What is a Bad Sector

What is a Sector?

A sector is a small area on the surface of a hard drive or a floppy disk.

Hard drives usually have several platters. The platters are the discs which are covered with magnetic material which is used to hold data. Floppy disk drives contain only one platter.

Platters are divided into a set of concentric rings called tracks. A 1.44MB floppy disk has 160 tracks. Hard drives have thousands of tracks.

Each of these tracks is divided into smaller storage areas called sectors. A sector is the smallest storage area on a disk.

What is a Bad Sector?

Hard drives are contain millions of sectors. It is very normal for some of these sectors to be bad sectors, even when the drive is first manufactured.

In addition, a small number of sectors will normally go bad during the lifespan of a drive.

When this happens, the data in those sectors may be lost, but the data on the rest of the disk will be unaffected and the disk is still completely usable.

A bad sector cannot be repaired, but it can be marked as unusable. Once marked as unusable, the Operating System will know not to attempt to store data in that bad sector. The storage capacity of the disk will be decreased by the amount of storage space in the bad sector.

If your hard drive develops a bad sector, back the hard drive up immediately. If the bad sector was caused by a faulty drive head, the problem can quickly spread to other sectors on the disk.

Occasionally one or more sectors on an otherwise good hard drive will go bad.

When this happens, the data in those sectors may be lost, but the data on the rest of the disk will be unaffected and the disk is still completely usable.

Those bad sectors can not be repaired, but they can be marked as unusable. Once marked as unusable, the Operating System will know not to attempt to store data in those bad sectors. The total disk capacity will be decreased by the amount of storage space in those bad sectors.

If your hard drive is experiencing a bad sector, back it up immediately. If the bad sector was caused by a faulty drive head, the problem can spread to many other sectors across the disk.

How to “Repair” a Bad Sector in Windows XP

* Press the button.
* Select .
* Under Hard Disk Drives highlight the disk which you want to scan.
* Open the menu and choose
* Open the tab.
* Click the button.

In earlier version of Microsoft Windows and DOS, this functionality was built into the `scandisk` and `chkdsk` utilities.

Once the bad sector or sectors have been “repaired”, continue to back up your hard drive on a regular basis. Hard drives are mechanical devices and all mechanical devices will eventually fail.

Comments 1

  1. liavih

    Use Lower Level Format to repair bad sector.

    Note: After Using Low level Format data will be lost and cannot be recovered.

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