stuff and run "smartctl -a /dev/whatever" occasionally so you might catch it if it was massively failing or other things. There is a SMART value for reallocated sector count, which tells you if sectors have started going bad.

    You can scan for bad blocks with the "badblocks" command. It can do read-only test, nondestructive read-write test, or destructive read-write test; and has many options.

    Also run fsck to make sure the filesystems are okay.

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    drl
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    Hi, bidi.

    If you decide that way, I ran across this while I was looking for something else ... cheers, drl

    http://www.captain.at/howto-linux-sm...s-smartctl.php
    Welcome - get the most out of the forum by reading forum basics and guidelines: click here.
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    Hi there. One thing you can do, if you don't mind getting physical, is replace the drive plate with another one. The drive plate is the green thing with all the controlers on it. Just find one that matches that same drive, and make sure it can support the size of the drive. if you find a controler card for that drive but not 40 gig, but say 20 gigs, the drive will work, but you just won't be able to access the other 20 gigs. I don't think software is the answer here. If you know the drive is going bad, it probably is. hth - cody

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    Haven't been around in the past few days. I eventually decided to just throw it away!

    I just wanted to clarify a few things though, I already knew it was going bad, at this point I don't think running any of the SMART tools were going to tell me more than I already knew.

    I also wasn't looking to spend money, specially since in this day and age a 40GB is a dime a dozen. Pretty much, I was wondering if there was any way to low level format the drive, or something similar, since I've done it in the past to get rid of bad sectors (past = 10+ years ago).
    "Today you are freer than ever to do what you want, provided you can pay for it!" --Bad Religion

  8. #8
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    Bad drive

    Sounds like you were interested in the "adventure" of fixing this HD just for the project value. You have made several mentions of the fact that HDs nowadays are cheap.

    Unless you have super important data on it, I would have to say that there comes a time when the laws of diminishing returns must prevail. I enjoy breathing new life into old hdwr as well, but you did the right thing tossing it out.

    Out with the old in with the new....

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