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Really damaged HDD, is there a faster way to identify and mark bad blocks?

January 25Hits:2

I have this 120GB HDD with ~2-3GB of contiguous bad sectors on it, no way to regenerate them, but other than that, still usable. I don't have splinters running inside, so it seem safe for now (or for a while).

I tried HDD Low Level Format Tool , but it's taking too long to pass the damaged area. It takes about 7-8 minutes/MB. The damaged area is in the middle of the disk, so it's very uncomfortable for me to make two partitions that will keep the damage between them.

I would really like to have a option to isolate them, so the head won't go over them again.

The HDD was usable, I was actually using it, until I noticed data loss on my D partition. That made me to discover the damage.

The solution I need should better be a bootable one, because at this moment I don't have any OS installed. I tried LLF from a hiren's disk.


  • I DON'T want to recover any data from it, just to make it functional again.
  • I don't have any OS on it
  • It's partly low-level formatted (with LLF), so it's a Raw Disk.

All I need is a relatively QUICK way to isolate that bad area. It's contiguous, because it appeared after the laptop, while running, was dropped on the floor.


You can not truly isolated that many bad sectors. Chances are a new bad sector or two is added every week, and the system will keep stumbling over them.

  1. Good drive recovery programs which might attempt to fix or hide these areas would take over a year to run with that many bad sectors. (Referring to mhdd or SpinRite) It took SpinRite 3 real months to process 300 really bad sectors.
  2. Your only band-aid, not to be confused with fix, is to format it and you might have to quick format it. Then run chkdsk /r c: However, with that many bad sectors it might take days (and yet this would still be the fastest option) to process than many bad sectors.
  3. If you partitioned around it you could either use junctions (mklink /j) or hard link the second partition to the first one at some location. Possibly or best option under this solution is to junction "Program files" and "Program files (x86)" to the second partition. Then you could junction other folders, on an as needed basis to maximize the usable space.

HDRecover on SourceForge looks promising. It requires Linux, so if you don't have a live CD of your favorite distro laying around, you'd need to download one first. Description reads:

Tool to encourage hard disks to reallocate bad sectors allowing data recovery and possible continued use of the hard disk.

The reviews look promising, although I haven't tried it personally.

I would at least attempt to run Disk Check:


Try and give it sometime to work. If it doesn't work then I would try to copy over the files slowly (one at a time) so it doesn't overload the few sectors left.

If it goes too far, and all the sectors become damaged, the link also includes details on how to recover data from bad sectors via a command line.

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