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  1. #1
    Ultimate Member Blitzkreig75's Avatar
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    Repairing SMART-failed HDD

    Is it possible to revive a HDD that has failed SMART?

    The disk in question is a Toshiba laptop 40Gb HDD, (the slow one, like 4600 RPM or something?).

    I get an error at boot that says 'Failure my be imminent' (yeah, 'may be' lol), but XP loads and runs fine.

    A chkdsk replaced "bad clusters in file 27 of \pagefile.sys". It's finishing chkdsk now and kinda hung up on 'verifying free space'.

    Think it's junkor can I get it all right again?
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  2. #2
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    SMART is supposed to give you an early warning BEFORE actual errors occur. Yours has been a bit late - but yes, if the drive's Self Monitoring, Analysis, and Report Technology has monitored the drive's self, analysed the data and reported a technology problem then this means the drive isn't OK anymore. Repair not possible obviously, you should backup, replace, and if still under warranty, return the faulty unit.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member Blitzkreig75's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. I have a replacement 20Gb. I got the unit on a trade-in.....

    I thought that SMART failure was the 'Last Rights' of a HDD. Just figured I ask the pros here...

    Thanks.
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  4. #4
    Best To Avoid Me Martoch's Avatar
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    SMART is passive monitoring...if you want to try to predict drive failure, you need to use something like SpinRite. Read up on that link...
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  5. #5
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    SMART is not passive. The drive internally, actively monitors its operating parameters.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member BluesMan1's Avatar
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    It is rarely possible to save a drive that has SMART imminent failure. I was trying a few times to low level formatting the drives but it wasn't working so it could be that you will need to backup your data and replace the drive.

    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Senior Member beastgreeley's Avatar
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    I had a SMART imminent failure hard drive in a ECS board, when I moved it to an ASUS it quit giveing me the messasge. That was four years ago and it's still working fine.(the hardrive)
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  8. #8
    Best To Avoid Me Martoch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter M
    SMART is not passive. The drive internally, actively monitors its operating parameters.
    According to Steve Gibson, creator of SpinRite...

    SMART is sort of a lame technology, but it's better than nothing.
    ...
    SMART monitoring is passive...programs like SMART sit there and watch the drive.
    SpinRite is working the drive, generating these errors and looking at the rate at which they occur.
    He's only been dealing with hard drive utilities for nearly 20 years though.
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  9. #9
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    SMART isn't a program - it's Self Monitoring /inside/ the drive, with a level of insight no program on the host computer can ever have.

    Everything that's not using SMART can only test for /actual/ mis-operation of the drive - will say, it'll start reporting errors when things already /are/ going wrong on a data storage level.

    Remember he's trying to sell you something.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastgreeley
    I had a SMART imminent failure hard drive in a ECS board, when I moved it to an ASUS it quit giveing me the messasge. That was four years ago and it's still working fine.(the hardrive)
    Might be. Some SMART reported "bad" conditions are not permanent - the drive also monitors environmental parameters like temperatures and voltage levels. These may of course change when you move the drive to another system.

    The idea is, if the SMART inquiry during BIOS POST says "SMART status bad", you use a more verbose utility to retrieve the verbose SMART data from the drive and have a look at what exactly it is the drive is complaining about.

  11. #11
    Best To Avoid Me Martoch's Avatar
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    I keep an open mind about him try to sell his product, but SMART just really hasn't done crap for me. In my own experience with drives in the past 7 years, SMART has only ever reported a failing drive once to me, but can't do anything to help with the problem(s). SpinRite can at least extend the drive's life so data can be recovered, even when SMART is reporting imminent drive failure. SMART is better than nothing, but most of the time nothing is just what it does.
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  12. #12
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    SpinRite can extend the drive's life? Now that's a claim

    It can't. Quite obviously it can't.

  13. #13
    Best To Avoid Me Martoch's Avatar
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    I've had this scenario happen a few times:

    Drive is dead/dying -> can't access any data.
    Run SpinRite -> can access data & recover it.

    I'm not saying that SpinRite keep your dying drive alive for years to come, but it can definitely extend the life/rejuvenate the drive long enough to recover irreplaceable data...and that's what matters, right?
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  14. #14
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    It can't "rejuvenate" the drive either. All it can do is keep trying to read data longer than the regular OS read/write functions would.

    Software on the host computer can't do anything but send commands to the drive's firmware. It is the firmware that does the actual reading and writing, and it is also the firmware deciding when a sector is terminally defective.

    If you read the advertizing carefully, this is actually all SpinRite does - run extensive read/write tests on the drive, and mark as defective everything it finds suspicious. It does not have the insight the drive's own firmware does. Ask yourself: How would software realize that a certain head has abnormally high read signal noise? How would it notice slow drive spinup? Off-limits supply voltage? Abnormally low head actuator motion? All it can see is ACTUAL trouble reading and writing - and that is way later than the drive's own monitoring can see a technical problem beginning to show.
    Last edited by Peter M; August 12th, 2006 at 01:55 PM.

  15. #15
    Ultimate Member Blitzkreig75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter M.
    ... It is the firmware that does the actual reading and writing, and it is also the firmware deciding when a sector is terminally defective...
    Is there a way to update a disks' firmware?
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  16. #16
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    Vendor specific, yes. You've probably done that with your DVD-RW drive. Firmware updates for HDDs are a rare occurrance - and of course they don't help a failing drive at all.

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