hard drive - Repair bad sectors and mbr in hdd

  • Mohammed Yassine

    I launched chkdsk, suddenly my PC goes off, and my HDD was damaged !

    I have 3 partitions (including the system-reserved one ) I can't access the root one (where win8 was installed and where I have my important files ), even, while installing a new system, the installation program goes off when it try to scan my HW configuration.

    After a lot of work I recovered my data and I formatted those 3 partitions. I tried to reinstall win8 and I had some errors while copying system files, I tried to reinstall it several time, after that, and the installation program couldn't be launched.

    This morning I tried a physical format and I canceled it in 3%. Now I can access the installation program but I can't partition my HDD.

    I wonder if the hdd's mbr is damaged or I have some bad sectors ( because I had some problems while copying my files and this is why I ran chkdsk )

  • Answers
  • AthomSfere

    First, fixing the MBR and Bad Sectors are 2 entirely different things. Once can be fixed, one cannot.

    The MBR is just the first set of instructions on the partition that hands the BOOT processes to the OS. Running fix MBR from the Windows disk will fix this.

    Bad sectors, can only be hidden or ignored. When you search for bad sectors, the drive just marks those sectors as bad so that in the future it will not try to read or write to those sectors. If you have a couple, thats can be OK. If you have a lot of bad sectors, that's indicative of a bad drive and the drive should be replaced. Generally more sectors will fail, causing the chronic cycle of repairing...

    You should find the diag utility for your hard drive and test the drive, if it fails warranty the drive or replace it.

  • Wizard Prang

    For sorting out the bad sectors, my recommendation would be Spinrite. It costs $90, but it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.


  • Related Question

    hard drive - Data recovery needed with a Sector Zero problem on a HDD
  • Jay Robins

    I left my computer (running XP) copying files to an external drive. After returning a few hours later, the laptop was pretty hot and had frozen.

    I forced a reboot, and the laptop HDD hasn't worked since. I've set it up in an external enclosure, but XP can't mount the HDD to a drive letter, but is able to recognize the manufacturer and drive size (Hitachi, 320GB). There is no noise or rattling when the drive is spinning, but I can't get anything off of it since it can't be mounted, or see much of anything.

    A computer repair shop ran some software tests and says that it came back with a "Zero Sector bad" message, and I need to send it to a professional data recovery service.

    Are there any other options or ideas, before I have to spend thousands of dollars to recover my data?

  • Related Answers
  • Breakthrough

    If the drive doesn't show up in Windows explorer, the partition table might be corrupted. You can use TestDisk (free, cross-platform, and open source) to repair/overwrite them (it can find corrupted or missing partitions and rewrite the partition table).

    Alternatively, you can also use TestDisk to simply recover the files (if you just want to format and start from scratch). TestDisk can also overwrite/recover the MBR or boot sector if that's corrupted as well. I've had success using it to copy files off of corrupted partitons/drives, since Windows Explorer would often hang when copying from bad sectors.

  • Randolf Richardson

    Here are two things you can try before data recovery, but keep in mind that the more you try to use the drive, the less chance you have of getting a successful recovery, so you'll need to think carefully about this before proceeding...

    Use Drive Snapshot to get a snapshot image of your entire hard drive. If it can't recognize the partition, you can at least get a copy of all sectors which you could later try to mount (sometimes this actually works) or at least run a disk editor over (either the virtually mounted volume, or a new hard drive that you write the image on to).

      Drive Snapshot (free 30-day trial)

    Run SpinRite to recover bad sectors from your hard drive. This is a tool made by the famous Steve Gibson, and the techniques he uses have recovered data from bad sectors on drives that other tools just couldn't do anything with back in the days when XT (4.77 MHz 8088 CPU) computers were the newest technology available.


  • Simon Sheehan

    I agree with what's above: right now you probably have a straightforward case for a data recovery lab. But depending on what steps you take to get the data back yourself, you risk permanent loss.

    I'd at least call some data recovery labs like Gillware and Drivesavers to see what their price estimate is before going further with anything else yourself. If you're expecting thousands, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

    This is probably a $400 to $600 case. Then you can weigh that against the value of your data and see what you want to do. A good data recovery lab won't charge you if they can't get your data back.