How to fix a bad sector in a protected Win XP system file?

By brennan2004 ·
I have 4K's of bad sectors near the end of my drive in a file protected by Windows. The file is hardly ever used because the only way I discovered it was during a full system backup. I have tried Checkdisk running under Bartpe, but requesting checkdisk to fix the errors still did not work. Does anyone know of another useful plugin I could try, or should I try something off the Ultimate Boot disk?
Toshiba A100, 80G HD, WinXP Sp3
Thanks John

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

I seriously doubt if the file is "hardly ever used" ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to How to fix a bad sector i ...

As a general rule of thumb, 'Protected Files' are protected to prevent the user from interfering with a critical system file, which if altered or deleted would render your operating system useless or at best cripple it severely.

Ever since the change from systems based on MS-DOS to the newer NT-based systems, the capabilities of CHKDSK have diminished - it used to be that you could 'mark' the bad sectors as unusable and the operating system would continue to run but just avoid the bad sectors on the HDD.

Marking of bad sectors as 'unusable' was generally done using SCANDISK but it only functioned back in the days of MS-DOS.


At that time HDDs were considerably smaller BUT also considerably more expensive.

Nowadays the situation is quite the reverse - HDDs are enormous and their relative cost is minuscule. As such, there is little need to repair something that is now inexpensive to replace.

You can be sure that once your HDD has developed a Bad Sector, it is only a matter of time before it develops more of them. At present you may be able to get CHKDSK to recover the damaged file, copying it to another location on the HDD, but eventually you'll have more unstable sectors than remaining free stable sectors.

This would be the prudent time to buy a replacement hard disk drive and perhaps a USB Caddy for your existing failing HDD.

A fresh install onto the new HDD, then reinstalling all of your Data from the now slaved HDD, and you're good to go for a further number of years.

I would advise AGAINST cloning in this instance, as there is every likelihood that you will clone the bad sectors as well.

Edit for Link.

Collapse -

In addition to what Older Mycroft has said

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to How to fix a bad sector i ...

What concerns me here is your description of the Problems being at the End of the Drive. This is unusual for HDD which have started to break down as they generally start to loose the Magnetic Coating on the Platters at the Beginning of the drive as the Read Write Heads come off the Park Position not a the end of the drive.

To me this indicates that the bad sectors are on a NB Drive and that the NB gets moved with the HDD running and has been knocked around far in excess of the design parameters. Like OM has said above the only solution here is to replace the HDD and Cloning isn't really an option you need to use a Recovery Disc that you'll need to buy from Toshiba if you didn't get one with the computer as well as a Replacement HDD which can be purchased from any Computer Supplier.

After you fit the HDD and have it loaded you'll also need to turn off the computer before moving it and be more gentle with it while it's running.


Collapse -

You can use the UBCD

by IC-IT In reply to How to fix a bad sector i ...

Navigate to Hard drive tools - Diagnostics - MHDD32.
When it loads, select your drive.
Press F4 to see the options.
Use the Arrow keys to select the options and the space key to change them.
You will want to turn on remapping and continuous loop.
Then press F4 again to run.

Collapse -

Not giving up on the drive quite yet

by brennan2004 In reply to You can use the UBCD

Thanks guys for your comments

The computer is about 3 ? years old, so it is getting on but it is well loaded with lots of programs and utilities, so I was trying to avoid having to start again from zero. It has generally been well looked after, but it did go flying ? off the overhead locker compartment of a nice new Brazilian bus on a bit of bumpy road in the middle of the night! That was some months back and thought it had survived OK at the time.
I?ve also just looked at the output of a program called Disk Checkup, which stores the results over time of a disks performance against some 20 different measures, and it doesn?t seem to be showing any significant signs of deterioration.
I may not be accurate about being ?near the end of the drive? but the error does show up right near the end of a full system backup. One time I tried to identify the file involved. Couldn?t be sure, but there was some net framework files in the vicinity.
Finally, I tried chkdsk c: /r today, but it didn?t change things. I hope to give MHDD32 a whirl tomorrow.

Collapse -

Just out of curiosity here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Not giving up on the driv ...

What does the HDD Makers Test Utility say about the drive here?

If you have not tested the drive yet with it's Makers Testing Utility you can get it from here


The correct way to use these Utilities is to test in the system that the drive lives in and if it fails that test remove it and retest in a different system. If it fails the second test the drive is on it's way to Silicon Heaven but if it passes the second test the M'Board, Power Supply or Data Lead in the original computer is faulty and needs repair/replacing.


Collapse -

The HDD test utility did it

by brennan2004 In reply to Just out of curiosity her ...

Thanks Col for a great tip. Was very simple and straight forward to use (by contrast MHDD which was not cooperating very well). The utility moved the data from the corrupted sectors, and so far I haven?t noticed any side effects. I ran the fitness tests, and the drive passed OK. However, yes guys, I will remain even more vigilant with my backups to the two external drives I have.

Now at this point, could I bring up an unrelated matter, but one that affects me every time I try and get information from this forum ? is there no advanced search capability?
I can?t even search for a phrase, and so have to wade through lots of irrelevant material.


Collapse -

RE: is there no advanced search capability?

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to The HDD test utility did ...

No unfortunately other than the limited Search Faculty there is noggin else available.

Event he existing Search Faculty which isn't great wasn't here not so long ago.


Collapse -

Use google or yahoo advanced search

by TonytheTiger In reply to The HDD test utility did ...

with techrepublic.com.com as the domain :)

Collapse -

Dude listen to what the other say bad sectors = lost data

by CG IT In reply to Not giving up on the driv ...

go buy another drive.

even using norton disk doctor to mark the sectors bad, bad sectors = failing drive. failing drive = lost data.

Collapse -

chkdsk C: /R

by Slayer_ In reply to How to fix a bad sector i ...

Choose Yes when it asks to do it at next bootup.

This should move the file and most likely, recover it. If not, the protected system file should trigger Windows to say that a critical file has changed, please insert your Windows disc to reverse it. Which would copy it to new sectors.

However, as previously said, a bad cluster always indicated physical damage to the drive. And it is sure to fail, faster and faster. Try running a SMART test on your drive. I bet it says it has already used up all of your backup sectors.

If its on the edge of your drive, that's a bit frighting. Did you drop it or something while it was running?

Related Discussions

Related Forums