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Is it bad if an app wrote to a bad sector?

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:12 am UTC
by Caraise Link
Steam threw an error that is apparently caused by it writing data to a bad sector that hasn't been caught by the filesystem yet. Is this normally possible and just very unlikely, or should I be a little concerned for the state of my hard drive?


Windows 10 64-bit
Toshiba Laptop (Satellite P855)
Intel i5 Processor, 2-Core (4 CPU), 2.5 GHz
6 GB RAM
Hitachi Travelstar HDD, 680 GB, 5400 RPM
Intel HD Graphics 4000 (integrated graphics)

Re: Is it bad if an app wrote to a bad sector?

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:31 pm UTC
by cphite
Caraise Link wrote:Steam threw an error that is apparently caused by it writing data to a bad sector that hasn't been caught by the filesystem yet. Is this normally possible and just very unlikely, or should I be a little concerned for the state of my hard drive?


The safe assumption is that you have bad sectors on your hard drive. Note that this isn't necessarily a catastrophe - drives get bad sectors. But it's best to play it safe.

The first thing you should do, if you don't already have good backups, is back up anything that is important on that drive. Photos, documents, whatever you cannot afford to lose; put them on another drive. If you don't have another drive, you can grab a USB stick and use that.

Next, follow the steps on that page you linked to check your disk for errors. Please note that, as it mentions in those instructions, that this can take hours to complete. Just let it run.

Ideally, if there are errors, the disk check will fix them - basically by copying data from the bad sectors into new sectors, and then flagging those bad sectors so they aren't used anymore.

Next, assuming check disk finishes without throwing any messages, you can follow the instructions on this page to view the log:
https://askleo.com/how_do_i_see_the_results_of_a_chkdsk_that_ran_on_boot/

Please look at the logs. It'll let you know whether check disk found nothing (in which case it was a random Steam thing) or if it found errors and fixed them (more on that in a moment) or if you need to start pricing hard drives. Without getting too technical, you're basically looking for words like "unrecoverable" in the results. It's usually pretty obvious.

If check disk found something and fixed it, you might want to also do the following... open a command prompt and type:
wmic
[Press Enter]
diskdrive get status
[Press Enter]

After you press enter the second time, what you're hoping to see is "Status" followed by "OK" a couple of times:
Status
OK
OK


You might see more than two OK's but the point is, if you see anything other than OK that means the drives self-diagnosis has detected errors. You can download tools to see more detail on this (just Google for windows view smart status for examples) but the overriding point is that once SMART starts seeing issues, it's time to start looking at replacement drives.