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A bad sector is a physical problem with the hard drive. Copying the file will give you clues to its status.

Is it possible to find out if a bad sector has been allocated to a file and the identity of the file?

In this excerpt from Answercast #11, I look at a way to check a file that seems to be on a bad sector and troubleshoot the hardware problem.

Find a bad sector

Sure, the easiest way to do that is to see if you can copy the file somewhere else.

By that I mean, just copy (if that's your file) to some other location; ideally, on some other hard drive.

If you get a "CRC" or "bad sector" during that read, during that copy, then you know that file has a bad sector in it. If you get no errors, then there are no errors in the file that was copied.

More often than not, you actually get a CRC error on a write, which causes the copy operation to fail.

But if you've got a file on disk and you suspect that it somehow is on top of a bad sector, it should become evident when you try and copy the file somewhere else.

Bad sectors are physical defects

One thing that is important to notice is that bad sectors do not travel with the file. Bad sectors are physical defects on the hard disk's surface. So if you manage to successfully copy the file to some other location or some other hard drive, then you know for certain that the bad sector can not have come with it.

If you start experiencing bad sectors on your new hard drive, that's a different problem unrelated to the bad sector that you apparently have on the first.

Next - How to I manually update Windows XP using IE6?

Article C5240 - April 23, 2012 « »

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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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