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Old 02-26-2004, 06:38 AM   #1
gkneller
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Windows partition has bad sectors. Will 'dd' work in place of low level format?


Not sure if this is a hardware or software question, so apologies if it's in the wrong place.

I don't want to lose all the data on my entire disk, which is what would happen if I used the manufacturer's utility (the drive is a 60GB IBM Deskstar). Can I use the dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda3 to do the same thing?

Alternatively, does anyone know of a way to repair a FAT32 fs under Linux?

Thanks for any help.
 
Old 02-26-2004, 07:57 AM   #2
arnold
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which OS detects the problem - win/linux?
have you booted win? does win detect the problem?
have you tried the win disk repair?
 
Old 02-26-2004, 08:46 AM   #3
gkneller
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Sorry, should have been more precise.

:: Cannot boot into Windows, can boot into Linux (lilo is the boot manager).
:: If I use a Windows startup disk and run scandisk, it freezes, then tells me that it can't continue.
:: I can access some of my Windows files from Linux (but naturally not the ones I want! ), but more often than not the disk just churns away and makes Linux unresponsive.
:: The IBM utility that I mentioned above found various bad sectors on the disk, but could not repair them.
:: As far as I can tell, the bad sectors only exist in the Windows partition.
:: If I stay away from the Windows partition, Linux (Slackware 9.1, incidentally) runs as well as it always has.

This has happened a couple of times before (I'm going to think very carefully before buying another IBM disk), and in each case I've just used the IBM low level format utility to wipe the entire disk, which makes it fully usable again.

I was just hoping that someone knew of a utility (dd seems the obvious choice, but will it work?) which could do the same job from Linux, so I wouldn't have to reinstall everything just to make Windows work again.
 
Old 02-26-2004, 12:41 PM   #4
JaseP
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If you have sectors going in the win partition, your Linux partitions will follow. Often, loosing sectors is an indication that either the physical harware inside the drive is failing (stepper motors, etc.), or that the platter is oxidizing, which will spread throughout the whole disk surface.

You need to copy the good Linux user partitions to a new drive ASAP. As for the win stuff, I'd recommend a good stand alone disk recovery program. I haven't used one in a long time and so I can't make recomendations. It seems to me though, that you may not be able to pull info off this drive at all soon. Get what you can now, especially your /home partition (you can always transplant that into a fresh install of Linux and keep your user data).
 
Old 02-26-2004, 04:25 PM   #5
gkneller
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JaseP, you were absolutely right - bad sectors across the entire disk not long after Windows failed. Managed to save most of my stuff though, so thanks very much for the warning.
 
Old 02-26-2004, 11:35 PM   #6
JaseP
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You're welcome.

Hard Disks fail for 3 reasons:

1) Hardware mechanisms (stepper motors that position the heads for example) fail
2) Imperfections on the platter (often a kind of "rusting" that spreads rapidly)
3) Accidents (like voltage spikes or dropping)

In my experience there are two models of hard drive that are best.
They are Seagate and Western Digital.
Maxtor comes close but they are too delicate.
Western Digitals are noisy and tempermental in their jumper settings.
 
  


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