Yeah, unfortunately, that data is often useless. If you run Speedfan and check the SMART data, there’s an option to “view detailed” - Which kicks you to an awesome web page that tells you the actual useful stuff. I’ll detail some examples so you’ll get an idea of what this sort of stuff has helped me deal with.
This report was from a system that suddenly developed errors trying to boot into Windows. The client had attempted Windows 7 startup repair, which was worthless as usual. First thing I did was slave the drive to the diagnostic machine and run Speedfan, which got me this report.
2 pending sectors. A 1-hour scan of HDDRegenerator fixed those, repaired those sectors, found no bad ones, and the system was restored to functionality.
This system had experienced a virus infection and I instructed the client to shut it down. When I got to the system, I was able to boot into Windows and I began running diagnostics. The system bluescreened at that point, indicated a code that often referred to drive read errors, so I immediately stopped and slaved the drive.
Tons of bad, pending, and reallocated sectors. Mind you, up until when I started working on the system, they were using the computer despite the infection. I ran HDDRegenerator to repair the pending sectors, and I was able to clone the drive with Acronis without any errors. I then did the virus removal on the new drive and go the system back up and running.
Reformatting computer and just doing due diligence uncovered this system had 11 reallocated sectors. That’s not a huge worry, but it is something to pay attention to. One month later, there’s 14 reallocated. I’ve recommended to this client to budget for a hard drive replacement in the next 60 days, just to be safe.
This is probably my favorite to date, as I’ve had this situation occur only a couple times and there’s a few unique parts to it. First off, this hard drive was showing no problems. The user noticed no performance issues, Windows was running fine, the system never crashed. Upon boot there was no warnings about the drive being bad, as sometimes happens with failing/dead drives.
But it’s standard procedure for me that if I touch a computer, I install Speedfan and run SMART tests. And sure enough, I find this thing has over 8000 reallocated sectors, and nearly 2000 pending sectors. How on earth it was still running, I don’t know. Even more miraculously, I was able to clone the drive without a single error. The drive was stable enough to remap the bad sectors without data loss, but obviously wasn’t stable enough to not be racking up a huge number of these sectors. And somehow, none of those 1800 pending sectors fell on an area of the drive that contained system data.
Interestingly enough this is also the first duplicate drive I’ve seen in my failure database. A little over a year ago, I started keeping track of the details on all failed hard drives. I did a data recovery on this exact Samsung model in another client’s system around the time I started that database. Both were shipped from Dell in 2009, fairly new systems by all accounts, but clearly Samsung drives are just as crappy as I’ve always suspected.
In almost all of these cases, I can imagine running CHKDSK would’ve exacerbated recovery efforts, and running Spinrite would’ve just wasted valuable time. But that’s my opinion, I haven’t had a scenario that was remedied by Spinrite in over 3 years.
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