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Damaged clusters on hard drive - whats going on here?

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Damaged clusters on hard drive - whats going on here?

Old 08-21-04, 10:39 PM
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Damaged clusters on hard drive - whats going on here?

I had just done a fresh install on the family PC a few weeks ago, and told my step-son not to download anything, or not to say "Yes" to any boxes that popped up.....but did he listen? No.

After a few weeks, the pc has slowed down to a crawl. I run ad-aware, and find 527 objects to be removed.....tried to remove them only for it to freeze. I found so many problems with it i thought the best thing to do was to do a clean install, and protect it to the max. I formatted the hard drive, and in the process of installing windows, it done a surface scan for errors. Now, its been running for 2 days, and i think we are running at about 2600 damaged clusters and still fixing them. Now, there was not this problem a few weeks back, so whats happened? Could a virus have done this?

All i can say is thank god for the sellotape idea on the enter button as i was having to press enter every minute or so.....it would have taken me years to finish running that program.

Any ideas?
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Old 08-22-04, 06:27 AM
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Re: Damaged clusters on hard drive - whats going on here?

Originally posted by PresidentGringo
I had just done a fresh install on the family PC a few weeks ago, and told my step-son not to download anything, or not to say "Yes" to any boxes that popped up.....but did he listen? No.

After a few weeks, the pc has slowed down to a crawl. I run ad-aware, and find 527 objects to be removed.....tried to remove them only for it to freeze. I found so many problems with it i thought the best thing to do was to do a clean install, and protect it to the max. I formatted the hard drive, and in the process of installing windows, it done a surface scan for errors. Now, its been running for 2 days, and i think we are running at about 2600 damaged clusters and still fixing them. Now, there was not this problem a few weeks back, so whats happened? Could a virus have done this?

All i can say is thank god for the sellotape idea on the enter button as i was having to press enter every minute or so.....it would have taken me years to finish running that program.

Any ideas?
I am surprised that you have been patient for 2 days. I would buy a new hard drive, you can get the relatively cheap these days, even better with a rebate. You can buy one locally or online from newegg.com. You should have a new hard drive in 2-3 days.....Maybe scan disc will finish by then on the old hard drive.

How old is the hard drive?
Is the BIOS(at startup) reporting the correct hard drive size?
I assume you are installing a Windows 9x version. A few more specs would the PC would help.


Bad Clusters are physically areas on the hard drive that will NOT be used again.


What scan disk is basically doing 2600 times!!!

Scan disk is repairing the bad clusters(2600) by copying the readable sectors in that cluster to a new cluster taken from the end of the volume. But at least one sector is likely to be garbage, so unless this fell in the "slack space" after the end of data in the last cluster of the chain, the affected file or directory will be damaged.

I am not aware of a virus or a parasite(spyware) that will destroy
the physical hard drive....The tend to do damage to the DATA on the hard drive instead.

Last edited by 68ShelbyGT500KR; 08-22-04 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 08-22-04, 07:07 AM
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Very likely, something else is interrupting scan disk and making it start over. It is slow but not that slow. You probably have a lot of tasks running that you don't even know about. You can use the Control-Alt-Delete box to close them, one at a time, very annoying, or start over in SAFE mode. I have taken to using SAFE mode for ScanDisk and Defrag.

A lot of sector errors or a growing number of them is a sure sign of a hard drive crapping out. Suggest you pick up a new one.
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Old 08-22-04, 10:38 AM
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Originally posted by OldDude
Very likely, something else is interrupting scan disk and making it start over. It is slow but not that slow. You probably have a lot of tasks running that you don't even know about. You can use the Control-Alt-Delete box to close them, one at a time, very annoying, or start over in SAFE mode. I have taken to using SAFE mode for ScanDisk and Defrag.

A lot of sector errors or a growing number of them is a sure sign of a hard drive crapping out. Suggest you pick up a new one.
No, its not that. Its just been formatted.......zero files on it, the scan happened as i'm installing Windows 98 onto it.

Well, at least this morning its all over. It got passed the damaged clusters and completed it. Guess the hard drive is just on its way to its grave.
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Old 08-22-04, 10:41 AM
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Re: Re: Damaged clusters on hard drive - whats going on here?

Originally posted by 68ShelbyGT500KR
I am surprised that you have been patient for 2 days. I would buy a new hard drive, you can get the relatively cheap these days, even better with a rebate. You can buy one locally or online from newegg.com. You should have a new hard drive in 2-3 days.....Maybe scan disc will finish by then on the old hard drive.

How old is the hard drive?
Is the BIOS(at startup) reporting the correct hard drive size?
I assume you are installing a Windows 9x version. A few more specs would the PC would help.


Bad Clusters are physically areas on the hard drive that will NOT be used again.


What scan disk is basically doing 2600 times!!!

Scan disk is repairing the bad clusters(2600) by copying the readable sectors in that cluster to a new cluster taken from the end of the volume. But at least one sector is likely to be garbage, so unless this fell in the "slack space" after the end of data in the last cluster of the chain, the affected file or directory will be damaged.

I am not aware of a virus or a parasite(spyware) that will destroy
the physical hard drive....The tend to do damage to the DATA on the hard drive instead.
I actually have a few hard drives here, but i'm not willing to waste them on that pc. In my house, we have 2 pcs (excluding the laptop).......one is my baby which i just built, the other one is a 3-4 year old pc which i now call the family pc - i.e. keep your fingers off my baby.
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Old 08-23-04, 05:00 AM
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Total shot in the dark, but when the system slowed to a crawl, perhaps it wasn't adware, etc. Perhaps the drive was starting to fail at that point and the slow speed was due to disk errors (eg. re-reading problem sectors).

Not that I'm an expert, but AFAIK, no virus can directly harm a hard drive. It could theoretically tax it by making it work really hard and maybe even cause it to fail eventually, but I doubt one could directly harm the media.

I would not be too concerned about a few bad sectors (I seem to have a few on my own main hard drive), but what you're seeing sounds way out of line. Have you checked the cable connections to the hard drive (on both the drive and computer ends)?

There are utilities out there to test hard drives. If you don't already have something (eg. on a floppy or CD that came with the drive), I would start with the manufacturer's Web site.

If it does look like there's something wrong with the hard drive, is it still under warranty?

Even if the drive seems to be operating OK now, if you've got thousands of bad sectors and don't have a good explanation like a loose cable, I would not count on that hard drive. Time to replace it. I guess you could use it as a second drive, but if it's as bad as it sounds, I don't think I'd even do that (and I hate to throw _anything_ away :-).

FWIW, if the bad sectors are all in the same area and you want to continue using that hard drive, I would repartition the drive and put that part of the hard drive in an unused partition. Don't even use that part of the drive. The trick is that you have to know approximately where those sectors are on the drive (eg. between 100 and 200 MB). I actually did something like that with an old drive. In my case it was because when the bad sectors showed up, they happened to be near the beginning of the drive and fell in an area of the Windows partition that couldn't be remapped (the FAT, as I recall). So I removed the old partition, created a small partition that covered the bad area, and re-installed Windows in a new partition that started after that area.

Good luck.

James
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