Is reloading Windows on HDD with bad sectors safe

  roger 13:33 27 Nov 2004

When I got to the laptop yesterday morning there was a black screen and a message saying the computer could not find an operating system.

I tried to re-boot but could not get past the first Windows screen. I tried starting with the last known configuration that worked but that did not. I tried to get into Safe Mode but could not. I then decided to re-install XP but when I got to the formatting bit it would not do the formatting – either quick or full. I then down loaded a Win ME boot disk (as per the original system that came with the computer) and used that to fully re-format the hard drive. It finally did that.

The final progress message that I now have on the screen is:

38,145.00 MB total disk space
4.06 MB in bad sectors
38,149.00 MB available on disk

32,768 bytes in each allocation unit
1,220,509 allocation units available on disk

Volume serial number is 3C63-1BFF

All comments and advise will be much appreciated.



  Peverelli 14:37 27 Nov 2004

If the 'bad sectors' figure starts to rise then it might be wise to purchase a new HD.

click here

  ACOLYTE 14:41 27 Nov 2004

I would back up and get another hard drive,it may not fail straight away but if its showing bad sectors then its on it way,most modern hdd have many more sectors incase bad ones appear so you should never see bad sectors,if you are then the hdd has ran out of spare sectors and may be on its way out.You could try the hdd makers site and see if there is a utility to check the drive,most have them for download.

  Strawballs 15:23 27 Nov 2004

That is not always the case, on my last machine I had a similar problem so I scandisked through start disk and quarentined the sector reinstalled windows and carried on using that disk for over a year before replacing with a larger one and it is now giving good service in a friends machine.

  Peverelli 16:21 27 Nov 2004

The odd bad sector here and there isn't a problem (in Roger's case, we're talking about 0.01% of his drive's capacity) but as I stated earlier, if the amount of bad sectors start to increase then the drive is probably on its way out.

  woodchip 16:36 27 Nov 2004

If the Bad sectors have been marked out by Scandisk and as above you do not get any more it should be OK as if they are marked out the files will not be loaded to these clusters

  roger 17:03 27 Nov 2004

Thanks very much everyone for all your comments and suggestions. It really has been most helpful.

As this is on my laptop which I use as a back up to my main desktop machine (in addition to copying my date to CD) and for travelling I am happy to give it a go and reload everything up, scan disk and quarantine as suggested Strawballs and woodchip and watch the bad sector levels as mentioned by Peverelli and if the sectors do start to increase then take pre-emptive action at the appropriate time.

When do I do the scandisk and quarantine. Presumably I can only do it after I have reloaded windows because at the moment I have a freshly formatted hard drive waiting for my recovery disk?


  woodchip 19:51 27 Nov 2004

Scandisk at regular periods, it will tell you if it's found any more. You need to make a note of how many bites bad there are, and check after running the above, by comparison.

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