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Reallocated Sectors - Any General Rule when 2 replace drive?



Hi, everyone. I just got a warning from stabilebit scanner that my reallocated sector count has got worse. I got a warning sometime back that the drive has some reallocated sectors and I just told stablebit to let me know if the count got worse. Now I got another warning they hate have in fact got worse. I have two of the same type of drive and they both have reallocated sectors. The drive type is

Seagate 1.5 TB (ST31500341AS). There were all kinds of problems with these drives when Seagate released them (only time in my life when i had to update the firmware on a hard drive). I ended up having to get them both replaced under warranty but haven't had any issues with them other than when I first started using stablebit scanner that I was telling me both drives had reallocated sectors. Unfortunately i don't remember what was the previous reallocated sector count. Here is the email:


ATA ST31500341AS SCSI Disk Device - 1 warnings

  • There are currently 36 reallocated sectors on the hard disk. A reallocated sector is created when a sector cannot be read or written to. In such a case, the next time the sector is written to it is swapped in for a good one from the spare sector pool. Having reallocated sectors decrease read/write performance and indicates drive trouble.

Realize the drive is not under warranty anymore. I'm not in a habit of throwing drives away. Would you just tell stablebit again to tell just tell me if things get worse? Is there any general rule on the # of reallocated sectors when you need to get rid of the drive?




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With the reallocated sectors, I'd replace the drive. Warranty or no. 


That said, if you want to continue using the drive, I'd say run "chkdsk /b" on the drive, for a good, in depth scan of it.   

Alternatively, you can use SpinRite as well.



If you wish to use it in the pool, I'd recommend using the StableBit Scanner balancer or the Drive Usage Limiter balancer to only place duplicated data on the drive in question.  This way, if the drive does suddenly fail, you're not losing anything. 




Otherwise, my personally rule of thumb is "one is too many".   Reallocated sectors shows that the drive is already experiencing problems.  I'd rather replace it outright and not use the drive for anything important. 

That said, if the value is stable, then you should be fine (and you can "ignore current value" which will trigger again, if it increases).  However, if it's steadily or rapidly increasing, then this indicates a serious issue, and the drive should be pulled from the system immediately. 

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I understand your concern also.

When the drive starts reallocating sectors it just makes the drive work twice as hard and the duty time goes down greatly.

I remember when you could lock out sectors and whole rows of a drive before partitioning and the drive would work great for years.  The problem is our technology has gotten too good for the equipment.

Drives are working tighter tolerances and the control has been taken away from the users hands.  Now you have drives with the electronics on controlling the information, handshakes, syncing, and a whole lot more.  A document could be held on a floppy drive and a program on a cd.


Now you are with USB Thumb drives and DVD Drives.  Hard drives that hold Terabytes instead of Megabytes.


I feel just the way you do about thowing away drives.  Here is what I do.  I pull the drive,  I run Spinrite by Steve Gibson on it.  It then lets me know what the full health of the drive is.  I then mate it with an old external drive enclosure I can use.  I partition the drive into many parts around the known bad spots.  I format the partitions.  Load the drive with some data I want to save.  Two or three copies with Drive Pool and then disconnect the drive an place it in storage with a detailed Directory of what is on the drive.  On one wants to throw away drives that don't work anymore but I can tell you that you can get lost in time spending too much time fighting a lost cause.  If a drive is showing more reallocated sectors all of the time.  It is not the coating on the disk that is bad but the electronics is getting weaker and you might lose the drive with all of IMPORTANT data before you know it.


Don't like to mention it on some boards because it can create arguments but S.M.A.R.T. was created (I believe) as a timer to kill Hard drives.  Why would you let a drive power down or park a head if you know that counter would shut the drive down at a certain count.  Why? to make you buy heavy duty and high priced drives for long term use.  


Also, I have bought NAS Reds that have lasted less than  USB Backup drives.


Just for someones history info.  A long time ago.  HP made a Data Tape backup drive with a 20 MB Hard drive in it as a cache.  The military had procured a ton of them.  Over a very short time,  The tape drives got replaced with Floppy and cartridge.  When the DataTape drives were scrapped, I found out about the hard drives.  I bought lots of them from the DRMO.  I pulled the drives, ran tests on them and sold them for a profit. At the time Drives were going for $10.00 per Meg.

I had hundreds.  


Here is the answer for you.


If the drive is in an external enclosure.  Pull the drive.  Place it inside a computer with the proper connection.  Sata Pata IDE.

Start a program like Spinrite and look at all the information.  If the drive checks out green and clean.  Have the drive run a wipe or two and rescan.  If it is still showing healthy.  Re-purpose the drive if they duty life is half.


If the drive is in a computer.  Do the opposite..


If the drive sector rates go up and you have another drive the same type and size with a spin up problem, You can try to replace the board.


It is all that you are willing to do.  If too much of your time is consumed, you do feel it is worth it.

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It really depends. Is the data on the drives critical and not backed-up? -> Replace!


But if you have backups and/or use DP with duplication then you can leave as is for now. It is not so much the #of re-allocated sectors but whether the number increases. I would run another scan in a couple of days and if the number increases then I would consider taking the HDD out of service entirely.


You might try a re-format then and see how it comes back but in my limited experience, once the sector count goes up regularly it is simply dying.

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