Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PART 2 - Hard Drive Maintenance: fix a slow drive(and how some drives just cant be saved)

Resurfacing, Low level formatting and slow sector erasure will destroy any data on the drive, this guide assumes you have backups and are trying to reshape a slow drive, and even after doing all that is possible , some drives will still show signs of slowness and bad sectors due to uncorrectable physical damage to the surface, heads and/or arms. Always Verify Data Integrity before using a resurfaced drive!

Welcome Back today we take a look at some other awesome programs!

VICTORIA -  quick bad sector removal/destructive slow sector erases
A program created on the motherland, Victoria comes as a dos solution to access drives directly for health and sector checkup, there is also a newer (4+) windows version that only runs on Windows XP, the program contains:

DETECTOSCOPE a scan that checks for surface health as it reads the platter, notifying the quantity of healthy slow and bad sectors from 1ms, 10ms, 100ms and up to 500ms or more, this option does not modify the drive at all and is a good quick way to measure a drives health.

REMAP a function that, remaps any sector that it identifies as BAD, there is a chance something might be damaged as it does not do deep recovery, there is and ADVANCED REMAP option that does, but i would prefer to use spinrite first.

ERASE DELAYS a function that reads and seeks for slow sectors, any found to have more than 100ms delay is written and verified several times over, and if still slow, its ultimately remapped from the drive, this is VERY DESTRUCTIVE as it has no regard for the data included.

Overall Victoria is best used as a diagnostic tool, a fast remap is what i use on most clients after i ran SPIN RITE for a few minutes, with it i can quickly tell if we are facing a slow drive or damaged one, i generally do let Victoria finish, as it takes around 20-30 minutes to complete, ruling out problems caused from the hard drive.

PROS: free, quick check for drives health on slow sectors and quick remap of bad ones, english version available!
CONS: It can still leave a few  slow sectors alive, and while the delay erase is quick, it is destructive, expect damaged or missing files. english version does not support newer sata controllers, and you are forced to use the russian version.
 Victoria for Ms-Dos
Victoria 4.3 for windows, but only XP, wont work on vista/7... yet

HDDGURU Low Level Format Tool - Fast Destructive Resurfacing
A program Designed to Resurface and rebuild your drive, cherry picking every single fast and healthy sector, any sort of delay and error is quickly discarded, a low level format is what hard drives go trough at the factory, a quick way to revitalize and refresh your drive, the program runs within windows xp, vista and 7 and ITS FREE. there is a limitation of 50 mega BYTES per second, roughly doing 180Gigs of data in an hour, but for as low as 3.3$ you can unlock it, doing  the resurfacing of big drives in less than an hour very recommended for anyone that wants to rid of bad and slow sectors FAST. It also does a 0-fill, destroying any data on the drive as well.

Obviously you need to unplug and take the offending drive to another computer,
so make sure you select the correct drive!

PROS: Fast quick resurfacing of hard drives, ensuring you only stay with fast healthy ones, free/dirt cheap
CONS: Need to take drive onto another computer, remapping changes are saved upon finishing, buy it so it finishes quicker!

HDAT - faster bad sector removal - quicker erase of delays by blocks (a bunch of sectors) - Freeware
This program does retty much as te others by scanning and marking bad sectors and erasing delays, but this does have an advantage over them, as you can select to do this by scanning per blocks, this means scanning chunks of sectors usually of 256 sectors, and if there is a delay or problem, the whole block is taken off, this gives the benefit of speeding up the process, of course it makes ita much more destructive method, you might end up loosing a few bytes off your disk, but at much will be a few Megabytes. The last bastion of resistance against a faulty drive, if this program cant rid of your slow or bad sectors, you might as well just trash the hard drive!.

Hdat2 in action, it has several options and requires much more tech knowledge,
think of this as all the other program in EXPERT mode

PROS: verifying by blocks is a much faster way of doing things, and ensures using top of the line, cherry picked sectors,  LOADS of options and info available within its many functions.

CONS: this program pretty much is EXPERT mode, hard to use if its your first time, boot from CD and or USB flash via boot loader, wont recover data and just try to salvage the drive

Join Me Next week for the Final Part where i show you what program i use to Judge a drive usability in real world, HD TUNE! (and hopefully the last of hard drives for a while!)


  1. Had I this information months ago and could have avoided buying a new HDD!

  2. hard drives are so slow and noisy! i'm switching to ssd very soon. this is good information oscar! glad to see the free program HD guru. :D

  3. ill probably have to do this on mine, it runs pretty slow

  4. I know that I've had my fair share of unsavable hard drives D:

  5. I got one old hard drive. I will try it on that one before trying with new one. Thanks for a guide:)

  6. Oscaaaarrrrr!!!! :D I finished reading everything on your blog. Such a useful blog, I bookmarked it!

  7. Man, thank you for this. A lot of useful information on here.

  8. can you write for us a post about the reasons why hard drive get bad sectors? I recenly bought a brand new laptop, Western Digital HDD but when I check the smart data, it already has 80 bad sectors.

  9. thanks for sharing this with us
    nice post

  10. this awesome info man, will def check out and improve pc performance

  11. I remember, I had a HDD that just couldnt be saved#
    Maybe it was because the fucktard of a brother magneted the shit out of it

  12. Nice post. :) Will check it out as soon as possible.

  13. Hey Thanks for the heads up "]. Ill be needing this! +followed

  14. cute. funny approach to a sometimes dull topic. i like it.

  15. Nice way of listing the pros and better room to make the best decision for each buyer, excellent work!

  16. Thanks for the info, looks like just another of your posts that I'll find use for : ) I personally never (knock, knock...) had problems with my hard drives. In my current PC I have a dual-drive, RAID 0 matrix configuration which boosts greatly the speed of saving and reading data (which is split into 2 parts being saved at two identical drives simultaneously). In my laptop, I have a slow 5400 RPM HDD and I think I'm going to change it in the future for a fast SSD drive. I'd love to read how to do it properly (with reinstalling the system) if you could write about it. When it comes to the other HDDs - I also have a 12 year old WD 6.5 GB HDD. Works like a charm : )

  17. This is great! I need this right now!