Chkdsk found bad sectors. Should I replace my Hard Drive?

This morning Chkdsk found and repaired several bad sectors on my primary hard drive. My computer appears to be running well at this point. Should I preemptively replace my hard drive when I can find time for it, or should I wait until the Hard Drive totally kicks the bucket? In other words, if bad sectors were cancer, what are the odds that my computer is terminal versus in remission?

For a little background, I bought my laptop about 3 years ago. I’m now running Windows 7. I have never had hard drive problems before on this computer. The hard drive with bad sectors is my primary hard drive and contains my operating system and all my installed programs. All my important files are backed up on an external hard drive.

Thank you!

Expect more bad sectors once they show up. Replace the drive.

Absolutely. Sometimes drives come with a sector or two marked bad, but if your drive is actively developing them then you should consider replacing the drive tonight or at the latest tomorrow. Drive fails can happen at any time and lots of bad sectors cropping up is a serious warning. At least backup your documents and things elsewhere tonight.

I agree with the other posters so far. This is usually a sign that your hard drive is malfunctioning and could go kaput at any time. I’d replace it as soon as you can and in the meantime make sure that your backup is up to date.

Thank you Harmonious Discord, HorseloverFat, and Apex Rogers. I’ll see about getting a replacement HD right away.

If your drive supports SMART you can get more detailed information on its health by checking on the errors that it keeps track of. A nice windows tool that does that is here:
Keep in mind that drives without any significant errors can still fail, and drives with some significant errors don’t necessarily fail. But statistically the drive is a lot more likely to fail after a few serious errors. As an example, according to the google disk failure study odds of disk survival after at least one scan error came out to something like this: 1 year 50%, 4 years 25%. If the operating system is seeing bad sectors then I suspect your odds are actually much worse than that. I’m curious what the SMART check finds.

you may want to look for an app called drivesitter, free 30 day trial, it pulls smart data every 15 minutes and will fairly accurately forecast a drive failure.

Also you can get a 10 day demo of acronis true image which should be able to clone the drive for you fairly easily.

I’d be more concerned with getting your important data backed up, if you haven’t already.

You didn’t mention whether these all happened at once, or over time. A single time where things go bad is not as bad as multiple things going bad over time. A bad sector can happen for other reasons than imminent drive failure.

And I definitely support checking the SMART data. But I also know I have 10 hard drives I bought on eBay that have said they are about to fail for three or four years.

Drive sitter looks at frequency of changes to SMART attributes and weights them appropriately. You probably have a drive with a bad attribute but its stable there.

FWIW, if you are going to get a new drive, I recommend Seagate. I have many going back to the mid 80’s, all still in at least occaisional use and hav NEVER had one go bad. Other brands, not so much. Only had one MAXTOR death, however, so they are 2nd choice. Western Digital - most frequent corpses.

Thank you John! That’s a cool utility. I’ve dumped what it found into this post. It reports that the HD health status is ‘good’. I may hold off on replacing the Hard Drive for a while to see if any more errors pop up. I’ve only had errors pop up once, and all at once, so nothing is progressive…yet.

Also, drachillix, thank you for your suggestion about acronis. I’ve bookmarked their page, but since it’s a 10 day trial, I’ll wait until I’m ready to make the switch before I get started with imaging the drive. My install of Win 7 is still pretty new so I wasn’t really looking forward to flattening and re-installing just yet :slight_smile:

        Model : FUJITSU MHW2080BH
     Firmware : 0085001C
Serial Number : K10AT782DW6R

Total Disk Size : 80.0 GB (8.4/80.0/80.0)
Buffer Size : 8192 KB
NV Cache Size : ----
Queue Depth : 32
Number of Sectors : 156301488
Rotation Rate : Unknown
Interface : Serial ATA
Major Version : ATA8-ACS
Minor Version : ATA8-ACS version 3b
Transfer Mode : SATA/150
Power On Hours : 7551 hours
Power On Count : 2780 count
Temparature : 39 C (102 F)
Health Status : Good
Features : S.M.A.R.T., APM, AAM, 48bit LBA, NCQ
APM Level : 4080h [ON]
AAM Level : FE80h [ON]

– S.M.A.R.T. --------------------------------------------------------------
ID Cur Wor Thr RawValues(6) Attribute Name
01 100 100 _46 000000038F14 Read Error Rate
02 100 100 __0 000001290000 Throughput Performance
03 100 100 _25 000000000001 Spin-Up Time
04 _99 _99 __0 000000000B07 Start/Stop Count
05 100 100 _24 07D000000000 Reallocated Sectors Count
07 100 100 __0 000000000A76 Seek Error Rate
08 100 100 __0 000000000000 Seek Time Performance
09 _85 _85 __0 000000001D7F Power-On Hours
0A 100 100 __0 000000000000 Spin Retry Count
0C 100 100 __0 000000000ADC Power Cycle Count
BF 100 100 __0 0000000002F1 G-Sense Error Rate
C0 100 100 __0 000000000031 Power-off Retract Count
C2 100 100 __0 0033000B0027 Temperature
C3 100 100 __0 00000000001C Hardware ECC recovered
C4 100 100 __0 00001ACC0000 Reallocation Event Count
C5 100 100 __0 000000000000 Current Pending Sector Count
C6 100 100 __0 000000000000 Uncorrectable Sector Count
C7 200 200 __0 000000000000 UltraDMA CRC Error Count
C8 100 100 __0 0000000026C9 Write Error Rate
C9 100 100 __0 000000000000 Soft Read Error Rate
CB 100 100 __0 0064FEA9004C Run Out Cancel
E1 _94 _94 __0 00000001E803 Load/Unload Cycle Count
F0 200 200 __0 000000000000 Head Flying Hours

Get SpinRite. It is the best software for hard-disk maintenance and recovery. It will tell you everything you need to know about the state of your hard disk, and will extend the life of a hard drive with bad sectors.

There are several layers of disk based hardware error correction that hide drive media errors from the OS, by the time the OS is seeing and reporting chkdsk errors the best analogy is that the plane is on fire and headed to the ground. The only question is whether you will glide in over a few months or crash in hours/days/weeks.

Drives are cheap, best replace it sooner than later.

The os can also be reporting drive errors that are controller related and not part of the drive. Smart polling apps are designed to pull the “hidden” info you refer to. The smart report he posted does not show any issues.

Maxtor doesn’t exist anymore—Seagate bought them in 2006. As for which brand of hard drives to buy, they’re all pretty much identical in terms of failure rates—Seagate, WD, Hitachi, Samsung—choose a drive based on the best deal you can find, and don’t worry so much about brands.

It was just a year ago that Seagate had a huge fiasco with buggy firmware causing their drives to brick themselves in mass:

Particularly worrying is the paragraph 3rd from the end where Seagate corrected the buggy firmware but didn’t bother recalling the defective units already on shelves.

I’ve had Seagate, Western Digital and Maxtor drives all die on me. The question is not if, but when re failure with all hard drives. Backup and replace after a few years even if it’s working. Drives are to the point of being like razor blades. They are wear items with limited lifetimes, and it’s prudent to replace them every so often even if they are working.

I had assumed that the “Hardware ECC Recovered” message was the troublesome one, but when you assume…

From what I’ve read here, and here, it sounds like it’s mostly a crap shoot whether the drive will die sooner rather than later. However, I don’t think it’s worth 70 dollars of my time to re-install everything from scratch, so I’ll go ahead and do the replacement as soon as possible. I’ve already ordered my new drive and I’ll try to use acronis to copy over my installed OS and programs.

Thank you again for your help!

SMART is borderline useless. Ive seen drive fail with perfect SMART readings. By the time SMART is reporting its too usually too late. Im a network administrator responsible for hundreds of drives. Its incredible how poor fail prediction is. 10 years from now when we’re all using SSD we’ll be laughing at what we had to put up with with these spinning monstrosities.

Hard drives are far from intuitive. If youre getting bad sectors on the filesystem level where the OS is reporting them then you have a bad drive. Sure, it may last a month or a few, but you dont want a fail in the middle of an airport and losing all your documents for a presentation. Toss it. Drives are disposable.

Not to mention, silent corruption. The OS may not be seeing that half your files now have a few random flipped bits which means you better have backups from a few months ago because your last few backups have been corrupt.