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  1. #1
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Hard Drive Anomalies

    Yesterday morning I was making my three standard partition images; OS partition, Program Files partition, and Users partition. The first two completed and verified as usual. The Users partition image failed - it hit an unreadable area of the disk. I have had no issues whatsoever with the PC up until that point. And everything else is functioning normally.

    My first move was to re-run the imaging; failed again. My second move was to run CHKDSK /R on that partition, and it found and corrected a tiny number of errors. I ran the imaging app again, and this time I got a successful, verified image of the Users partition.

    My third move was to use SeaTools for Windows. I have two 1TB Seagate drives in the PC, and a third in a drive dock attached to the PC through eSATA. (I also have a fourth 1TB Seagate drive that is a NAS drive attached to my router). I ran the quick diagnostic on all three of the PC's drives; two passed, one failed. The one that failed is the drive that contains my Users partition.

    I've owned SpinRite 6.0 from Gibson Research for a dozen years or so. I booted SpinRite and ran level 2 on the drive that failed. I booted back into Windows, ran the quick diagnostic on that drive again, and it failed again. So I booted back into SpinRite and started level 4 run on the drive. Level 4 checks each and every storage bit on a hard drive, one by one, recovers and repairs where possible, recovers and marks as defective where it can't repair, and in some cases can't recover, but marks as defective.

    On a 1TB drive, level 4 can take well over 24 hours to run, depending on the number of problem storage areas it finds; the more problem areas it finds, the longer it takes to run. This particular drive has 11 partitions, and it's working on the last one now. Once it finishes, I'll run the quick diagnostic on the drive again, and see how it goes. Thankfully, the drive is still under warranty, and I have all partitions imaged. But SpinRite can work wonders, so we'll see.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2012-07-24 at 10:55.
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  2. #2
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    Will be interesting to know how that went.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Bbearren,

    I've been a Steve Gibson fan for decades and been using Spinrite ever since it came out. Great program but I know what you mean about running it on large drives...great time to go on vacation.
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Bbearren,

    I've been a Steve Gibson fan for decades and been using Spinrite ever since it came out. Great program but I know what you mean about running it on large drives...great time to go on vacation.
    A few years ago I had occaision to need it for my Dell Latitude D800. The drive was throwing lots of errors as well as running hot. SpinRite would pause when the drive got too hot, and it doesn't continue from that point, just puts a message on screen with the temperature of the drive and the fact that it has paused. It did that a couple of dozen times, requiring me to manually choose to continue when the drive cooled.

    That particular occaision took right at a week. I had the laptop just off the floor where the air was coolest and there was plenty of room beneath for the fan to dissipate the heat. Once SpinRite was able to finish, all was well. In fact, I still have that drive mounted in a D-Dock caddy and use it for archive storage. But it stayed as the D800 main drive for a couple of years after SpinRite worked its magic. I finally upgraded to a larger drive.

    I still have the D800, and I dual-boot XPSP3 and Windows 7 on it.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  5. #5
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    I bought a SpinRite copy many years ago, but haven't had the chance to use it .

  6. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I may be onto something. SpinRite level 4 finally finished, I booted back into Windows and opened SeaTools again and tested the drive again with the short self-test. It failed again, and the message box stated that there is a high probability of some bad sectors causing the test to fail, same as before. Well, I know from the SpinRite run that there shouldn't be any bad sectors, so I booted back into SpinRite to do some more checking.

    Sometimes I'm not as observant as I could/should be. When I first booted SpinRite, I just selected the entire drive for analysis; as I said, I have lots of partitions, and I didn't really pay that any mind. When I booted into SpinRite the second time, I was a little more observant, primarily because my curiosity was more peaked. Staring me in the face were multiple small, unused gaps between partitions; formatted, but unused.

    Next I booted into BootIt Bare Metal, and looked at the drive through that interface. The gaps weren't obvious unless I selected a particular partition and clicked the "Resize" button. The partitions were a few MB smaller than their largest possible size. Then I remembered adjusting some partition sizes using the Windows drive management console. Apparently Windows' drive management doesn't quite have the granularity available to BootIt. I adjusted each partition by extending it to its maximum size, then booted back into SpinRite. The gaps were gone. I decided to do a level 5 on my Users partition, since that was the one that triggered all this. Once that's complete, I'll check with SeaTools again. If the short self-test fails again, I'll run a level 5 on the entire drive; some of those gaps just might have sectors that are a little wobbly from lack of exercise.

    Lesson learned: Use only one partitioning tool on a drive. I'll update with the latest on the current SpinRite run when it's complete.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Count me in with SpinRite, I've owned a copy for years now.
    I've been meaning to run it on one of my 2TB drives but I keep putting it off due to the enormous down time it'll create.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I ran SpinRite level 5 (it took right at 24 hours) and then tried the SeaTools short self test again. Initially it would fail as soon as the test initialized, nothing on the progress bar at all. Now it gets about 75% showing in the progress bar, and then fails.

    The drive is running at a decent 40 - 42 degrees C, and everything is still working as it should. I've downloaded SeaTools for DOS and burned the ISO to a CD. Whereas SpinRite won't boot unless I change the BIOS to ATA from AHCI, SeaTools for DOS boots directly into AHCI. I'm running the "Long test" now.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    SeaTools for DOS long test ran in a little over 3 hours. It reported 12 bad sectors by location, offering the option to repair, with the caveat that this option only works for Seagate and Maxtor drives. I selected "repair", and it ran the "short test" 3 or 4 times, then issued a report saying to the effect that there were bad sectors, I had elected to repair the bad sectors, it had repaired the sectors, and the short test had passed, and that the long test had passed after sector repair. It pronounced that the drive is now good, and suggested that I run the long test again at some point in the near future, to determine if my drive is "growing" bad sectors.

    I booted back into Windows and ran SeaTools for Windows and selected the short self test again, and it pronounced that the test passed.

    The report issued by SeaTools for DOS also stated that the bad sectors may well have been unused sectors, and that if I had backups of my data, I should choose "repair", in which case SeaTools would write zeros to the sector and see if it could read them. If it could not read the zeros, it would take the bad sectors out of service and replace them with known good spare sectors.

    Needless to say, I am not very concerned about 12 bad sectors out of millions, SeaTools for DOS has declared the drive good, SeaTools for Windows confirms the drive is good, and I'm a happy camper. I'll keep my backups current, and test the drive again from time to time. The warranty is good until late 2015.

    Also, having run SpinRite at level 2, level 4, and level 5 on the drive adds significantly to my confidence that the drive is sound.

    For everyone who has Seagate or Maxtor drives, I highly recommend going to the Seagate web site and downloading SeaTools for Windows and SeaTools for DOS. SeaTools for DOS is an ISO file, and needs to be burned to a CD or written to a bootable thumbdrive, but it recognizes most SATA controllers and has drivers for them, which makes the diagnostics pretty quick, considering.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  10. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I ran the SeaTools for Widows short drive self test again today, and again, it passed.

    For everyone with Seagate or Maxtor hard drives, here is the download link for SeaTools.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for posting about it. Think it is a good example of a situation where great tools can allow you to recover from a potentially disastrous situation.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I ran the SeaTools for DOS long test again this afternoon on what had been my problem drive. It ran in about 2 hours 45 minutes, then automatially ran the Short Drive Self Test (DST) after the long test completed. Both tests passed.

    SeaTools pronounces the drive good, and I'm quite satisfied that it is. I will continue to run the DST on my drives from time to time, and the long test on my "problem" drive every month or two. But at this point I'm confident that all my Seagate drives are performing as expected.

    Preventive maintenance is much preferred over crash recovery.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Update:

    I've had no drive issues of any kind since my last post in this thread. I ran the SeaTools for Windows Short Drive Self Test on the repaired drive today, and it passed. I'll wait another month and run the SeaTools for DOS long test on the drive.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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