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Solved: Error Formatting a Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by lisakmusco, Mar 21, 2006.

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  1. lisakmusco

    lisakmusco Thread Starter

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    Well, somehow OS got corrupted and all restore options have failed, even ScanDisk failed. So I resigned myself to just reformat and install new. But I am receiving the following error:
    Invalid media or track 0 bad - disk unusable. Format terminated.

    Is there anything I can do?
     
  2. happyrck

    happyrck

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  3. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning lisakmusco, your problem symptom is typical of a failed hard drive, or a drive with first cylinder problem.
    This is the drive area that is initially accessed for information as the machine begins it's boot sequence, many test programs will not pass this problem, as you have found.
    You may find running the HDDRegenerator program will tell you something.
    This is a shareware program, use the "free to try" from http://www.pcnet-online.com/downloads/hddregerator.htm
    You will need to make a bootable floppy or CD with it and boot from that.

    Hitting enter several times will start the program running and give a display, an indicator "worm" should hopefully appear with scan progress.

    This will fix one bad area on your drive but the scan system used is very helpful for determining how badly a drive is affected.

    Sometimes a second run may fix a second "bad" but often there are dozens of "bads".
    This program is useful for recovering data from damaged drives by recovering or regenerating "bads", it does not affect the present material on the drive.
    Physical damage on the drive is unrecoverable, magnetic surface deterioration is!

    If you cannot get this program to run, and the drive is being detected properly in BIOS you will probably have a drive "funeral" to attend.

    Cross your fingers!
    Cheers, qldit.
     
  4. lisakmusco

    lisakmusco Thread Starter

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    Thanks qldit. I will give it a try. I did also go to the manuf. site (maxtor) and get their diagnostic/repair utility. I don't think its helping, though, so it looks like it may be funeral time.
     
  5. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning lisakmusco, yes in all probability your heads may have touched an outer surface area on the platters, it only needs miniscule surface physical marking in this area to render the drive unuseable because of it's incredibly vital data storage, pertaining to everything else on the rest of the drive.

    But that regen program is different to anything else, normally if it can't see a drive or won't run, that really is the fat lady singing!

    I have recovered drives with the HDDRegen tool previously, with first cylinder problems with similar symptoms as yours.
    It uses some kind of signal pulsing technique applied to poor magnetic responding areas and restores operation, any contained data in these affected areas is usually recovered and replaced.
    The Spinrite program is similar but does not appear to achieve any greater restoration effect. (lots of nice bells and whistles in it though, it is a more expensive "try after you buy" program)

    It is quite amazing in most cases to see a drive with bad clusters being restored, although I suppose if you consider drive operation under normal useage conditions, the platter speed and head write access time, signal level and pass duration, it would be easy to appreciate that marginal level magnetic imprints could be degraded even with normal ferric material retentivity loss.
    The magnetic imprint to the drive surface is obviously normally nowhere near what might be considered as optimum that might be possible for magnetic longevity.

    If you consider the surface magnetic material from the "domain" point of view, and appreciate gradual domain alignment loss from using minute magnetising effects, I think it makes it easier to realise why these kinds of problems happen and understand that these regeneration type programs have definite merit, it is not magic.

    This also promotes positive practical reasons for running scandisk and defrag type programs that have ability to lift data and rewrite it, thus avoiding normal magnetic surface deterioration or degradation, then rewriting a fresh data entry which obviously promotes data retention capability and probably prolongs drive and system overall integrity.

    Where this magnetic retentivity problem is really apparent is often seen when you run a floppy disk that had precious material and hadn't been used for several years. On examination you find enormous bad spot counts, often not even reading at all and when you fully re-format that floppy repeatedly you have an easily observable improvement in it's magnetic surface integrity.

    By the way, although Seagate drives may not be the best, you might enquire about their warranties before you buy any other drive, although I expect other manufacturer's won't be far behind!

    Cheers, qldit.
     
  6. scaruso

    scaruso

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    It may be better to buy a new hard drive you are only masking your hard drive problems.
    The hard drive will crash and when that happens you will lose your data. Do not use any of the gimmick software. The software will eventually fail and cause a hdd faliure.
     
  7. lisakmusco

    lisakmusco Thread Starter

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    I gave it a try, but the free trial doesn't go far enough and I wasn't about to buy it when I could get a new hard drive for the same price. So that's what we did. Got it all up and running this morning.
     
  8. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning Lisa, yes, well done, there is nothing like a nice new drive!

    The way I see it is that regen program can be extremely useful as a "free to try" in many instances to allow that first cylinder to be repaired such that the machine will be restored to bootable operation, which generally allows data to be easily recovered etc. and at the same time generally allows the drive to operate normally once again.
    I have tested drives that had substantial bads and after scanning have given normal operation for something like eight months, as a matter of fact there is one in this macine I am currently using, so my testing continues, but naturally a new drive is a more accepted path.
    When I originally evaluated these programs I was really surprised.

    It really becomes more cost effective if data recovery is considered, especially if the data is important.

    It is one of those programs that you need when you don't have it but when you have it , you don't need it!!
    I really believe these kind of programs should be priced more reasonably and their sales would "skyrocket". That would also preclude the piracy trend.

    I expect similar programs will eventually be included in normal operating system programs.
    As the hard drives become larger and faster so do the problems, although modern hard drives have spare memory blocks that can be automatically inserted and tend to hide this kind of problem, except when it happens on that first vital area.

    I suspect that many problem drives that are returned under warranty to various suppliers are simply scanned with these kinds of programs and returned.

    Cheers, qldit.
     
  9. lisakmusco

    lisakmusco Thread Starter

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    You make some very valid points, and I agree with you.
     
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