hard disk scan and repair utilities?

  • Thread starter Achim Nolcken Lohse
  • Start date

A

Achim Nolcken Lohse

Have had a very disquieting experience with Scandisk under Win98SE the
last couple of days.

I've got an old Western Digital Caviar 32500 hdd that I intended to
clone my Win98SE system drive in prior to upgrading to Win2K. In fact
I couldn't decide how to clone it, so I reinstalled Win98SE from CD,
then copied all the files from my system disk to it. It booted
allright, but then I realized I'd left it in Fat16 mode, and launched
the conversion utility to switch it to FAT32. That seemed to work,
except that defragmenting under Diskkeeper lite behaved strangely.

Scandisk showed nothing wrong, but I decided to run the surface scan
under Windows. That gave an error about 70% through the drive, and
when I said to fix it, the system locked up.

I ran scandisk surface scan again, this time checking "fix
automatically". It locked up again.

Now I tried running scandisk from DOS, with exactly the same result.

Next I ran Fdisk and found more weirdness. Fdisk showed only one
partition, and that partion only 84% used. I deleted it, created a new
primary partition, but the result was the same.

Then I formatted the drive and ran scandisk under DOS again, on
another PC also running Win98SE. At exactly 69% of 2.1GB scanned, the
system locked up just as before. Again, no sectors mapped bad. Under
Windows, the drive is shown as having 2.1GB available.

Finally, I booted with an old copy of SimplyMepis linux (04 vintage),
with the hard drive connected via USB. I was able to view the drive
with Qparted, and it showed a "free" (ie. not formatted for any OS)
Primary Partition of about 400MB, and a "virtual" partition of 2.1GB!

With Qparted, I was able to delete the partitions and create a new
FAT32 partition of 2.4 MB. Only about 40KB remained inaccessible at
the start of the drive. However the format function was a bit
unbelievable, taking only a few seconds.

On rebooting into Windows, the drive now shows as having 2.4GB and no
bad sectors, but I haven't run a surface scan yet, and am leery of
trusting the pronouncements of scandisk in any case.

Are there any free utilities for Windows 98 or available on a Linux
LiveCD that will reliably surface scan hard drives?
 
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A

Achim Nolcken Lohse

Have had a very disquieting experience with Scandisk under Win98SE the
last couple of days.
....
Scandisk showed nothing wrong, but I decided to run the surface scan
under Windows. That gave an error about 70% through the drive, and
when I said to fix it, the system locked up.

I ran scandisk surface scan again, this time checking "fix
automatically". It locked up again.

Now I tried running scandisk from DOS, with exactly the same result.

Next I ran Fdisk and found more weirdness. Fdisk showed only one
partition, and that partion only 84% used. I deleted it, created a new
primary partition, but the result was the same.
....

With Qparted, I was able to delete the partitions and create a new
FAT32 partition of 2.4 MB. Only about 40KB remained inaccessible at
the start of the drive. However the format function was a bit
unbelievable, taking only a few seconds.

On rebooting into Windows, the drive now shows as having 2.4GB and no
bad sectors, but I haven't run a surface scan yet, and am leery of
trusting the pronouncements of scandisk in any case.
Last night I ran scandisk from DOS on the newly repartitioned hard
drive, now it showed the full capacity, but locked up the system
without fixing anything after scanning 58% of the total drive space
available (instead of 69% as previously).

According to my rough calculations, Scandisk is dying at exactly the
same physical location on this hard drive every time, unable to fix
the problem, and unable to detect it in time to avoid locking up the
system. Yet, according to all other indications, there is nothing
wrong with this hard drive. Win98SE installs happily on it, and Linux
Qparted detects no problems with it (Please don't suggest any
PowerQuest products for diagnosis, I've gone too many rounds with
their flakey junk software).
 
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A

Achim Nolcken Lohse

Update:

Have looked at my scandisk log, and found the following description of
the first scan (thorough, with automatic repair disabled):
Log file generated at 19:33 on 7/30/2006.
ScanDisk used the following options:
Thorough test
Drive Wd2gb (M:) contained the following errors:
ScanDisk could not properly read from or write to cluster 362818.
This cluster is currently unused.
Resolution: Test this sector or cluster again
ScanDisk could not properly read from or write to cluster 362818.
This cluster is currently unused.
Resolution: Test this sector or cluster again
ScanDisk could not properly read from or write to cluster 362818.
This cluster is currently unused.
Resolution: Repair the error
Error writing to your drive.
ScanDisk may have corrected this error when it performed a surface scan.
However, other errors may remain on your drive.
Resolution: Retry the write
Error writing to your drive.
ScanDisk may have corrected this error when it performed a surface scan.
However, other errors may remain on your drive.
Resolution: Ignore this error and continue
ScanDisk was canceled.
Subsequent thorough scans with autorepair enabled simply reported
"scandisk cancelled".

Subsequent standard scans all reported "no problems found".

So, is it scandisk that's defective, or the hard drive, or both? And
how do you get a reliable second opinion and use what's left of the
drive without risking data loss?
 

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