Bad Sector Repair: How To Fix Bad Sectors On A Hard Disk

by Rod Dunne on October 2, 2010

in Articles, Data Recovery, Hardware

  • Share
  • Share

Harddisk bad sector repair is one of the easier tasks to perform. However, it won’t always fix PC errors 100% of the time and you may end up losing data on these bad sectors of the disk in some cases. This article look at bad sector repairing options and tools.

Causes Of The Fault

The problem can be due to mechanical or software problems.

  • Software: Issues relating to disk driver programs or bugs in system files can lead to the problem. Windows own repair tool (see how-to steps below) may be able to fix PC errors like these or will proceed to mark the sectors unusable if the repair is unachievable. The unusable sector is not used for saving any subsequent files and you should still be able to work with the healthy sectors.
  • Mechanical: Problems with a faulty drive head or other component can lead to bad sectors. In most cases, a harddisk bad sector repair tool will be incapable of fixing these faults. Data recovery software (e.g. Remo Undelete) may be able to recover lost data on the sectors if they are still at least readable.

Bad Sector Repairing: How-To Steps

Windows own disk checking tool is the ideal tool to begin attempting your repairs. Start by doing a full backup of your data prior to using the tool (just in case the fault spreads to other sectors). Our post on computer backup options details plenty of choices & their benefits, using tools like Final Sync or iDrive/My Live Drive.

Run the repair tool as follows:

  • Open Windows Explorer and expand the ‘My Computer’ root directory.
  • Go to the drive causing problems, right-click on it and choose ‘Properties’ from the context menu.
  • The drive’s properties window will pop up. Select the Tools tab. At the top you will notice an Error Checking Status section; click the ‘Check Now’ button in this section.
  • Depending on your OS version you will now see different options. Choose a ‘thorough’ scan if available or the option to ‘scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors’. Hit the ‘Start’ button to begin the repairs.

If this hard drive rescue approach succeeds then continue making backup copies of the disks contents to safeguard against further disk faults.

If it fails then you could consider third party tools (see below) which may be able to do more thorough scans & repairs. Alternatively, you may have to accept the sectors are unusable and may try recovery software to retrieve lost data.

Third Party Bad Sector Repair Tool Options

There are surprisingly few disk repair tools available. Perhaps this is due to the fact that each hard drives architecture and design differ making it unviable for one tool to be able to repair a range of products.

  • Bad sector repair free options: You should check out the hard drive manufacturer’s own website for free diagnostic and repair tools. If anything, they will be most familiar with the disk design and already have such tools in use by their own development teams.
  • Commercial options: There are relatively few tools on the market for HDD repair tasks. HD Tune Pro has an error scan tab for checking errors. HDDRegenerator has a bad sector repair section and is popular with fans of PC tuning.

It would be no harm to also run any registry cleaner applications, DLL fix tools and anti-virus programs. Although these are unrelated to the bad sector fault, they may identify subsequent issues for you.

Related Posts:
- How to fix a broken hard drive.
- Our post on external hard drive repair goes into the details of fixing faults on external disks.
- DLL repair tips and checks.

Previous post:

Next post: