Author Topic: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced  (Read 3715 times)

Offline geforceg4

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theres been two posts related to this lately..
one by lordgiffnock whos trying to install logic 2.5 on a performa 6360
and another by cliff os923 who was talking about -110 error + garyn suggested to replace drive

isnt there a diagnostic tool?
for checking to see if the hard drive is failing?
that shipped with the macs themselves? tech tool? i forget what its called


Offline GaryN

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2016, 12:53:43 AM »
There are S.M.A.R.T. monitor apps and lots of disk testing apps these days, but of course no good ones from the Classic OS era. On a dual-boot G4, one could probably run a competent test in OSX and re-initialize the HDD back to OS9. I suggested a quick swap because I know -110 is NOT common so it begged a couple of basic troubleshooting protocols but honestly…

The more I / we get to know 923 the more certain I am that he's doing something (don't know exactly what, but something) that's just plain out-of-bounds to the Finder and it's complaining.

Offline geforceg4

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2016, 01:28:44 AM »
personally i dont take any chances.. and if i score a second hand machine the first thing i do is trash the drive + put in a fresh one to eliminate any bullshit problems or slowness

alot of other users may not have this technical expertise or knowledge to know that this is a step that should be taken

i was just wondering if theres a telltale test to suggest for users like that!

Offline Mat

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2016, 01:30:24 AM »
Usually concerning the filesystem, DiskWarrior is the best you can get. It is not exactly what you are searching (or is it, as you had TechTool in mind?), but if that  software is failing you got a hardware issue.

The latest Version 2.1.1 is the best and solved every problem for me. So when DiskWarrior cannot help anymore, and problems occure after reformatting the complete disk again, it should be replaced.

It can still be purchased from Alsoft:
http://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/supportdw21.html

Offline geforceg4

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2016, 01:41:21 AM »
It can still be purchased from Alsoft:
http://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/supportdw21.html

yes but surely that version of the software is aimed at mac os x users?
http://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/requirements.html

Quote
DiskWarrior now ships on a bootable flash drive instead of DVD. If you plan to rebuild the directory of your startup (built-in) disk, you need to start up from another disk capable of starting up in OS X 10.5.8 through 10.11, such as the DiskWarrior Recovery flash drive or your Mac's OS X Recovery (the Recovery HD). OS X Recovery is available in OS X 10.7 (Lion) and later.

ok wait.. i see.. so are they are selling 2.1 for the same price as the osx product?

i personally have never used diskwarrior except that one time that someone suggested i try it due to btree errors but it didnt end well.
and it didnt help, i still had to wipe the drive + begin anew.

anyways i was just trying to give lordGiffnock some way of testing his drive on his performa 6360 with system 7.
diskwarrior 2.1 seems like it would work on system 7.6.1 ? right?

is there another option that doesnt require reaching for the wallet? considering its just a test before having to pay for a new hard drive..

Offline Mat

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2016, 01:44:33 AM »
Read to the end of the page you linked to! ;)

The 2nd last paragraph:

"Requirements for Older Macs
If you have older PowerPC-based Macs that are not capable of running OS X, DiskWarrior 2.1 is still available for purchase directly from Alsoft. Please contact our Technical Support Department to order."

Offline GaryN

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2016, 03:57:07 PM »
Once again people are simultaneously talking about different things without realizing it.

DiskWarrior, et al… will diagnose and reveal volume problems - not hardware problems.

Big difference! DW diagnoses and attempts to fix DATA corruption and such on the drive. It will not tell you if the HDD is about to melt down from a bearing failure or such. Those things require sensors that are built into modern drives that report S.M.A.R.T. data. It will respond to bad sectors that can no longer be written to or read from reliably although the info it gives you regarding that kind of stuff is pretty vague and all you can do is swap out the HD anyway just to be safe.

To go back again and endlessly repeat my original point, when you're using "ancient" hardware that's no longer "supported",

It is absolutely vital for you to have spares of failure-prone items on hand - both for diagnostics and for repair / replacement.

Offline geforceg4

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2016, 03:58:58 PM »
The 2nd last paragraph:

"Requirements for Older Macs
If you have older PowerPC-based Macs that are not capable of running OS X, DiskWarrior 2.1 is still available for purchase directly from Alsoft. Please contact our Technical Support Department to order."

i wonder what the price is though.. its pretty criminal if they charge the modern price the same as 10.11

Offline geforceg4

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2016, 03:59:38 PM »
Once again people are simultaneously talking about different things without realizing it.
DiskWarrior, et al… will diagnose and reveal volume problems - not hardware problems.
Big difference!

nice catch there.

Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2016, 05:49:25 PM »
As stated in Many posts...

1) Backup

2) Run the manufactures hardware test on a Windows PC (Mosts SATA tests work on IDE/PATA use and adapter),
the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics works on ALL brands and ALL styles, simply hook the drive up as a secondary and NOT the main drive (obviously a mac OS 9 drive will not boot anyway)

Lastly, don't expect to "see" the drive on the windows PC (it is formated HFS+), but the diagnostic will see the mac drive and you can test it, THIS IS A HARDWARE LEVEL TEST, IT IS NON-DESTRUCTIVE AND WILL NOT CHECK THE FILE STRUCTURE

Last Note: check can take 3 to 4 hours depending on size of the drive
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 08:03:52 AM by DieHard »

Offline Mat

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2016, 11:18:43 PM »
Once again people are simultaneously talking about different things without realizing it.
GaryN; perhaps we are facing a communication problem, but it I for myselve know exactly what I am talking about. At least in this case. ;)

DiskWarrior, et al… will diagnose and reveal volume problems - not hardware problems.
Perhaps you didn´t read my posting completely, but your statement is exactly what I said. Let me cite myselve:
concerning the filesystem, DiskWarrior is the best you can get. It is not exactly what you are searching, but ...

So I wanted to offer a quick and usable solution to geforceg4, so that he can guess if he has a hardware or software issue. On the other hand, I do not understand why you talk about SMART and such stuff, when geforceg4 is talking about a Performa, ... ?
Of course real hardware tests can be done with external computers like DieHard suggests, but this is also not what geforceg4 asked for, as he wrote "with the macs themselves".

So please read carefully, and don´t blame others for things that are simply not true.


Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2016, 08:24:27 AM »
I was just "adding" information for future readers; I was not commenting on the conversation; and let's all remember that we don't have to always be in agreement :)

That is the "fun" of the forum, some opinion, some fact, and let others research for their own needs.  You guys are ALL awesome, every member should realize that there are many languages here, that get translated to English and also realize that text does not always accurately convey an emotion; so with that said, we should all try to pick words carefully, try not to sound "condescending" and respect each other, always....

I kind a love you guys  :o   hmmm, that sounded a little weird, so I better go get a massage with a happy ending... anyway, let's all have fun with this and not develop a need to "be right" let's just share info :)

Lastly, a great utility, in the OS X world, that is the closest to a physical hard drive test is "Drive Genius"  I think the Apple techs themselves use it, we also use it here at the store

Offline geforceg4

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2016, 11:14:16 AM »
feel the brotherly mac love ;D

Offline ziggy29

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2016, 01:15:24 PM »
i wonder what the price is though.. its pretty criminal if they charge the modern price the same as 10.11
I also wonder if they would cut a break for folks who are already registered for a more recent version of the product.  It would feel really punitive if they didn't.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2016, 07:13:54 AM »
personally i dont take any chances.. and if i score a second hand machine the first thing i do is trash the drive + put in a fresh one to eliminate any bullshit problems or slowness
That's bad advice.
An old working HD has proven that it has been in good condition for a long time.
This means that it will be OK for many years to come.
I had over 20 computers in 30 years.
2 of those were new.
I had only 2 bad HD's: one that I smashed a door against, and one that I bought in a second hand store but this appeared to be one with a serious construction flaw that had been recalled by the factory.
Replace them only if they can't be formatted.
I throw them away if I find them too small, even if they are in perfect condition.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2016, 06:49:47 AM »
I checked my drives with Norton Utilities on Mac and Windows. They always say: no bad sectors. But then I tried Victoria 4.3 which can find slow sectors. Slow sectors are not marked as bad, but slow your computer down. If you lock them out, then you can get a speed boost.

Now I'm trying different programs.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2016, 05:25:53 AM »
Norton Utilities found no problems on my Mobile Drive XXS, but Victoria says 1 bad sector and 34 slow sectors in the first 18% of the disk. Then I reformatted it leaving the first 20% unformatted. I use it like this until I find a way to remap slow sectors. They say that Victoria can do this, but it has a strange interface and only a short introduction in Russian.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2016, 05:28:31 AM »
I did a low level format with HDD LLF Low Level Format Tool 4.40.
Then I started to use Turbo USB 2.0.
Now it reads at 34 MB/s instead of 27 MB/s.

Offline geforceg4

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2016, 08:28:30 PM »
That's bad advice.
An old working HD has proven that it has been in good condition for a long time.
This means that it will be OK for many years to come.
I had over 20 computers in 30 years.
2 of those were new.


hey its ok for you to disagree.. i would also have disagreed with myself 6 years ago
but now i realize when i can buy new 80gb mechanical seagate or WD drives for 20-25$ a piece its worth it to get a new drive rather then to fart around with some 10-12 year old drive i scored with an old computer..  because id rather spend my time DOING things, CREATING things, being creative.. + actually using the software rather then spending my entire life being my own tech support department.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2016, 07:53:54 AM »
Since I stick to OS 9 and XP I rarely have to update my software and that saves me more time than what I lose with tech support.

Offline dr bu

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2016, 01:14:53 PM »
yeah, creativity and the way it shows...
i installed 923s flush extension.
fine art and ingenuity at every startup  :-X :) >:(
lookin for original M-audio audiophile 2496 drivers (ver 1.x)!!

Offline IIO

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2016, 07:34:30 AM »
reveal volume problems - not hardware problems.

yet you can be sure that your drive will run out if you have 2000+ crosslinked files which are no loger readable, because that is usually caused by dead sectors.

the discussion of dealin with harddisks physically damaged is not a mac discussion, because low level formatting tools almost all only exist exclusively as DOS program.

btw, i find it totally anoying to search for bad sectors ... it takes about one week for a 1.5 terbyte drive in a G4. :(
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2017, 05:37:49 AM »
My experience with my drives is that Windows is faster to complain about bad sectors and the SMART is not as reliable as you may think.

I formatted my Freecom Mobile Drive XXS with OSX 10.4. It says everything fine. On my XP PC the SMART shows 1 reallocated sector. I format it with XP using the Freecom HD format program. The SMART shows thousands of reallocated sectors.

I formatted a WD2500JB with OSX 10.4. It says everything fine. I install this in a XP PC. It's whining all the time: bad blocks, bad clusters were replaced by Windows and so on. Everytime I run CHKDSK the list of pending sectors gets longer, but when I reformat the drive, the sectors are not reallocated, which means that they are false positives, correct me if I'm wrong.

Should I use a WD drive only with a Mac?

Offline nanopico

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2017, 05:51:47 AM »
Is it that windows complains faster/earlier or is it that OS X is correct?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, or break it so you can fix it!

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2017, 07:37:57 AM »
I think that OSX is correct and that Windows complains too early.

Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2017, 08:15:28 AM »
Quote
My experience with my drives is that Windows is faster to complain about bad sectors and the SMART is not as reliable as you may think

Well, unfortunately, I have to test up to 10 drives a day in 8 different testing servers, all day, everyday; and I can tell you that S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is very accurate and a godsend. It is very wise to get the data off when a smart failure happens and replace the drive. Temperature, Rotational speed, read errors, and other data that SMART utilizes is cold hard data and statistics and if you continue to use a drive that SMART deems on it's way out (as many of my clients do) you can buy a week, a month, and yes maybe a year, but you are prolonging the inevitable and most likely suffering with performance issues during the wait for the drive to totally die.

Get the data off, buy a new HD, and give the magnets to the kids or grand kids to play with from the old drive... they are so cool.  The point is, bad sectors usually lead to more (remember the old MFM, RLL days when we low level format... that was different technology, any SATA or PATA drive that needs low level formatting is ready for the trash, it should NEVER be done, it is on the way out, error mapping for the new technology drives is done at the factory... once)

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2017, 09:08:39 AM »
SMART is not reliable.

Quote from: www.BackBlaze.com
Each day Backblaze records the SMART stats that are reported by the 67,814 hard drives we have spinning in our Sacramento data center.
...
23.3% of failed drives showed no warning from the SMART stats we record.
...
SMART 189 – High Fly Writes ... Operational Drives: 16.4% The false positive percentage of operational drives having a greater than zero value may at first glance seem to render this stat meaningless.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2017, 09:14:52 AM »
Suppose that my HD is starting to fail, then how do you explain that my soft bad sectors are not 'promoted' to hard bad sectors when I reformat? (They are a small number.)

Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2017, 01:10:22 PM »
Suppose that my HD is starting to fail, then how do you explain that my soft bad sectors are not 'promoted' to hard bad sectors when I reformat? (They are a small number.)

"Soft" bad sectors do not always lead to hard errors, since they can be generated from abnormal shutdown and other issues, so yes, if you are really into low level formatting to remap/tag physical errors, and you notice that the number of blocks are much lower than the original "soft bad sectors" reported... then great, you dodged a bullet. 

Unfortunately, I am paranoid seeing hard drives fail everyday, and having to do data recovery with ice packs; so I stick to the "any small anomaly, replace the drive" method and I ebay all the drives that are probably perfect, for those lurking for a good deal :)

Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2017, 01:14:58 PM »
Server Bench 1 of 3 testing drives from 7:30am to 7:30 pm :)

Offline IIO

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2017, 03:48:53 PM »
reformatting - and the process of writing new data to it in general - will normally simply ignore bad sectors, and a bunch of bad sectors is absolutely normal.

however, if you have a disk which is 50% full and holds 1 millions files, and you notice that there are two dozen files which can no longer be read properly (but only slower as usual or no more at all), it is most likely that there are a few hundred thousand bad sectors on this disk.

in this case the reason of these bad sectors might be a head crash or a magnetisation problem, and this is a warning for a future growth of the number of bad sectors.

after a physical damage to a harddisk there is often shrapnel flying around in orbits, and this can easily cause further damage to the disk, for example when it is turned upside down.

such a disk should be thrown away, and not used for important data any more.
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline mrhappy

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2017, 07:03:28 AM »
Server Bench 1 of 3 testing drives from 7:30am to 7:30 pm :)

Sounds like a LOT of testing... somebody must be 'mainlining' IB Prfofin!!! ;D ;D ;D

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2017, 07:11:01 AM »
I tried GSmartControl under Linux. The Help says that there can also be a problem with buggy firmware or the manufacturer didn't follow the standard. Then I saw that there's a newer firmware for my WD and XXS as well as for my motherboard. I'll try that first.

GSmartControl appears to exist also for XP. I'll try that too.
gsmartcontrol.sourceforge.io

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2017, 07:28:51 AM »
I didn't update the firmware. I do this only if it's no more than starting an installer.

I installed W98 and it worked without error.

I installed XP, but it couldn't restart, because "NTLDR wasn't found", but when I booted from an USB stick then NTLDR was still there.

I created a partition in the last 8 GB of the HD. The rest was not partitioned. I installed XP and it works.

I installed Puran DiskFresh and let it refresh the entire volume, which was a bit weird, because you can continue to use the computer while it's working, on formatted as well as other areas. After 3 hours and 45 minutes it finished without error.

Is there something similar for OS 9 or OSX?

Offline IIO

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2017, 09:23:25 AM »
refreshing and/or low level formatting is usually a dos/win only job. the manufacturer of the HD should list somewhere which tools are available (it is mostly theirs which work best)
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline IIO

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2017, 09:45:26 AM »
btw, to "refresh" on mac why not just copy files off the disk and then copy them back.

this way you can also make sure that file are all still readable, and "refresh" the whole disk by reformatting it, move files away from faulty sectors and eventually delete tons of old crap which you dont need anymore. :)
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2017, 03:57:02 AM »
A copy on a Mac is not an exact copy. Aliases get in the mix. If you have an alias A to file B on volume C and you copy this to volume D then A on D will point to B on C instead of B on D. If you copy a keyring to another volume then it will create an alias to the keyring instead of a copy.

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2017, 04:04:36 AM »
I tried Norton Utilities 16.
It says everything OK, and 0 K in bad sectors.
The SMART status shows 1 uncorrectable sector.

Offline IIO

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2017, 01:23:28 PM »
that´s right, the catalog and driver are things you cant copy, it will be created new. but you want to check that part for physical integrity before anything else. ^^
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2017, 07:28:21 AM »
This may be one of those rare drives without spare sectors. And the bad sectors are not dealt with by reformatting, because writing zeroes will result in reading zeroes successfully, promoting the bad sectors to good sectors. That's how we get in a loop. It's better to write ones, which are then read as zeroes, which clearly reveals the bad sectors. That's why I tried the badblocks(8) test under Linux, saving the numbers of the bad blocks to a file. Then I used that file to format the disk as ext4. This incorporates the bad blocks into the file system. Then I installed Slacko Puppy 6.3.0.

Boot with Puppy CD.
Remove CD.
Type in terminal: badblocks -wvs -o /root/bad.txt /dev/sda
This took 28 hours and 16 minutes.
Mount the disk.
Do in GParted: create unformatted partition sda1
This actually creates an ext4 partition with bad sectors.
Type in terminal: mkfs.ext4 -l /root/bad.txt /dev/sda1
This creates an ext4 partition without bad sectors.
Insert CD.
Install Puppy.

If I want to install Windows, then I can type mkfs.ntfs -l /root/bad.txt /dev/sda1
Then Windows won't use the bad sectors.

I found 864 bad blocks this way, while SMART reported only 53.

This is also better than relying on XP's CHKDSK which doesn't have the /b option to rescan for bad blocks.

Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2017, 08:05:03 AM »
Quote
And the bad sectors are not dealt with by reformatting, because writing zeroes will result in reading zeroes successfully, promoting the bad sectors to good sectors.

I know I sound like a broken record...
but, If you can pull the drive and run the manufacturer's diagnostics in a windows PC, it will...
1) Scan every single sector (extended drive test)
2) Report after scan and ask if you want to "fix" bad blocks (mark,relocate, and update error map)
3) Report if the threshold of "too many" bad sectors is reached and determine if the drive is considered a "failure"

Offline OS923

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2017, 09:35:14 AM »
That was one of the first things that I tried. It's called Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows. It found no errors.

Offline DieHard

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Re: how to tell if your hard drive is failing + needs to be replaced
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2017, 09:33:53 AM »
That was one of the first things that I tried. It's called Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows. It found no errors.

Excellent :)