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Thread: SMART status - BAD?

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    Senior Member RoGuE|SaBeR's Avatar
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    SMART status - BAD?

    Ok im getting a bad feeling I'm going to have to replace my hard drive. SMART status BAD I'm pretty sure means there is something wrong with the drive but what it is I really wouldnt know.

    Can anyone shed any light on the subject?

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    Hopefully, my short memory serves me well, so I don't fall too far from the mark.

    Harddrives are not perfect. No harddrive is. Every harddrive comes out of the manufacturing process with some flaws on its platters. "But," you say, "no bad sectors show up when I run scandisk." True, but that's not how it always used to be.

    In the old days (1970s, 1980s? I wouldn't know. ), harddrives came with a list of addresses. Before shipping the drives out, the manufaturers tested them for bad sectors, listing the addresses of the sectors that failed the test on a sticker on the drive['s box?]. Why would they do that? In those days, you had to manually enter all the addresses into the BIOS (Could be wrong, could be some specific program, or the OS itself) so that the computer knew not to use those areas of the drive. Of course, the shorter the list of addresses, the more availible space on a specific drive. This resulted in those drives with the shortest lists being the most desirable.

    Then, someone somewhere had a really good idea. Instead of having the user do all the work of handling the bad sectors, they built this functionality into the electronics on the drive itself. That way, there was no need to print out lists, and have people enter it by hand. However, if the drive is marking sectors bad behind the scenes, the availible space becomes less. So two drives of the same 20MB model might come out having 19.964MB and 19.752MB of storage space respectively. Of course, this could prove confusing to less experienced users.

    For this reason, drives were given a small cache of space that you cannot [normally?] access. Any time the drive marks a sector as bad, it internally redirects its address to a sector in the cache. That way, all 20MB drives would have 20MB on the dot, and everybody would be happy.

    SMART (Self-Monitoring And Reporting Technology - lame name, yes, but at least its better than the scanner standard, TWAIN: Technology Without An Important Name) was designed to notify users that their drives were failing (Well. That's one of the reasons). One reason it will begin notifying is when the internal cache is full. From that point on, running scandisk will reveal the bad sectors. This doesn't necessarily mean the drive is failing - the bad sectors could be due to normal wear and tear. If you're get large amounts of bad sectors, however, it would be an indication a drive is really failing.

    Lastly, as a indication of how inaccurate SMART's "Drive is failing" warning is, my father had a 4GB Fujitsu that began making horrendous noises (Head clunking from side to side, while the drive was not spinning). Only after a few days did SMART begin warning that the drive "might" be failing.

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    I wasn't aware that SMART had anything to do with bad sectors, as i understood it it was related to the mechanical fitness of the drive ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    I could be wrong. x.x

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    SMART also stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology. I say also, because some sites list it as one, other sites as the other.

    A rather thorough description of what SMART does can be found at http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/...esSMART-c.html

    A shorter list covering aspects of SMART, as well as a few links to software that displays SMART data can be found at http://www.atlguide2000.com/hardware...t=view&aid=112

    Also, I think it would be prudent to say that, even though SMART is inaccurate, it's worth your time checking out what's going on with your drive.
    Last edited by eldren; 09-08-2003 at 09:11 PM.

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    nice links

    Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    I'm getting the guidence - "Backup and Replace"

    Informative BIOS I must say

    Thanks for the links eldren they were a great help.

    Gonna consider a new drive, this thing isnt exactly a flying machine anyway and a 80gb 8mb cachce 7200 rpm maxtor is looking pretty useful...

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    Keep your old harddrive around, stress-test it a bit, and see if you can't maybe use it as a backup drive (As in, one you take out of the system, don't power up. That way, it won't die as soon, if it is indeed dying). Unless it's under warranty.

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    It came in a Tiny PC...

    (Please don't kill me )

    So warrenty is outta the window considering the only parts the PC that remain from Tiny are the CPU and the Hard Drive

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