I have a SMART status warning - Not sure if it's bad or not

By Leeky · 23 replies
Nov 29, 2010
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  1. Hello peeps. :)

    So this morning I got a warning regarding my 500GB Hitachi hard disk, regarding the relocated sector count.

    I wont img tag the picture, as its 1280x800 pixels, but the link to it is here. I found making it any smaller from its original 1680x1050 size just made it unreadable.

    Should I be worried about this kind of warning? As of a couple of days ago I moved my entire linux setup to this hard disk, and I'm still moving all my files from temp storage to where they should be in my /home partition, but I'm kinda worried its now going to fail on me.

    Whats your thoughts peeps? Am I good to go, or should I be ordering a new HDD as soon as practically possible?

    P.S. If this fails it'll be my first ever HDD failure! :haha:
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    Four bad sectors reported. If I got this warning, I would replace it. You could run the linux equivalent of chkdsk afterward to see if you can salvage the drive.
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Its quite serious then?

    Is there anything stopping me from running it now and seeing if it can fix it?
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    If a hard drive develops bad sectors, I would consider it unreliable in the long run.

    I would make sure your data is backed up first before running linux's version of chkdsk as a precaution.
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yeah everything is backed up, got it all sat in cloud storage right now. :haha:

    I'm going to try a in-depth SMART status report rather than the simple one, and then go from there. I can't really afford to replace it for a couple of weeks yet, and I'm kinda begrudging it as it will be taking yet more money from my HD6870 funds - At this rate it'll be months before I have one! :haha:

    Thanks for the advice though. If I can't fix it I'll replace it. :)
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    You can't actually FIX bad sectors persay, so it would be best to actively monitor the bad sector count. If it continues to increase be prepared to replace it when it goes under. As it's failing you'll see two things generally happen: Drive performance will drop, and sometimes files actually become corrupted and/or troublesome to read. Being that it is currently your root drive this will eventually become problematic, but for now, you have the option to wait and see (as long as everything important is backed up).

    Personally I'm not a fan of the cloud, but good to see it's working out for you. :stickout:
  7. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    I've decided I'm gonna replace it now anyway, and get either a Velociraptor or a MomentusXT for my Linux.

    I've seen my Linux performance drop (though its still pretty quick in all fairness) since moving my Linux install from my SSD a few day ago, and I'm kinda missing its responsiveness already. Maybe the problems with my Hitachi aren't helping - Who knows, it all ran on a SSD before. lol.

    I can always manage with my HD4670 until my birthday in April, then kindly ask for donations rather than presents so I can purchase my HD6870 then. :)

    I use UbuntuOne for cloud storage mainly. It's still a bit buggy, but seems to work out fine, plus the cost of increase storage isn't too bad. I also use SpiderOak for my full backups, which is quite good as well, and offers much more features, plus cross platform compatibility. I still use other utilities for Windows though, but I need to re-think things as I actually have 2 different copies of each file between Linux and Windows, and (another two) in UbuntuOne and SpiderOak, and its getting rather silly now really.

    I'm happy to keep SpiderOak and UbuntuOne running on my linux install, because it offers me a redundant backup for not much money really.

    I think I'm going to seriously dump Windows for everything with the exception of gaming, and move absolutely everything over to Linux instead. I just don't use Windows enough anymore to justify this headache. :haha:
  8. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Well of course you saw performance drop when you moved from SSD to platter... :p

    I'd personally recommend against the Velociraptor. The Velociraptor's increased rotation speed does not translate to increased performance very well, and in my experience run MUCH louder and hotter than any other drives I have handled. I'm familiar with the 74GB and old 150GB so that has probably changed somewhat since then, but I still don't think it is worth the money.

    I Love my Samsung drives,but the Momentus XT might be at that middle ground that you want, with sub SSD speed but faster than other platter drives while having larger data stores.

    My main beef with cloud storage is one of availability, both on a security standpoint and an access standpoint. The later concern is that you require an internet connection and taking the time to download your files. I can only imagine how time consuming this could become on slower connections if that online backup was large. The former is, to an extent, the concern that my data would not be directly under my control. Yes I can add and delete files at will, but the storage space that data resides on is not technically mine (in most cloud solutions), so my data can be accessed by any third party either illicitly or with permission.

    While I have nothing particular to hide, call me old fashion when I think having physical copies of my data at arms reach (or in the case of very important information, having that physically backed up at another location) makes me feel more protected than cloud based backups. :)
  9. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Well having had a brief look, its either one of these...

    Kingston 64GB SSD for £94.03, or
    MomentusXT 500GB for £95.22 plus the cost of another set of brackets. Which is gonna be a pain, because I'm really not sure where a second 2.5" drive will go, mounting my SSD was annoying enough.

    Looks like the MomentusXT will win - I'll had a look at prices elsewhere when I'm ready to order though, as might be able to save a couple of squids. :)

    Cloud storage is very much dependant on internet speed inititally, but once its got a full copy of your files its neither here nor there. For example, my home internet is 50MBps down, and 5MBps up, and my mums is 1.5MBPs down, and 250KBps up or something like that. When I'm at hers mine updates quite happily at the slower speed.

    I suppose security is an issue, but I feel happy its secured given what I've read, and my data is hardly trade secrets or commercially sensitive data in any case. Having disks with backups is handy, but to be honest years of backups has taken its toll on me, and I use far too many DVD D/L's for my liking. Having it all available online is especially handy if I need to grab something and I don't have a computer with it on to hand though, and SpiderOak actually enables me to do a full disk backup as well, which is awesome for keeping essential files for the OS backed up somewhere safe.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    Did you notice that the threshold count was 5 and you are at 4.
    IF the HD continues to increase the Bad Sector count, THEN I would become concerned.

    Recall, bad sectors are automatically relocated upon first discovery - - the data has not been lost.

    Just run your report once a week (eg on Monday mornings) - - it's entirely possible that it will
    NEVER increase :)
  11. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    What does the threshold count mean?
    Does it die at like 5 or something?

    I know I've not lost anything yet, my concern was more about it failing when I least want it too. 4 bad sectors have appeared in the last week or two, because it was fine when I checked it last.
  12. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Which is why I said actively monitor it. :)

    @Leeky: 2.5" ->3.5" brackets are pretty cheap at local computer hardware shops, so it is at most of an inconvenience of getting said bracket. Now, if you're out of drive bays, then you're a little pressed to make a solution. :p

    Threshold count is basically a limit to the number of errors/changes/temperature/et al (based on what attribute it is connected to) that the drive should not got over during normal operation or during is average lifespan. When it goes over it can signify the drive may have problems or is imminent of failing, though SMART is first and foremost a monitoring system, and is not concrete. As jobeard said, you could have a few bad sectors, even breaking the 5 sector threshold by a few and still use the drive just fine, assuming the the bad sector count is not increasing on a regular basis or accelerating.

    Ultimately I'd put aside the money for a new drive, but just sit tight in the mean time and hold off buying anything new.
  13. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yeah they are. :)

    The problem is more the mounts in my case.

    It uses slide brackets that "clip" in place the hard disks into each rack, but they do not have any previsions for screwing them in place, as the brackets make the inside of the racks wider than a 3.5" disks total width.

    The picture below explains it much better than I am, I'm sure. lol.



    So I got around this by mounting into the hidden 3.5" bay area above the hard disk racks, but of course, there is only space for one hard disk. So god knows what I'm going to do with a 2nd 2.5" device.

    I could do with a multiple 2.5" SATA swap bay or something, which I could mount in the remaining two external 5.25" bays at the top of my case... But that'll likely be very expensive.

    Another option though could be to purchase this OCZ Vertex Bigfoot 2E 120GB SSD which is 3.5" in size, and would fit absolutely fine inside one of my racks. :)

    Its more money, but it would provide enough space for my linux install, if I placed my VBOX partitions, music and videos elsewhere, and just kept the /home setup with docs and stuff on the SSD. 120GB would be enough to do that quite easily, as I did it before with a 110GB partition on my current 256GB SSD.
  14. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Or, you could get one of these: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168671

    It should work with your rail system, and if not it can go into that internal 3.5" bay. And a review states it allows dual drives, and looks like it too.

    As I said, cheap. :)

    edit: though, you might need to buy an extension or a splitter for the SATA power to accommodate the lack of space with two drives on top of each other.
  15. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    For the price it would definitely be worth trying I think.

    I'll see how the pennies are in a couple of weeks. I'd quite like the OCZ 120GB SSD, but if funds don't allow for the extra £75, I could always get the MomentusXT, which at 500GB is going to be a very good purchase due to being a Hybrid anyway.
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    Threshold is only another number. Someone in his/her experience decided that number was reason "to start to become concerned" - - not to panic or throw the baby out with the bath water :) No; death is not imminant.

    Now if you see 4-5 more next week and another 4-5 the week after - - THEN it's time for a replacement. Meanwhile - - can you spell B A C K U P? :wave:
  17. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Leeky spells it as C L O U D. :haha:
  18. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Indeed, cloud. :haha:

    Everything important on this hard disk is backed up via cloud... Though I'll be a wise little boy and make a DVD D/L just in case we suffer Armageddon and I can't access it online! ;)

    Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. Even if it doesn't get worse I might just change it anyway, as I can always use this HDD for something non-essential later on, or even fit it to my other quad Dell. :)
  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184


    While SMART errors don't necessarily mean imminent failure, i think they do significantly increase the probability of that drive failing in the future. I also do backups but, for my own practice, will change the drive once SMART errors start appearing rather then waiting to see how long till a crash

    Also, just fyi.. Google released their own study a couple years ago. A few points i thought of particular interest from their study they stated
    • Some SMART parameters (scan errors, reallocation counts, offline reallocation counts, and probational counts) have a large impact on failure probability.
    • 36% of drives fail without any SMART errors
    • Contrary to previously reported results, we found very little correlation between failure rates and either elevated temperature or activity levels.
  20. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yeah I actually had a really good read of the same article around the same time of starting this thread Archean. :) (Great minds think alike!).

    Based on that report I've decided to change the disk, but I'm undecided on whether to for either a 500GB MomentusXT, or a OCZ 120GB SSD + 1TB SpinPoint F3 combination. Right now worse case scenario is it fails and leaves me unable to use Linux (This Hitachi disk just has Linux on it), I still have my W7 install on my SSD, and Ubuntu Netbook on my MSI so I've time on my side either way right now. :)

    I might wait it out, because ideally I'd like to do a system upgrade shortly.
  21. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Archean? :D
  22. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Sorry, I saw the icon and just assumed, whilst reading something Archean had posted. :haha:

    Sorry LookinAround!
  23. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Ha-Ha. LOL

    Well, at least you mistook me and put me in with good company as Archean! ;)
  24. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    I hold you both equally in the same high regard. :grinthumb

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