Might have just screwed up my drive with Hard Disk Sentinel'

Any ideas, thoughts - not necessary related to Hard Disk Sentinel.
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Joined: 2021.04.22. 17:25

Might have just screwed up my drive with Hard Disk Sentinel'

Post by HiroyuYulin »

Not sure if this is the right place to ask this but please do redirect me to the appropriate subreddit if it isn't. So, I was transferring files over from my laptop to my 4TB Western Digital Passport when I realized that certain folders wouldn't display it's contents properly ensue panicking I launched Hard Disk Sentinel to find out what the issue was and it said that I had weak sectors.

Upon this AMAZING discovery that my HDD was going to die, I did a quick google search and found out that Hard Disk Sentinel does surface tests which could fix my issues. Here's where all the issues start, the moment I launched the surface test and selected what test I wanted to do it immediately crashed whilst leaving my HDD at 100% usage. Windows prompted me to close the test and I clicked yes thinking it will just stop everything but nope it kept my external HDD at 100% usage and it left my external HDD totally bricked as it's now just stuck on "local disk" clicking on it does absolutely jack-shit and I can't even reformat it due to me lacking sufficient rights.

Then I decided to do a chkdsk /f test without knowing it was gonna take 1 gazillion years. So, my question to you all is there any way that I can get this data back without using chkdsk (that's even if it actually works) or is there any other way I can solve my problem. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Might have just screwed up my drive with Hard Disk Senti

Post by hdsentinel »

Thanks for your message.
Sorry to hear that your disk drive had problems and the data may become unreadable - generally this is _exactly_ what we want to avoid in all possible ways. But I can confirm that (of course) absolutely not "screwed up" the drive.

Yes, upon weak / pending sectors detected and displayed, Hard Disk Sentinel showed a page in the text description which gives lots of information about the situation:

https://www.hdsentinel.com/hard_disk_ca ... ectors.php

Yes, this page describes that there are several tests which designed to detect/reveal further, currently un-detected problems and fix them, improve the situation:
- Disk menu -> Surface test -> Disk Repair (which attempts to repair by keeping all data, usually useful when the disk has only FEW problems)
- Disk menu -> Surface test -> Reinitialize Disk Surface (which is the last chance the repair all issues and stabilize the hard disk - but would perform a complete erase. May be required only in the case when there are lots of problems and/or they detected too late).

And this page describes too that chkdsk is the WORST solution, as it does not fix problems at all (even if we expect that).

Generally when any software attempt to read/write any sector (or in this case when Hard Disk Sentinel attempted to diagnose/repair the sector) it is completely normal and expected that the hard disk is not responding during processing the sector.
Then the software needs to wait for the response. Stopping, "killing" or similar does not help at all but usually makes things even worse.

During processing of the sector, yes, the hard disk seems 100% usage (it has no "time" to process commands). It is completely normal and expected behaviour until the sector (or many sectors) processed by the hard disk drive itself. Hard Disk Sentinel attempted to trigger the hard disk to fix/stabilize (and did the job as should if this started).

This is why you see similar in chkdsk too (and this is why you may see "it takes years": when chkdsk attempted to read the disk, 100% same happened
- except that (even if sounds surprising) chkdsk does not FIX the problems, just attempts to hide them (see the above page for details). You may cancel that too (especially if you cancelled Hard Disk Sentinel test) as there is no reason to use it in this case ....

Generally it is very common that external 2.5" hard disks develop weak sectors, especially large capacity hard disks (2 TB and above) as they may not receive enough power for proper operation. USB connections (eg. front panel USB slots) or just a misaligned USB cable/connection can very easily create 1000's of weak sectors or even more.

Not sure which test you used in Hard Disk Sentinel (I assume the Disk menu -> Surface test -> Disk Repair). When started, it attempted to really fix/stabilize problems, but if you stopped/closed, then it will not able to perform its task of course. It did NOT make things worse of course, exactly the opposite: the test attempted to reveal and stabilize the problems.
How long it would take? Nobody knows. Yes, may take many days or even more depending on the amount of weak/pending sectors.

But if there is an issue with the USB cable/connection, then you may experience even more problems (and even after the repair could complete).

Without knowing the actual number of problems and health, hard to say anything for sure, but I expect that your hard disk may have a really bad status. Typical case when problems detected/reported too late...

Personally I'd try to reconnect the hard disk drive to a rear (back panel) USB 3.0 slot and/or to an USB 3.0 hub which provides external power supply to ensure enough power and proper operation which is a MUST for any external storage device (external hard disk or even external SSD).

Then I'd try the Disk menu -> Surface test -> Disk Repair test first. In the "best" case it would require many hours but if your hard disk has problems, it may be even more. Ideally you will see decrease of the weak/pending sectors.

If the amount of such sectors increase (or already very high), then it means that the hard disk is not stable and you may expect more issues. Then you can try to use Disk menu -> Surface test -> Reinitialise Disk Surface test (or the Write test as sometimes it is enough and faster). This will clear the data (so use only after backup) but attempts to repair the hard disk drive to make it usable again (if still possible). Simpler/less effective solutions usually (incorrectly) called as "low-level-format" elsewhere.

The biggest problem is that you installed Hard Disk Sentinel too late and expected that a major disk problem could be fixed by a single click.
I'm afraid this approach is NOT TRUE. When you see / experience that files/folders can't be read, then it is usually too late (and all "panic" attempts to quickly fix ALWAYS fail regardless of what tools/methods you try).
If you'd have Hard Disk Sentinel installed previously (while things are perfect) - then it could detect the problems, report issues much sooner and then you could have better chances to repair and reduce possible damaged/lost data.

Problems may remain unnoticed for very long time (even months/years), see: https://www.hdsentinel.com/hard_disk_ca ... ectors.php
So it is important to continuously monitor and perform the tests (even on a new drive), see: https://www.hdsentinel.com/faq.php#tests
exactly to reveal and stabilize issues long before they could cause unreadable/damaged/corrupted/lost files.

Similarly that you install an antivirus software _before_ infection, not when the system is already infected with 100's of malware/virus/trojan and the system crashes all the time....

If you use Report menu -> Send test report to developer option, I can check the actual hard disk status and this may give some thoughts both about what happened - and how to improve the usability, stability of the hard disk drive in general.
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