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How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors? (Read 26568 times)
John.
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How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Mar 21st, 2007 at 1:19pm
 
There are two other recent threads (Error EC8F17B7 and Error - Blue Screen of Death) where the topic of bad sectors has come up.  I am wondering if anyone has had specific experience with:

1. How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
2. How does the Ghost 9/10 advanced option "ignore bad sectors during copy" function?


It appears to me that Ghost 9/10 will abort the backup-image process if Ghost finds the source partition contains a bad sector.  Is this a used bad sector, which contains a data file?  Or is this an unused bad sector (which shouldn't matter)?

To recap, this is my understanding of how bad sectors work in modern drives (please correct me if I'm wrong):

In the beginning, ideally speaking, one puts a blank hard drive in the pc, and then partitions the drive, and then formats the partition.  If during the format writing process an error occurs, then the hard drive controller logic marks the sector as bad, and assigns one of the alternate hard drive sectors.  See this PC Guide Article on bad sectors and the remapping.  From that point on, no program will ever write to the bad sector because it is marked bad.  Do harm, no foul.

Does or will Ghost 9/10 create a backup-image of a partition in this scenario without using the advanced option?


The other (more likely) scenario occurs when after an initially perfect no-bad-sector hard drive is used for several months or years.  In this case when attempting to read or write to a file using XP, an error occurs.

If a write-error occurs, then I assume an alternate sector will be assigned and the bad sector will be flagged.  (similar to first scenario)

If a read-error occurs, that is trying to read an existing file, then XP does not have a recovery capability.  The data is lost.  (The XP Recover command has limited capability.)  

In this case, it seems to me that Ghost 9/10 would or should be properly aborting with the Error EC8F17B7.  Until the user corrects the problem (using SprinRite possibly) or uses the "ignore bad sectors during copy" option, you should be unable to complete the backup process.

Anyone with actual experience in this please contribute.  In my own experience when bad sectors start "growing" I replace the drive asap.  Often there are other signs of impending failure such as groaning or clicking noises and performance problems. I then often worry for some time whether or not some critical files have been corrupted.  

The bottom line question though is still
"How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?"  

I have read the manuals, and searched the Symantec website, but could not find any explanations.

All answers appreciated.
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #1 - Mar 21st, 2007 at 6:50pm
 
Good information, Ghost4me.  If not already done, you should consider adding a reference to this thread in the "FAQ".
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Brian
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #2 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:25pm
 
John, let me describe my experience in the last few days. I attempted a manual backup image on my son's computer which has Ghost 10 installed. The image process wouldn't start and Ghost actually gave a message regarding an impending HD failure and suggested removing data from the HD. I did a chkdsk which fixed errors but it reported 24 KB of bad sectors. Just as chkdsk completed I received a Dell warning about an impending HD failure. I assume this was from the BIOS as Win XP was installed by me on a spare HD and there are no Dell partitions.

It's interesting that I can again perform Ghost images (after chkdsk corrected the errors) but I'm still seeing 24 KB of bad sectors. I restored a 6 week old backup image and ran chkdsk and there were no bad sectors. I thought bad sectors were part of the HD and would be seen regardless of which image one was using. I restored yesterday's image and again I see 24 KB of bad sectors. I'm confused. The bad sectors are in the image.

I'm not concerned if the HD fails. I'll leave it in place as I have backups and it's mainly a games computer.
 
 
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Rama
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #3 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:37pm
 
Brian wrote on Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:25pm:
John, let me describe my experience in the last few days. I attempted a manual backup image on my son's computer which has Ghost 10 installed. The image process wouldn't start and Ghost actually gave a message regarding an impending HD failure and suggested removing data from the HD. I did a chkdsk which fixed errors but it reported 24 KB of bad sectors. Just as chkdsk completed I received a Dell warning about an impending HD failure. I assume this was from the BIOS as Win XP was installed by me on a spare HD and there are no Dell partitions.


I have read that when you run into even single bad sector failure, it is an indication of an impending HD failure. My suggestion is to transfer to a good HD as soon as possible and try your backup tasks and give us the feedback.
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Brian
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #4 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 4:36am
 
Quote:
I have read that when you run into even single bad sector failure, it is an indication of an impending HD failure.

Rama, that's my understanding too. I've chosen to leave the HD in place. I'm sure my images will restore to the next HD without any difficulty. I'm not at all worried.
 
 
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John.
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #5 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 4:43am
 
Quote:
The image process wouldn't start and Ghost

So, you were unable to take a Ghost 9/10 backup image with a partition that had bad sector flagged? Error EC8F17B7?

Brian wrote on Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:25pm:
It's interesting that I can again perform Ghost images (after chkdsk corrected the errors) but I'm still seeing 24 KB of bad sectors. I restored a 6 week old backup image and ran chkdsk and there were no bad sectors. I thought bad sectors were part of the HD and would be seen regardless of which image one was using. I restored yesterday's image and again I see 24 KB of bad sectors. I'm confused. The bad sectors are in the image.

This doesn't surprise me.  I saw this phenomenon several times with DriveImage.  In fact there was an advanced option in DI restore to NOT restore the bad sector indicators.  Without checking that option, I restored a backup from a drive with errors onto a NEW blank hard drive.  I got the same bad sectors.  How DI (now Ghost) marks them bad again, I don't know.  Some low-level command I surmise.

Once the bad sectors are there, the only way (at the time) to fix it was to re-restore the backup image with the option checked, or use SpinRite to re-analyze and unmark good sectors.
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Brian
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #6 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 5:12am
 
I didn't tick any of the advanced settings re bad sectors. What I can't understand is if I restore a 6 week old image, the bad sectors disappear. If they are damaged areas on the HD then they should be present all of the time.
 
 
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #7 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 5:14am
 
Quote:
So, you were unable to take a Ghost 9/10 backup image with a partition that had bad sector flagged? Error EC8F17B7?

I can't recall seeing an error number. The message about hard drive failure was in the Ghost 10 window. After I ran chkdsk, Ghost 10 was able to create an image.
 
 
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #8 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 11:19am
 
Brian wrote on Mar 27th, 2007 at 5:12am:
I didn't tick any of the advanced settings re bad sectors. What I can't understand is if I restore a 6 week old image, the bad sectors disappear. If they are damaged areas on the HD then they should be present all of the time.


Brian,
Maybe the sectors were not physicaly damaged but only unreadable by checkdisk therefore marked as bad. When rewritten they become readable again. I think this is basicly how spinrite recovers bad sectors... by more thoroughly reading the contents of the sector and if successful... making sure it can rewrite the data back again. Ghost must be restoring the flags by checkdisk even though the sectors may be readable. I think these errors are signs of impending HD failure. My sons HD did the same thing, spinrite fixed it up and has been usable for about 4 months now... only one error since. But I'm like you, if it dies I have ghost image backups to restore to a new drive (it is not a misson critical system). Just my thoughts... no expert here.
 

If anything can go wrong, it already did, and you just now noticed it.
 
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Brian
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #9 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 3:54pm
 
ckcc wrote on Mar 27th, 2007 at 11:19am:
Maybe the sectors were not physicaly damaged but only unreadable by checkdisk therefore marked as bad. When rewritten they become readable again.

ckcc,

It's slowly making sense but I'm still not comfortable with the "bad sector" concept. I guess you are saying that even though there are no bad sectors when I restore a 6 week old image, that it's likely that other bad sectors will soon appear because the physical structure of the HD is compromised.

There was certainly corruption in Windows. In Event Viewer there had been no entries for two months. Both in the Application and the System logs. But recording stopped a few days apart. Not on the same date. I've now fixed the logs. (The restored image showed the same corrupted logs)

I ran Seagate HD Tools last night. It took 3 hours and the HD passed all tests. Aren't computers wonderful?
 
 
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Rama
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #10 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 10:16pm
 
Brian wrote on Mar 27th, 2007 at 3:54pm:
ckcc wrote on Mar 27th, 2007 at 11:19am:
Maybe the sectors were not physicaly damaged but only unreadable by checkdisk therefore marked as bad. When rewritten they become readable again.

ckcc,

I ran Seagate HD Tools last night. It took 3 hours and the HD passed all tests. Aren't computers wonderful?


Recently I had a HD which was causing unpredictable behaviour of the Windows. When I ran the quick scan using WD diagnostic, it failed. However, when I ran the full disk scan, it passed. Some time later the hard drive started making noise. I knew then the HD had failed. Moral of the story is not always to trust the diagnostics. Sometimes they fail to detect defective HD

/me 
 
 
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Brian
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #11 - Mar 27th, 2007 at 10:41pm
 
I tried moving the data. I deleted the OS drive and created a 1 GB partition at the start of the HD. I restored the recent image into the Unallocated Space. So the data would have been on a different part of the HD than yesterday. Chkdsk still showed 24 kb of bad sectors.  Remember that when I restored the 6 week old image, there were no bad sectors.

I feel the bad sectors are in the image rather than damaged parts of the HD. Software bad sectors if you like. I'm guessing there is nothing wrong with my HD and those "Impending Doom" messages were false. Time will tell.
 
 
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #12 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 12:01am
 
Brian wrote on Mar 27th, 2007 at 10:41pm:
I feel the bad sectors are in the image rather than damaged parts of the HD. Software bad sectors if you like. I'm guessing there is nothing wrong with my HD and those "Impending Doom" messages were false. Time will tell.


Thats kinda what I was saying, that the sectors were not damaged but just unreadable by checkdisk which marked them bad and that marking was saved in your image. The drive may not be going bad, could have been anything causing the data to be corrupted and therefore unreadable... since checkdisk couldn't read the sector it just assumes it's bad.

http://www.grc.com/sranalysis.htm
 

If anything can go wrong, it already did, and you just now noticed it.
 
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Brian
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #13 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 1:29am
 
When my son has finished playing games tonight I'll restore the 6 week old image and fix the Event Viewer. Then I'll have no bad sectors showing in chkdsk. It will LOOK better.
 
 
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John.
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Re: How does Ghost 9/10 deal with bad-sectors?
Reply #14 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 11:59am
 
Brian wrote on Mar 27th, 2007 at 10:41pm:
I feel the bad sectors are in the image rather than damaged parts of the HD. Software bad sectors if you like. I'm guessing there is nothing wrong with my HD and those "Impending Doom" messages were false. Time will tell.

This reflects my previous experience:  When I restored a DriveImage to a new blank unformatted drive, DI marked the same sectors as bad.  I had to use SpinRite to rescan the hard drive and unmark them.
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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