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Hard disks: reallocated sector count


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#1
Chicken mania

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Just a few hours ago, I installed smart monitoring tools on Ubuntu Linux and by running a set of commands, I was able to do a SMART report on my WD800JD Sata hdd.

Anyways, does anyone know how to read this data to see what my reallocated sector count is? I presume it's 558 but okay, is there a way to find out if it's a "soft bad sector"? Also, I've tried looking up Western Digital's specifications list but it doesn't mention how many spare allocated sectors the hard disk has.

So far, I've run Spinrite on most of the partitions and there haven't been any bad blocks or unreadable sectors, though. I've also never encountered any problems with my files and folders(no read/write errors, no corrupted files) on my SATA hdd. If Windows XP had problems, it was because of spyware and too many programs being installed. And if anything, it's my PATA hdd that's become noisier and slightly slower by the years.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x000b 200 200 051 Pre-fail Always - 0
3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0007 107 101 021 Pre-fail Always - 2008
4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 100 100 040 Old_age Always - 986
5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 130 130 140 Pre-fail Always FAILING_NOW 558

Edited by Chicken mania, 16 April 2007 - 04:15 AM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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Reallocated Sector Count, for most units, is a record of how badly this drive is failing. Rather than worry about finding out what your threshold is, I would budget for replacing it in the near future, as if it has had to reallocate 558 sectors, its not a good sign.

Count of reallocated sectors. When the hard drive finds a read/write/verification error, it marks this sector as "reallocated" and transfers data to a special reserved area (spare area).

This process is also known as remapping and "reallocated" sectors are called remaps. This is why, on a modern hard disks, you can not see "bad blocks" while testing the surface - all bad blocks are hidden in reallocated sectors. However, the more sectors that are reallocated, the more a sudden decrease (up to 10% and more) can be noticed in the disk read/write speed.
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#3
Chicken mania

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Reallocated Sector Count, for most units, is a record of how badly this drive is failing. Rather than worry about finding out what your threshold is, I would budget for replacing it in the near future, as if it has had to reallocate 558 sectors, its not a good sign.

Count of reallocated sectors. When the hard drive finds a read/write/verification error, it marks this sector as "reallocated" and transfers data to a special reserved area (spare area).

This process is also known as remapping and "reallocated" sectors are called remaps. This is why, on a modern hard disks, you can not see "bad blocks" while testing the surface - all bad blocks are hidden in reallocated sectors. However, the more sectors that are reallocated, the more a sudden decrease (up to 10% and more) can be noticed in the disk read/write speed.

Thank you for all the explanations! :whistling: I actually ran Spinrite Lvl 4 but it did not spot any bad sectors so far.
Just a question, though: why do some people actually talk about "soft" bad sectors? And what are they, actually?
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#4
Neil Jones

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A "soft bad sector" is one that can be fixed by totally overwriting everything on the disk with zeros - that is, its not a "proper" bad sector, it can be "fixed".
A "hard bad sector" is one that cannot be fixed by overwriting the drive - its essentially a mechanical failure waiting to happen. In most cases you'll be able to hear the drive making heavy weather of starting up and slow performance - in the worst case scenario it'll pack up altogether.
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#5
Chicken mania

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A "soft bad sector" is one that can be fixed by totally overwriting everything on the disk with zeros - that is, its not a "proper" bad sector, it can be "fixed".
A "hard bad sector" is one that cannot be fixed by overwriting the drive - its essentially a mechanical failure waiting to happen. In most cases you'll be able to hear the drive making heavy weather of starting up and slow performance - in the worst case scenario it'll pack up altogether.

Interesting... since I never had any problems of the SATA hdd starting up or any slow performance, I can only assume that it's failing in some other way. Nevertheless, even though the hdd seems to be okay for now, I'm not taking any chances. I'm backing up/deleting everything on this hdd/another partition on my secondary hdd(IDE). At least it's not conking out yet so I can backup all my data! :blink: In fact, I've backed up about 60% of my data. I'm guessing that the newer hard disks tend to die slowly than quickly, thus allowing for time to backup and even clone the o/s partitions.

Huh and running Spinrite on many of my partitions didn't do any good. A lvl 2 didn't detect any errors. Ran lvl 4 on most of them, also no errors so far.

Oh and thank you for the explanations. :help:

Anyways, since it's still within warranty, it's time for an RMA. :whistling:

Edited by Chicken mania, 17 April 2007 - 10:25 PM.

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