How to Fix a Bad Hard Drive Sector

By Larry Amon

Bad sectors on a hard drive do not need to be a serious problem. In fact, fixing bad sectors on a drive is a very simple process that anyone can, and should, know how to do. But seeing bad sectors could be a sign of a more serious problem; therefore, checking for and fixing bad sectors should be done routinely.

Step 1

Go to the run prompt and type "chkdsk /R c:," where c is the letter of the drive on which you want to fix bad sectors. This will start the check disk program that will search your hard drive for bad sectors and fix them.

Step 2

Reboot your computer. If this is not a system disk, or a disk that is in use, the checkdisk program will run and fix any problems on the drive. If it is your main drive, or already in use, you may be asked to schedule a run on the next reboot. Accept this, if necessary, and reboot the computer.

Step 3

Allow the scan to occur on reboot, and it will fix any sectors it can. If a sector cannot be fixed, it will be marked as bad, and you will not need to do anything further. A sector marked as bad by the scan will be unable to be fixed, but bad sectors can be relatively small, and don't pose a serious problem. As long as there are only a few bad sectors, you shouldn't worry.

Step 4

Run the scan a second time. Sometimes sectors are missed or not handled properly, allowing a second scan will help to fix all bad sectors.

Step 5

Backup any information on the drive with bad sectors. If there are many bad sectors, there is a good chance the drive may be about to fail completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • This article is based on Windows Vista; older versions of Windows may be slightly different.

References & Resources