It was a fine day, scraping the internet & downloading stuff to keep me entertained during summer holidays.
All of a sudden Dell support pops up with a weird error code.
It was an error code for the bad sector, a stuff related to hard disks.
In simple words, bad sector is nothing but a small section of the hard disk that cannot be used for read/write operations.
That part of hard disk lost its magnetic property either due to physical damage (Hard bad sectors), like when you accidentally drop your laptop or on purpose ;-)
Some bad sectors occur due to software problems like when you force shutdown your laptop or due to some interruptions. They are called soft bad sectors & can be fixed easily. But hard bad sectors are not easy to fix (Impossible is the right word!)
When I googled for a solution. It was very simple. if you find bad sectors, throw away the hard disk and buy a new one.
What the... hell?!
The real reason behind this saying is that the bad sectors are like cancer cells, once they start to form, the death of hard drive is inevitable!
What could really happen when bad sectors are formed?
It really depends on the place where bad sector occurs.
Like if it occurs in the C: drive (most of the time it does!) we may encounter the legendary blue screen of death.
If you are a Linux user... Let's not talk about that ;-)
Finding bad sectors:
S.M.A.R.T attributes are used to monitor hard disk health... (google for more info). They help to predict hard disk failure. There are software that can use these attributes to state hard disk health. Even Windows has a built-in tool called check disk (chkdsk) which can be used to find bad sectors.
Modern hard disks:
Luckily for me, modern hard disks have spare sectors for mapping these bad sectors, like assign the data to somewhere that is not damaged.
After these spare sectors are used up then when we copy something, OS tries to write the data into bad sector & computer screws up... That's when the OS really starts finding bad sectors.
Some software claim to fix bad sectors, but most of them don't actually do & some are more expensive than hard disk!
An alternative idea is buying a Solid State Device(SSD). SSD's rarely encounter bad sectors but they are around 4 times costlier than ordinary hard disks
Just keep an eye on the bad sector count. Don't let it go above the threshold & frame budget for a new hard disk.
Also, keep a copy of this article in the good sector of your brain :-)