Scandisk report: what does it mean?

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jfnewbie

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Hi all, I own an HP pavillion 8756C with ME. I wanted to know what the report really means when I run ScanDisk,and if I should take any action based on this report. Particularly, I am concerned about the "bytes in bad sectors". I recently read something about this on the post, and it appeared that the person was saying some action may be needed, but when I tried to get more info about it, had no replies. Can anyone help me understand and advise? Here is my latest report:

ScanDisk did not find any errors on this drive.

29,295,760 KB total disk space
4,538,368 bytes in bad sectors
41,435,136 bytes in 2,445 folders
58,441,728 bytes in 261 hidden files
8,785,168 KB in 36,448 user files
20,408,624 KB available on disk
16,384 bytes in each allocation unit
1,830,985 total allocation units on disk
1,275,539 available allocation units
 
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With 4,538,368 bytes in bad sectors, sounds like you have a failing hard drive. The OS does it's best to lock out data from being written to those sectors. But typically things only start getting worse.

While you can I would recommend just getting another hard drive. With imaging software you can transfer the entire contents from one drive to the other.
 

flavallee

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This site is the support site for your HP Pavilion 8756C. It also provides updates for the software and hardware for that computer that HP has released since you bought it. Keep it saved in your Favorites list for future reference. It provides a lot of technical information that can be useful to you.

Good luck with the hard drive. If you replace it, consider getting one with a 7,200 rpm rotational speed instead of a slower 4,200 - 5,400 rpm model.
 
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I would think that a hard drive with that many bad sectors would need a hardware rather than a software solution.

There are programs that can try and recover defecting sectors. But I've only found them to be a temporary solution. Eventually, even months later, the hard drive goes bad again. They are not like a small cut, they don't heal themselves very well.
 
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I'm not sure how that site would help solve a defective hard drive. You typically just need to get a new one. Most hardware stores will even put it in for you.
 
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Maybe some analogies will help explain my suggestion to replace the hard drive when it is starting to go bad.

1. If my monitor started showing only one color, I wouldn't contact the vendor's site for software drivers, I would just go out and get a new monitor.

2. If some keys on my keyboard didn't work, I wouldn't go to the vendor's site, I would just get another keyboard.

3. If one speaker stopped working, I would just go get some more speakers.

Hopefully this clarifies the recommendation to replace a defective hard drive with a new one. I just didn't see anything specific on the vendor's site to offer much of an alternative solution.
 

flavallee

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Me giving him the link to the HP site had nothing to do with his hard drive problem. Since he provided the brand name, model name, and model number of his computer, I decided to give him the HP site for it, should he have any question about it, or if he needed to look for any software updates for it. It's just one of my ways of trying to help out.
 

jfnewbie

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Thanks for the info, though the news is scary and demoralizing. I just spent more money than I wanted getting a memory upgrade. The computer is not great to start off with. Now the thought of spending more money on it is almost absurd, because I could get a much better computer for not a whole lot more cash.

Flavallee, thanks for the site info. I already have it and get updates, etc. I must admit I never fully explored it all, but will little bits at a time from here on.

Any chance any of you can tell me what bad sectors are and why I ended up with this problem in the first place? Is there preventative stuff I can do in the future. What is a "failing hard drive" and what is bad about it? Since I just did the memory upgrade, the computer is not great, but working well enough that I can essentially do whatever I need to now without too many problems.
 

flavallee

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How much RAM did it previously have and how much RAM does it have now? Depending on the amount it previously had and how much you increased it to will determine how much of a performance boost it gained.

Sooner or later, a hard drive will fail. Some last longer than others. When I gave away my 7-1/2 year old HP Pavilion 8160 a couple of months ago, it still had the original 6.04 GB hard drive and still had no problem with bad sectors. I've known some computer owners to have the hard drive fail in 2 - 3 years. An increasing number of "bad sectors" is a good sign of an impending failure.
 
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So basically it's back to the first reply. Your hard drive is going bad and needs to be replaced.
 

jfnewbie

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I had 128 MB and increased to 512 MB (the max for my computer).

Bummer news. So if I understand correctly, hard drives just go bad on their own and there is nothing that can be done to prevent this from happening in the future; there is essentially not a whole I can do except replace the hard drive; this happens I guess because of wear and tear, like anything else getting old? Did I understand correctly?

So, again, if I understand correctly, my only options are to buy a new hard drive (which I am not inclined to do because the computer is old), or use this one as is until it dies or becomes a serious problem and then buy a new one?
 
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May as well buy a new one. If there is any data on the drive you want to save replace it now while it is still running and you can transfer all the data to the new one. If it fails before you transfer the data and OS you will end up losing everything and installing your OS from scratch.
 

jfnewbie

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By the way, here is what I noticed re: performance boost with the memory increase. Previously I was lucky if I could run three applications at the same time. The computer would run slowly and stall. At times it would crash. Downloads often times would stall and fail. I use my computer for music related tasks, and essentially that had become almost impossible to do. I could not effectively run a program that converted shn files into wav files. I also essentially could not effectively run any CD burning software. Now, none of these are issues and I can do everything I want effectively. The computer is still a little more limited and slower than I would like, but that I can handle. It works well enough, fast enough and does enough of I want and need it for. All seemingly because of the memory upgrade. So I'm inclined to just keep it until it truly does become unusable, without replacing the hard drive.
 

WhitPhil

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If this is an older machine, the bad sectors could have been there for a while.

If you are going to keep the drive, I would recommend the following:
1. Ensure that you are doing regular backups of your critical files
2. Run Scandisk on a frequent basis, but ensure that you have AutoFix turned OFF.
In this way, anytime scandisk bumps into an error, you will immediately be aware of it, and then can choose to allow or not allow the error to be fixed.
Some errors can be completely corrected by scandisk. Some will result in file corruption.

Over time, if the bad sectors do not increase, and Scandisk doesn't detect other errors, then it would appear that the disk will live a bit longer.
 
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