Windows 98: Scandisk, bootup, and "bad" segments

Last night I had to have the PC in “safe mode” again. I had switched it on with a floppy in the A:\ drive by mistake. I popped the floppy out, but instead of the usual bootup screen I got some lines in DOS. A discolored version of my desktop screen appeared.
Fortunately, I was able to run the Scandisk, which showed the regular Windows dialog box with Scandisk progress indicated by a growing horizontal line of dark-blue rectangles near the bottom of the box. When the procedure finished, the statistics box showed X number of bytes in “bad” segments, or whatever. And I restarted and rebooted to restore the normal screen. When I had to run Scandisk last year, off DOS, the screen showed a large colorful affair with rectangular boxes with black dots in them, “bad” ones indicated by a different color. (I had to transfer a “bad” file onto a floppy to restore the regular bootup.)
So what I want to know is: Is it possible to display that colorful screen with the dotted rectangles when a Scandisk runs with the PC in normal mode?

Umm, isn’t that ‘show details’ option when running scandisk? I forgot what it’s called, but when you run it there should be a box to let you show details & see those pretty squares, which I like too.

Oh, wait, that’s for Defrag…well, check anyway.

You have to check the box for a surface scan. I think it is labeled “thourough”. If your drive is getting bad sectors it might be time to think about getting another drive.

No, the Windows version of Scandisk doesn’t give nearly as much useful information as the DOS version. It’s generally better to boot to DOS and run it from there. If the surface scan shows any bad sectors you should replace your drive immediately.

I’ll second Number’s recommendation, here. I used to run a network with about 200 users. Whenever we saw a PC start to show up with bad sectors on its hard drive, it was only a matter of time before that drive went belly up, and usually a short time, like a few weeks. The bad sectors seemed to spread like a particularly aggressive cancer. Make sure you’re religious about making backup copies of anything you really care about!

Not necessarily. Bad sectors is a fact of life when you use computers. That’s just from wear and tear and defects in workmanship. Certainly, HDD’s all go bad after a definite period of time, so there’s no big deal there.

At any rate, backing up data is a good idea regardless whether your HDD has bad sector or not.

Yeah, DOS scandisk gives you more info, and only Defrag in MSWindows is going to display anything colourful.

As for the failing disk, I’m with Number and Early Out. No new disk should have bad sectors, and any recent disk has a separate section used when sectors go bad, so “only your HD knows for sure”. If your OS can find bad sectors, it means things aren’t good. In my limited (knock knock) experience in bad sectors on drives, they tend to multiply, the disk takes forever to read/write certain parts, then your system stability goes downhill fast.

If you want to see how your HD actually is, there are utilities that can interrogate the disk itself and get the true status. Haven’t tried any myself, but a search for “disk utilities” or something should give you something. I just installed the one below, so I’m gonna reboot now. :slight_smile:

Steve Gibson has this to say.

SpinRite may be better at detecting minor drive problems than Scandisk, but Nanoda is right; if the operating system can detect bad sectors then the drive is on the verge of failure. There’s nothing any piece of software can do to prevent physical deterioration.

How so? Just because some bad sectors are developing doesn’t mean the entire disk will go bad. The only time that will happen is when the bad sectors hit the critical areas (e.g. master boot block). Otherwise, my experience with disk failures showed that HDDs are likely to fail suddenly. YMMV.