Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ComputerLife : Saving an Old Hard Drive : Re-Mapping Bad Sector's : The Easy Way : VivaRD

By Avatar JayR Cela

    As everyone know's, hard disk drives eventually fail. It is usually obvious when your system starts to hang for one reason or another, with no real rhyme or reason, and some odd ball error messages that make absolutely no sense at all start popping up.

    Now, I have had good and bad experiences with both Western Digital and Seagate, the two most common currently available mechanical ( spinning disk type ) brands, and in the case of WD, superb warranty support. It makes no difference though and let's face it most HD's if they are defective will fail either immediately or shortly there after, however they do wear out over time, and certain portions of the magnetic substrate ( sectors ) can suffer from deterioration, subsequently the result is the above mentioned symptoms.

    In the past it has been difficult for the average person to try and salvage a dying hard disk, please remember depending upon how much deterioration has already taken place will determine wither or not you can save the device.

    Let's say for instance you have a 500gb device with aprx.. 980000000 sectors and 39 to 200 of them are bad, your chances of a successful remapping of the bad clusters to good ones are pretty good, this will inform the drive(s) built in firmware ( S.M.A.R.T. Drive )  where these bad sectors are located and to avoid them in the future.  ( SMART Drive is typically turned On by'default' or Off in the computers BIOS Settings )

    There are programs you can purchase to do this for you automatically, Gibson Research - SpinRite comes to my mind. You can however use a free software tool called VivaRD, and it is available on a product I have mentioned before in my other blog, "The Virtual World Technologist" Ultimate Boot CD. UBCD is an .ISO file that contains numerous tools for computer professionals and novice users alike. It is available here 
I will warn you though the web page has a lot of click on here advertising crap, so be forewarned ! This link is a safer bet

    The one you will be looking for is, ViVARD, a very basic low-level program with a minimal DOS style UI, it's not scary at all. You Just Have To Read, Before You Proceed. / LOL :_) I just had to say that :_)

     And it is a 2 step process as well as time consuming, find it in the UBCD menu under the UBCD CD Applications- HDD Diagnosis -  Menu. Open the program and select the HD you wish to test. and first run a scan, this will take a long time, depending upon your equipment 2 to 4 hours or more, next step is, ( Do Not Exit the Program ), re-run scan with the remap option. Fortunately the second scan already has the info it needs in order to do a scan and remap, in about half the time of the original.

     That should get ya back in order, one thing to remember though is, if you data was already really screwed up in the first place, this is no guarantee you will be able to recover it successfully.

     VivaRD  does seem to have a home page of sorts offering a download ZIP file containing  file  vivard.exe / I have not tried that / but here is the page I found

   Anyways, the version included with UBCD worked for me, I like the fact that when using UBCD, by default you have not mounted any partitions or file systems, except those on the actual CD or TD ( thumb drive ).

JayR :_)

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