The health of your hard drive directly affects two important things – all your saved files and how your operating system performance overall. Technical issues such as file system errors and bad blocks might end up with you losing personal data, problems with Windows booting, and the permanent death of your storage device.
The chances of repairing your hard drive depend on the number of bad blocks. Physical damage cannot be undone, but logical errors can be easily fixed. All you need is a dedicated app developed for restoring corrupted sectors.
Two simple methods for fixing HDD errors and bad blocks
Before downloading utilities for your ‘coughing’ storage device, we recommend running a short diagnostics first. It will allow you to detect problematic sectors, analyze their quantity, and tell whether it is worth trying. We also have a more detailed guide on our website on this topic. It explains what bad blocks are, why they appear, and what programs are the best for the job. We recommend checking it as well.
You can use scanning tools for external disks and USB flash drives as well. If the scan finds a number of errors and bad blocks, you will need specific software to deal with the problem.
Method #1: using third-party software for bad sector repair
It is the most popular solution among Windows users – using programs that find and repair bad blocks on the logical level. There are multiple choices one can use, but you need to remember that this decision must not be taken lightly: one wrong move or unclear settings chosen might not only harm your device but also accidentally delete your sensitive information that was saved on the disk.
To help our readers, we decided to form a short list of useful and user-friendly programs for repairing bad sectors on a hard drive. Here is our so-called “Top-5” list:
- Active@ Hard Disk Monitor
- Macrorit Disk Scanner
- HDD Regenerator
No matter how many storage devices you have, this program will do its job just fine. It is compatible with the latest Windows version and knows how to read/analyze S.M.A.R.T. parameters. Disk checking is surprisingly fast in comparison with other alternatives on the market. However, it is not possible to check USB drives with HDDScan.
Active@ Hard Disk Monitor
Unlike competitors has several truly unique features such as remote monitoring, temperature status, and temperature graph building. In addition, the app also sends email reports if your hard drive is in a critical state. We like its simple and laconic interface but cannot swallow the fact that you need to buy an individual license for each computer.
Macrorit Disk Scanner
Just like HDDScan Macrorit Disk Scanner supports a large number of disks and fully compatible with all Windows versions. The program allows users to select scanning options, which is great for quick checks. Scan results are saved automatically. It has a free version (severely limited on features).
An all-powerful tool that can deal with seriously corrupted disks. Saves the information from bad sectors and allows retrieving it in a few clicks. Has a freeware version (allows repairing one bad sector). The full version is rather pricey in our opinion, but still, it is better to save important information than lose it, right?
A small experimental application for minor repairs, tests, and disk performance checks. It is absolutely free to download. Other notable features: minimalistic user-friendly interface, no CPU load at idle, multi-tasking.
Method #2: using Windows-integrated tools
Alternatively, you can try to repair hard drive errors with the simple disk check utility named, well, chkdsk. It scans all storage devices connected to the computer and fixes the errors found in the process. If you are going to repair the partition with your OS on, chkdsk won’t be able to initiate the procedure until the next boot or manual restart. We suggest working with this utility using Command Prompt.
- Press the Start menu button and type cmd in the search bar.
- Right-click the icon from the search list and select “Run as administrator.”
- The Command Prompt windows will appear. Type the following command: chkdsk c: /r /f. It tells the system that you want to run chkdsk and allow it to fix all errors found.
- The utility won’t be able to execute the command when your OS is up and running, so it will ask you to run a scan after the system restart. Confirm your intentions by pressing “Y” and hitting Enter.
- After the reboot, you will be asked whether you want to skip the repair procedure or not (can be done by pressing any key).
- If you don’t press anything, the scan will be executed and all following repairs of bad sectors as well.
Please keep in mind that none of these methods (and programs) can repair bad sectors on the physical level, even if developers claim otherwise. There is no software that can physically restore the mechanical damage. The best course of action after finding out that your storage device is physically damaged would be to copy all files and get a new disk before the current one dies.