September 24, 2004
I fell upon SmartMonTools while searching for a low level ATA command utility as I would like to attempt to force failed hard disks to simply give me what they could.
I also intend to test it on several Win32 systems to see if it is suitable for "average end users" who, unfortunately wind up holding the bag when there is no good reason for M$ not to have included some warning prior to the catastrophic failure that too often bankrupts small companies, literally.
At any rate, I wanted to tender a technique I have been using since the 1980's to either repair bad ECC's or to confirm media damage. More often than not, it has also resulted in the data being good.
The tool I use is Norton Diskedit; though the principle should work with virtually any program.
After locating the erroring sector using another utility, I migrate to the location with NU in physical disk mode and after telling it to ignore the error, simply rewrite the sector. If the damage is physical, it remains an error; if it was software induced (i.e. system crash or power failure), the rewrite corrects the ECC and the error is gone. (as an aside, I now wonder whether I have caused a sector realocation in some cases; but those didn't exist when I first started using the technique)
I do not know if this has any direct bearing on your specific project; but, wanted to, at least, qualify one of your assertions and, perhaps influence others that might encounter your project or those who may be working with you.
I have seen tens of thousands of hard drives with bad sectors and most of them were not due to media damage. It isn't supposed to be possible to interrupt the drive in mid sector; but it happens regularly.
If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to contact me by Email or by phone.
© Davis M McCarn 2004 All Rights Reserved