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A CRC error and CHKDSK failure are signs of a hard drive that is on its way out. Recovery and replacement is the way to go.

I followed the steps described in your article concerning how to fix a CRC error on a hard drive. I use then the utility CHKDSK/R, but the process is stuck on this for 48 hours: ten percent done, 27241 files of 50160 are done. Is there any problem with the utility or is this normal behavior?

In this excerpt from Answercast #50, I look at a machine exhibiting symptoms of hard drive failure.

CHKDSK freezes

Neither. It's neither normal nor is there necessarily a problem with the utility.

I really do think there's a problem with the hard drive.

In situations like this, the hard drive has apparently failed in such a way that CHKDSK can't make the progress that it needs to do. CHKDSK should take, I don't know, I'd say... less than a half hour; less than ten minutes on most drives.

48 hours is definitely a sign that there's something wrong.

Disk repair

If this were my hard disk, what I would do is run SpinRite on it.

SpinRite is one of those things that can sometimes recover damaged sectors: actual physical damage on the hard drive. It can set up the hard drive so that either:

  • That sector is fixed;

  • Or that sector is no longer used and is replaced by one of the backup sectors that hard drives actually come equipped with.

Now the problem with SpinRite, of course, is that it's $95. If SpinRite doesn't solve the problem, they do have a very good return policy.

Data recovery

There are occasionally issues with SpinRite running properly on SATA drives. But it's worth the effort because if there's data on that drive that you don't want to lose:

  • SpinRite may be your only way to get a copy of it that is cost effective.

  • The next solution to recovering data from a drive in this kind of situation starts costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

So it's a real quick and easy test to see if SpinRite might possibly solve the problem.

Get a new hard drive

If on the other hand, you've been backing up and there is nothing on this drive that you would lose, I'd really be tempted to just replace it.

There is clearly something wrong with the drive:

  • The CRC error that got you here was the first sign.

  • The fact that CHKDSK isn't completing is another sign.

If you can, I would seriously consider replacing the drive; reinstalling Windows, or restoring from a backup that you've taken, and moving on from there.

Article C5779 - September 6, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
chris faulkner
September 7, 2012 9:12 PM

Yes there is a problem with your drive, for a free appraisal download Hard Drive Regenerator, let it scan your drive for damage, see what it finds, it wont repair any errors unless you buy the program but at least you will know a little more.
I would also find your hard drive manufacturers web site and download their free diagnostic software, if report is bad then at the very least burn your pictures and documents on to a dvd.
Good luck.

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