How to Revive Faulty Hard Disk

20 December 2008

There are many reasons why computer always hang or run slowly or sometimes, even re-start itself. One of reasons can be traced to the harddisk failure. Normally, one would repair the harddisk by recovering the bad sectors using "Chkdsk" in the "Windows Recovery Console". However, there will be times that even this method won’t help. This article will describe another method to revive that harddisk.

How Long the Harddisk will last After the Revival?
It will depend on the condition of the harddisk. If the harddisk had a crash, there is a good chance that the harddisk will not last too long before it will fail again. Therefore, it is good to make a safe copy of the important data in the harddisk whenever possible.

Harddrives are quite cheap nowaday; it will make good sense to replace rather than to repair or revive them. But if one had decided to give the revival a try, this article will describe one method.

What’s needed?
1. Low Level format software (free to download from here)
2. Partitioning software such as Partition Magic or equivalent

Step by Step Procedures
a) Non Destructive Method
This method will make use of the PartitionMagic to create a new partition to isolate the bad section and to use the healthy part of the harddisk.

The method will retain most of the applications and programs in the harddisk. One might have to perform a low level format describe in Section (b) when there are too many bad sectors in the harddisk.

1. Estimate where to create this partition
When performing "Chkdsk" operation, observe the progress counter and note down its percentage when Chkdsk got stuck. The following example will assume that the counter got stuck at 75% while checking D: drive.

2. Start up PartitionMagic
One would be greeted by this screen that shows all the partitions in the harddisk.

3. Create New Partition
Select to “create new partition” in the “Wizard” and after answering a few questions about how to use new partition and the type of file system, one would come to the following screen where one would have to specify the location for the new partition.

Since the Chkdsk counter was stuck at 75% when scanning D: drive and D: has 50 GB, one would like to create a new partition between D: drive and E: drive and take about 35-40% off from D: drive to make this new partition. One might have to release some space in D: drive if it is full. New partition can only be created from free and unused disk space.

In case when error is encountered during the process of creating a new partition, either try to resize or erase the new partition, then assign a smaller size of partition to isolate the faulty session,

Click “Finish” and subsequently, click “Apply Change” to make the changes. Thereafter, format the entire disk so that a drive number can be assigned to the new partition just created.

4. Check For Errors
Check the various partitions for errors using the utility programs available under the “operation” menu of the PartitionMagic. Resize the new partition and recheck for error if necessary.

(Note: The above example assumed that the harddisk is still working with some errors in one section. If the faulty harddisk cannot start properly, one would have to hook the harddisk as a slave. The latter is always recommended because one might have to tweak the size of the new partition to locate the faulty section and it would save the trouble of re-starting the computer to change the partition sizes)

b) Destructive Method: Low Level Format
When there are too many bad sectors or faulty sections in the harddisk, it is always good to backup the important data and perform a low level formatting. This low level formatting will always require the faulty drive to be hooked up as a slave drive.

1. Download the low level format program from here.

2. After installation, run “LLFTOOL.EXE” and follow the instruction to select the faulty drive and then select low level format page.

Double confirm the correct faulty drive before you press the button “FORMAT THIS DEVICE” because all data in the drive will be erased and gone permanently.

3. Create new partitions and reformat the harddisk as if it is a new harddisk

4. Reinstall operating system and the rest of the applications/software

Note: If one still encounters problem, one can go through the Section (a) again to isolate the faulty sections.

Related Articles

1. Repair Damage Master Boot Record & Boot Sectors
2. Replacing the Hard Disk


John said...

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Unique and beautiful pictures.

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Keep blogging.
Happy holidays.

Joseph wills said...

I appreciate the way you describe the whole method in very easy and simple steps....