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How do I fix a bad sector on my hard drive?

I recently tested my hard drive. The test revealed that I had a
sector or partition that had failed and I was told I should look at replacing the
hard drive because it may be catastrophic failure and crash. Should I replace
the hard drive, can I repair my exsisting drive, if I do replace it can I then
do some repairs and still use a portion of the drive?

Before you replace, I always like to try for a repair. Most hard disks
actually have some spare sectors they set aside for exactly this purpose.

You could get lucky and be able to save a few bucks.

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On Windows XP, I’d start with a “chkdsk/R”. (/R: “Locates bad sectors and
recovers readable information”). Fire up a Command Prompt to run that
command. You can access Command Prompt by going to Start, Programs, Accessories, and then click on Command Prompt.

Under Windows 9x (95, 98 and Me), I believe scandisk has an option to do a
surface scan and repair as well.

Another highly regarded option is a product called “SpinRite” available at
Gibson Research which may also do the deed.

If those options both fail you, well, new hard disks aren’t that
expensive these days.

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78 comments on “How do I fix a bad sector on my hard drive?”

  1. Another option is try and find out who made the hard disk and get the diagnostic utility from that company. The hard disk vendors utility is probably the best resource for both finding disk errors and fixing them. I have used one that found a bad sector, told you what file the sector was in and offered to take the sector out of circulation (so to speak). You lost a single file rather than an entire disk.

  2. i have a bad sector in my hard disk
    my hard disk capacity 40 gb but my computer show 8gb. I did de scan disk and this found 1.965 cluster bad now haw can the rapair it thnaks alot

  3. I have tried to run chkdsk /r several times on my computer and it will get to about 78% complete and then bounces back to only 50% complete. After it goes back to 50% it SLOWLY moves up a percent or 2 over many hours but never completes. Any suggestions or reasons why this is happening? From everything I have read it sounds like I am just s.o.l. and need a new hard drive. If this is the case, any suggestions on how I can salvage any of my data?

  4. I used a software named PartitionMagic SE 6.0
    (obtained from my motherboard cd).
    It took about 3hrs to format my 40GB samsung hdd
    but the results are good .There are no bad sectors now on my hdd.
    (i.e. 0 out of 41 bad sectors)

  5. Pls tell me there is any specail software

    available in net for SEAGATE detect

    bad sectors.. If it soo pls send me the link..


  6. sir,
    i am having 40GB HDD. it’s detecting a harddisk bad sector of 32KB in my primary drive C:
    eventhough i format the harddisk its going upto 99% formating after that it just remains at 99% for about 10 minutes and then it shows the format completion. but when i scan the drive using detect and fix harddisk errors form the tools property of the drive, it shows after scanning that 32kb is in bad sector.

    i want to know how to remove these bad sectors form the drive and make it usable for me to install windows in that drive.

    another problem is that whenever i save some data in that drive, if the data happens to get in the bad sector area then it is detecting that data is not found.
    if i happen to remove the data that has logged in the bad sector then even after deleting the data the memory remains occupied, and it is not showing the same space in the free space of the disk.

    please kindly help me out of this problem.


  7. hi, last night my HDD crashed. computer wouldn’t start with “Data read error has occured”

    i booted up in windows xp setup and formatted the disk, half way through the format it gave an error and aborted. i tried a couple more times to format it again with no luck.

    i’ve re-installed windows on another smaller HDD and windows doesn’t pick up the half-formatted disk so i can’t CHKDSK it as its not mapped to any drive letter.

    any help would be appreciated.

  8. Use HDD Regenerator to recover bad sectors on your drive. This will allow you to recover or backup your data…I wouldn’t trust the drive after that. Once a drive starts to fail there is no turning back…
    There is a disc on the net called HIREN BOOT CD .. some of the best tools you will find anywhere.. get it !!

  9. i have found some bad sectors in my hard disk. my c: drive is ok but there is a problem in d:. when i run scan disk the checking was stopped at 21% in drive.would i have to change the harddisk.or it can be repair.if it will repair what will be the process.i have a segate hard disk of hcl branded PC.

  10. Repairing it usually isn’t worth the money, even if you can find someone to do it (I wouldn’t know who). Drives are so cheap these days that replacement is typically the way to go.

    I would consider purchasing SpinRite as mentioned in the article – it does perhaps the deepest analysis and recovery that I know of. If that failes, I’d replace the drive.

  11. I heard that there is an application that can regenerate bad sectors, applying a magnetic charge on the sector to “recharge” them, is this true? where do i find it?

  12. The closest “application” I’m aware of is SpinRite, as mentioned in the article. It does extensive work to attempt to recover, and then repair, bad sectors. Obviously it can’t get them all, but if it can’t I believe your next step is a repair shop or data recovery service.

  13. MAXTOR brand Hard Drives are without a doubt the most horrible hard drives out! You are very lucky if they last more than a year nowadays! DONT BUY MAXTOR and your bad sector blues will not happen as much. Seagate Hard Drives however are the SH!T!

    I recomend seagate over any other brand but WD & samsung isnt too bad either…

  14. FWIW that doesn’t match my experience at all. I’ve had several Maxtor drives (I particularly like the external usb/firewire drives) and they’ve all done as well as any other drive.

  15. I finished a fresh format (winxp sp2). It worked properly for 2 days….but since this time my computer didn’t boot because of a system file missing….pease give me the reasons that cause this problem!!!!!!!!!!!!


  17. For practical purposes, bad cluster is roughly the same as bad sector. The article you just commented on has my recommended steps to take.

  18. I fixed my bad sector on my HD. I did this by reading what you put in the main comment, unlike some people who obviously cant be bothered to read up.

    This is what I did…

    TIP! I use drive D as egsample. Replace capital D with the letter of your drive.

    1. “Start” “Run” type COMMAND click “ok”.
    2. In new window, type D: (D: is the drive that failed in my case – eg. type C: if drive C is failing with you, or F: if drive F etc) and press “return” or “enter”.
    3. Where it says D:\> type CHKDSK /R {eg; D:\> CHKDSK /R) press “return” or “enter”.
    4. Wait.
    5. If this has not worked, quick format drive, then go to step 1.
    6. If still does not work…. good luck in future

    Thank you helping me fix my drive Leo.

  19. Hi,

    I have just had the same problem with an 80 Gb Seagate drive.

    Do the following to fix it:

    1. Go to and download the desktop version.
    2. Create a boot CD using the ISO.
    3. Back up all the data you want to keep on the old hard drive (this won’t matter if you are perfoming a clean install).
    4. Boot the computer with the SeaTools CD just created.
    5. Select all of the tests and make sure you select the Advanced test. It will go through and find the bad sectors.
    6. Once it has found the bad sectors, it offers to recitfy them by activating spare sectors on the HDD. Do it!
    7. When done, format the HDD and re-install Windows.

    This process will guarantee that you lose data if you don’t back it up initially as sectors containing data are replaced and there is no chance of recovery.

    Please note: Most HDD manufatcurers have a diagnostic utility for their HDD. I have Seagate, Maxtor and Western Digital so far in my collection. Have a look on the manufacturers web site for a utility before throwing the HDD away.

    Have fun!

  20. I have an ADI early to mid 90’s computor with win.98 on it. all of a sudden my computor won’t boot up and it says bad sectors. How do i fix the bad sectors if I can’t get it to boot up. Somebody told me you can’t fix it, but i don’t believe that. What do you think?

  21. SpinRite, mentioned in the article, is it’s own boot disk, so the hard disk doesn’t have to be working for SpinRite to try and fix it.

    Good luck!

  22. Thomas: you’ll have to boot from something else – a floppy or a CD-ROM with the appropriate repair utilies. SpinRite, mentioned in the article, comes on bootable media.

  23. Hi,

    I have a Maxtor Hard drive. I was hoping, Leo that you would be able to find me some softwares that can remove my bad sectors without wiping the drive’s information.


  24. samsung make a diag tool sugest you who have samsung go to web site its a dos based tool for sam sung drives

  25. Use HDD Regenerator. Its a physical bad sector recover tool. I have recovered more than 1000 bad sectors from my drive. Must Check this.

  26. i have a 40 gb hard disk there are many bad sector in hard disk so give me a advise how to remove a bad sector . but win98 setup in not complete. so give me advise how to complete setup

  27. SpinRite, mentioned in the article, does not require a working operating system – it provides its own boot disk. I would try that.

  28. On Windows XP, I’d start with a “chkdsk /R”. (/R: “Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information”). Fire up a command prompt to run that command.

    Under Windows 9x, (95, 98 and Me) I believe scandisk has an option to do a surface scan and repair as well.

    use a win 98 start up disk (remember u will loos all files on this hhd when it is done it will be blank)

  29. In days of old using Format /C would make the hard drive recheck areas suspected bad, however this was FAT32 not NTFS and does seem a tad drastic unless you can shift the data onto another source. you would need to refat the hdd using a 98se bootdisk first before using the above command.

    I should mention that in rare situations software bad sectors can be created this was a problem back with Windows 98 where if your drive was not installed with LBA in the bios 98 could write software bad sectors to the disk hense causing performance issues and crashes proving the not all bad sectors are fatal.

  30. One concern I have with Leo’s response here:

    By the time a disk utility or operating system is reporting bad sectors on a modern hard disk, the pool of spare sectors held in reserve HAS ALREADY BEEN USED UP.

    The drive firmware will use these sectors on-the-fly as it detects bad or failing sectors during normal use, and it does this completely transparently to both the operating system and the user. Only when the pool of spare sectors is completely exhausted will bad sectors be reported to the operating system (and from there to the user).

    Other than this minor nit, the rest of Leo’s advice is spot on.

  31. I have a drive that i think has bad sectors on it and i can’t use any load windows on it at all , i tryed to put it in my other computer and do it that way and it won’t startup, Is there anyway to fix the bad sectors without windows?

    Hash: SHA1

    SpinRite –

    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


  33. You can repair bad sectors permenently insted of blocking them you can regenrate bad areas sucsesfully.. by using a software called Hdd regenerator this software is a freeware and unbelievable you can easily find it on you windows crystalxp cd insert it and on boot menu go on hiren cd,s then enter on hard disk tools then on hdd regenarator it will take 1 or 2 hour to procseed if you can,t find windows crystalxp v.2 cd then search on type hdd regenarator on search bar

  34. I have what I believe is a good workaround solution to bad sectors on a HD. I just finished doing it to my 40Gb Quantum HD, which previously was so filled with bad sectors that I could not reinstall Windows, and it is now working flawlessly! Here is my solution: 1. Run a surface scan on the HD to determine where, EXACTLY, the bad sectors are located. Use a program like “Partition Table Disk Doctor”; it found all the bad sectors on my drive were located in 3 seperate areas from cylinder 0 through cylinder 1063. 2. Note the locations of the bad sectors. 3. Partition your HD. (I suggest you use a program like Acronis Disk Director; it will give you the flexibilty and HD information that you will need more so than simple Fdisk.) Make one partition that covers up to and a little bit past the point where the bad sectors were reported. (In my case, that was an 8Gb partition that ran from cylinder 0 to cylinder 1063.) Then make another partition in the area that is NOT affected by the bad sectors. THIS is the one you’re going to set as active, format, and prepare to accept your O/S. 4. Now delete the first partition, the one with all the bad sectors on it. Doing so will turn it into “unallocated space”. MAKE NO ATTEMPT TO USE THIS SPACE ANY LONGER! Yes, you may have to lose a few gigabytes of space, but it’s worth it to have your PC working well again. As I said at the start, this is the method I used that got my HD running perfectly! I hope it helps someone.

  35. Hello!
    My computer completely broke down, because it says that i have a hard drive problem, and when i try to reformat windows,it says that cant cuz i have bad sectors on my hard drive.
    P.S. I cant even log in to run command prompt

    Yep, sounds like a hard disk gone or going bad. You may be able to recover it with product like SpinRite (, or you may need to replace the hard drive.

    Good luck!


  36. Many thanks to the posters who have flagged JFileRecovery for dealing with discs that have this error. It worked for me, allowing me to salvage several old mini-DVDs containing video that I had never been able to download via either the camcorder or my PC’s DVD drive.

  37. I use “getdataback” it’s a great HD data recover solution that works very well, unless your HD is completely damaged ie firmware or scratched.

  38. Hi,
    I couldn’t copy the Outlook.pst file because bad sectors on the hard disk and I copied the file successfully after I used “chkdsk /R”.

    Thank you very much for your help!

  39. pleas tel me how can i fix mycomputer
    when i install yahoo sadnly mycomputer get badsector when i boot com/ system Root\system32\ntdll.dll

  40. I have maxtor company 4o gb hard disk, there some bad sectors. I am unable to reinstall xp in it. How can i fix bad sectors and reuse the hard disk.

  41. I think virus W32 has gone to my hard drive. I have several time partitioned and reformated it. Although, W32 still exists in there. So, is there any way, I can get rid of this W32 without replacing my hard disk. Thank You.

  42. hello plx help me my hard disk 16KB bad sector and hard disk sound are liked of [link removed]….ke listing liked some erroe messages and delete files liked of $fff.jd than my cmd dos command CHKDSK /F scan and not going bad sector not repair! pls given some suggestion.

  43. hi, i have harddrive fujitsu 120gb, i’m tryng to recover my data after it’s accidently formatted, i’m use getdataback ntfs software from ontrack but it’s alwayas error when reading after 7% it’s ‘error reading sector 1704000, but when i run chdisk from windows nothink no bad sector,what happen with my harddrive, thanks for your atttention

    Make sure you use the “/R” option on chkdsk. If that doesn’t help, then I think SpinRite will.


  44. I have used HD doctor suite to fix bad sectors on hard disks by adding bad sectors to G or p list, however, this way is for repairing hard drives, not recovering data

  45. This is a TERRIBLE idea. A drive with bad sectors means that the sectors have begun to fail…This advice is akin to saying that if a house has termites, its fine to not treat the infestation as long as you don’t put too much weight on the infested structure – The bugs, on a hard drive or in a house, will spread if not removed. With a hard drive, this means replacing the drive, hopefully before more sectors fail and your data is destroyed.

  46. i have HD , one of the partitions destroy it was space 40 gb but now it become 2.8 gb i could not refragmentation all hd becouse i have too much things important in the othe partions help me to fixed thais partetion without refragment the all HD . thanks alot

  47. Hi. i have a verry big problem with my computer , my hard disk is 80 gb and on always when i play somethings i have a blue screan :@ for the first time i have format my pc but that was just a wasted time because the problem is even bigger now because on every little aplication i have againg blue screan!!pls tell me were is the problem and how to get fixed.thanks

  48. i have toshiba satellite laptop i have problem in my H.D.D. lots of bad sector i not able to install Microsoft windows 7 i want to repair all bad sector send me any solution pleas

    Please read the article you just commented on. It answers this question.


  49. I had a clicking HDD. I repaired the hdd and fixed the bad secors with the HDAT2 that I found in Hiren bootable CD that I found online. It regenerated the bad sector, while Vista (verify and repair hdd errors) and also chkdsk /f/r would not even find the error.

  50. help me!!! my HDD cannot boot after a system recovery. i have a compaq Presario CQ60-419WM i cant restart it, or it BSODs everytime, i know my HDD is going out, but i need a repair tool!!!

  51. I keep getting pop ups saying critical error and how my comp cant find hard drive disc space, one of the problems is a bad sector on my hard drive according to the scan i did. i did the defragmenter or whatever on HDD control but it says i have to purchase a licence or whatever. Basically when I try to do any of those things suggested my computer wont even let me select it! It also keeps restarting but it doesnt help anything. Any suggestions?

  52. Im using a Samsung Model HD103UJ Ata Hard drive, its 1 TB. It just stopped working, the disk is spinning but it can not be detected by my computer and it makes this annoying noise which is like something inside the hard drive is failing to read the hard drive or its just stuck in one place. When I go to device manager it is shown. How do I fix this problem?


  53. i am using samsung hm 160 pc hdd….my laptop stops working intermittently and starts by prssing the space near spacebar..pls help and advise what to do…i have also performed chkdsk f/r/also but all in vain…i have got replaced my hard disk about 8-9 months ago

  54. i am using windows 7 ,my usb hard disk was working fine .one day i was copying data by cut and paste option then the system hanged after rebooting the label names of external hard disk disappeared and unable to open how can i access my data please help me

  55. hey, i’m trying to partition my hdd on my hp probook 4710s laptop with the program called norton partition magic pro 8.5 but it goes there is an error saying that the hdd is “bad” any clue?

    I’d follow the instructions in the article to fix what is likely to be a bad sector on the drive.


  56. There is no way to fix a bad sector. A bad sector is like a scratch on a cd that can’t be fixed. You should run a program like “HD Tune”, when you use a program what it does is it will read the disk and when it can’t read a certain spot it marks it as a bad sector. After that the hard drive will move the data from the bad sector to a spare area of the hard drive. The spare area will store the data from a bad sector and will be usable like the old one. However if you get too many bad sectors you will run out of spares. When that happens your drive will crash. That happened to me. My new laptop not even 6 months old failed due to a bad drive.

  57. if you have an external drive plugged in and it shows up as your ‘E:’ drive then running ‘chkdsk e: /r /x’ will force a dismount of the drive if it’s not letting you scan it. Some times I’ve noticed that a simple chkdsk will fix it and keep it running fine like there was never a problem.

  58. >> There is no way to fix a bad sector. A bad sector is like a scratch on a cd that can’t be fixed.

    You *can* fix bad sectors in some cases, and scratches on CDs can also be fixed in many cases. HDD Regenerator will repair bad sectors on hard drives. I talk about this in greater detail on another tech blog. As for repairing scratches on CDs, that I go over in detail on my actual website. www dot paulronco dot com/cleancd.htm

  59. Hi
    I’ve tried chkdsk as per your instructions on a Hitachi 320gb external Harddrive (I have Windows 7) but get the response ‘the type of the file is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. Is there anything else I can try please? Thank you either way

  60. Hi Again
    I’ve just discovered the harddrive is in NTFS format. I have been asked to format it – I haven’t, hence trying chkdsk. Fingers crossed I have a friend in need!!
    Thank you again your time is appreciated.

  61. It is hard to fix bad sectors. You can try to isolate the bad sectors. Try PBD(Partiton Bad Disk). It can isolate bad sectors and ceate good partitions.


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