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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Chkdsk and bad sectors (XP Pro SP2)

    I recently replaced my hard drive, and Dell tech support had me do a "Quick" NTFS format when I was installing WinXP, so I just got around to doing a thorough Chkdsk as a follow-up. It reported 0 bad sectors (hooray). But in doing a little reading about Chkdsk, I was struck by this cheerful little entry from the Windows "Help and Support Center" (also available at Microsoft's website):
    <hr>Bad sectors reported by chkdsk were marked as bad when your disk was first prepared for operation. They pose no danger.<hr>
    This surprised me, because if Bill had asked me to write this, my entry would have sounded more like this: "Bad sectors reported by chkdsk may mean your hard drive is failing. These sectors may have been marked as bad when your disk was first prepared for operation (in which case they pose no danger), but unless you know that for sure (and especially if you've had other signs of hard drive trouble), you should (1) back up your data, and (2) not wait too long before running another thorough chkdsk. If the 2nd chkdsk reports more bad sectors than the first one, (1) stay backed up, and (2) it is probably time to replace your hard drive."

    Am I missing something? If Microsoft's entry is as big a howler as I think, and if one or more knowledgeable Loungers could reply to this post and confirm that, it might help prevent a future Lounger who's searching for posts on chkdsk and/or bad sectors from being misled.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Chkdsk and bad sectors (XP Pro SP2)

    Bad sector notifications can certainly be a forewarning of impending hard drive problems. But, it's very difficult to know for sure. A hard drive may often be delivered with a so-called tolerable number of unreadable sectors that might NEVER impede your use of the drive. It also can occur that during the use of the drive, some areas of the disk have developed imperfections that cause the CHKDSK command to "rope off" some sectors. This, in itself, doesn't necessarily imply an impending failure. BUT, you're right to be concerned and alert to the possibility that a drive MIGHT fail at some point. All the more reason for reliable backup and constant attention to performance!

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Chkdsk and bad sectors (XP Pro SP2)

    I'll second Al's post.

    I'll also add that LCD displays have a certain "allowable" number of dead pixels - that is, those that stay on or off regardless of what they should be doing - just as hard drives can have bad sectors. In most cases, bad sectors on a hard drive are transparent and have no impact. If the disk is failing, due diligence such as that you described can help avert problems. There are two classes of computer users: those who have lost all of their data, and those who will. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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