External Hard Drive Repair: Partition and Sector Damage Tips

by Rod Dunne on February 21, 2011

in Laptop

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Fixing bad sectors as part of external hard drive repair is one of the simpler tasks to perform. However, it will not always be 100% successful. This article shows you how to use free utilities from Microsoft to analyze and repair partition damage. It also suggests some third-party applications can do more in-depth analysis.

Bad sectors on disk can become corrupted due to software or hardware damage. Hardware faults may actually result in further sectors becoming faulty especially if the root of the issue is a damaged read head.

The Microsoft Route

Microsoft provide a basic disk checking utility that can be used to scan the disk. The one thing to be aware of when using the product is that any sectors it is incapable of fixing will be marked/labeled as off-limits for future storage. This protects you from losing any data at a later stage if it were to be stored in these bad sectors.

Windows disk checking tool is run as follows:

  • Launch a Windows Explorer dialog/window.
  • Find the external hard drive that is causing you problems. Right click on the drives icon and pick properties from the context menu.
  • In the properties pop-up dialog, choose the tools tab.
  • At the top of the tools tab you’ll find an error checking section that includes a Check Now button. Click this.
  • Each version of Windows provides different options at this point to customize the scan analysis you want to do. Select a basic option if available to scan for and attempt repairs of bad sectors. Click Start to begin a scan.

The Commercial Route

Aside from this product, there are relatively few external hard drive repair utilities on the market. You could search for disk checking programs specifically relating to your hard drive brand (i.e. via the manufacturer’s website).

Alternatively two generic options you can try are HDD Regenerator and HD Tune Pro which are quite effective at analyzing disk partitions, clusters and sectors for signs of faults or corruption.

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