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Disk Utility may not warn of a failing hard drive
Authored by: gabester on Sep 30, '10 01:34:39PM

I wouldn't go so far as to say that a drive needs to be replaced as soon as the first bad block developed, but it certainly needs to considered unreliable for permanent data storage. And Mac OS X really doesn't do a very good job of informing the user about bad blocks and how to resolve them. In my mind, when a bad block is detected the OS should flag it and never attempt to use it again; in practice OS X will continually get hung up on that spot...

I've used tips from this page: http://uncoy.com/2006/09/bad_sector_io_e.html as it has good guidance on how to actually get around the bad blocks on your drive. It can be summarized as follows:
boot from OS X disc

% dd if=/dev/disk3 of=/dev/null conv=noerror

count number of errors
back up critical data
erase entire disk (select drive not partitions) - write zeros (once is enough)
then rerun:

% dd if=/dev/disk3 of=/dev/null conv=noerror

Following those steps should return zero errors. if it still errors drive is no longer reliable, check your warranty.

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Disk Utility may not warn of a failing hard drive
Authored by: adrian.nier on Sep 30, '10 03:36:13PM

While the procedure is perfectly sound, it should be neither the user’s nor the system administrator’s job to fix something that shouldn’t be broken in the first place. Most hard drives come with a 3-year, some even with a 5-year warranty. There is no bad blocks policy like the dead pixel policies some display manufacturers have. Demand a quality product, you paid for it.



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