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Chris L.
Chris L., Support Specialist
Category: Computer Hardware
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Is "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" Windows 7

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Is "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" Windows 7 utility able to check an empty pre-formatted brand new external hard drive for existence of bad sectors on it?

I did a scan which took about 7 hours on my 2TB drive and it was in deed examining free clusters. At the end of the procedure, it generated a log stating that there was no problems with a drive and indicated how many clusters it has examined among other things.

So I want to ask someone who has actually used that "error checking" utility on Windows 7 found under Tools tab before to make sure that it actually performed a thorough check for bad sectors on my new external hard drive or if that utility only checks for bad sectors in the area where data is already present and it merely did a cluster count of an empty drive for me this time around.

Secondly, as I did this procedure on mu WD Elements external hard drive just for my peace of mind so that I know that it wasn't defective out of the box. I wanted to know whether it is overall a good idea to perform this type of a test on a brand new drive just once prior to the transfer of data to it or such a procedure is deemed too stressful for a hard drive and will most likely reduce its life expectancy.
Hello and thank you for using Just Answer.

As long as the drive is formatted Check Disk will check the whole drive regardless of it data has been written on it.

Check Disk one run from the command line has more options. Here is a great article on the uses of check disk:

As far as running check disk on a new drive out of the box, I would say it is unnecessary although I don't think it would hurt but of course with any drive use you are causing some additional "ware and tare" . You know some drives are defective out of the box and I have had it happen before. But it is best to just use the new drive and not troubleshoot anything until you have a reason to. It is like the old saying if "if it aint broke, don't fix it"
If it is a new external for example copy your data over a little at a time always keeping a backup and see how the drive performs. Believe me you will know when the drive is not working correctly. Many times when a drive is going bad there will be signs before the drive actually dies. The best practice is to always keep good back ups. If you need a good automated back up program that is free I suggest Fbackup

Honestly I wouldn't use check disk at any time unless I was having a specific problem with the drive. If windows cannot read the drive or if a primary drive will no longer boot, things like that.

Usually when a drive is bad or is going bad you will already know or suspect it and that is when you would run check disk. Here is more info on hard drive failure:

I hope this answers your question. If you need clarification of anything please click "reply to expert"

When you are satisfied please click accept.

Thank You and Happy Holidays
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your prompt and informative answer!


Just to confirm, you're saying that according to the results of my test done the way I have described it, my new drive does not have any bad sectors, right?


Thanks for your backup suggestion, speaking of backup software, I'm not comfortable with trusting any backup software that stores backed up files in its proprietary format that cannot be even viewed on an external drive on a computer that doesn't have their software installed.


I've been looking for an incremental back up solution preferably with file versioning feature that will copy new and modified file only to an external hard drive and found that it only possible with file synchronization software like GoodSync.


Are you aware of any backup software that meets my criteria or any reliable Sync software with back up feature that you have personally used or know someone who has used it an was extremely happy with.


If you're familiar with GoodSync, is there anything that is even better based on your personal experience, not just some comparison charts found online as I've seen plenty of those in my 3-day thorough research. That is why I wanted to ask for a recommendation based on a personal experience.


By the way, I'm currently torn between the following few products and perhaps, you'll be kind enough to let me know which one will be the most reliable one for my file back up needs:








Super Flexible File Synchronizer

I really appreciate you going the extra mile and I promise to accept your answer, once you kindly reply to this follow up question.


Yes I am saying that it sounds to me that your hard drive is good.

Now for backup, In my office we have a very expensive back up solution:
This thing does it all. I have an exact backup of every file and can roll back to a previous version within an hour if I need to, stored locally on the device as well as offline. It also creates an image of my server and in the event the server dies I can boot a virtual version of the server from this box and work as normal.

This is not really for home use but I bring it up because awhile back I had an issue with an SBS 2003 server which was preventing me from running back ups to the above.

What I did until I could get the server back in working condition was use Fbackup. This has the option to backup up the files as a zip. So I could just unzip the back up and be all set no back up format necessary. This worked well for the organizations files but does not help for problems with the operating system or something like that.

Now at home I do not really have a backup policy that I use. I simply have 2 500GB external drives and on those drive I keep all of my data such as pictures, music, etc and I only use my C: drive for the operating system and programs. This way if something happens with windows or my primary hard drive I can always get a new drive re-install windows and be up and running. This is better for me then taking measures to be able to restore windows from complete hardware failure.

If you want to be able to restore the computer 100% as it was then you are going to want a program that takes an image. That way if say your hard drive does fail you can simply install a new drive and copy the image onto it.

I have not used any of the above backups you mentioned allthough goodsync looks pretty good. It sounds me like you would want something similiar to apples time machine that just auto copies everything file in it's original format.

This one I am interested in

It may be a bit much for home use but if you want offisite backup it could be good. The issue you may face with that or any offsite backup is it is going to slow your internet connection depending on what kind of upload speed you have. Not sure if it has a feature to throttle the upload speed.

I use offise back up at the office and during business hours it is uploading back ups at 150Kbps which is slow but I do not want the people who work here to yell at me about the connection being to slow. So you could do something like that.

I think that your choices above look good and Goodsync seems like it will do what you want it to. Another thing I just noticed about goodsync is it works with amazon S3 which is a great place to affordably store data off site. I think I may personally get goodsync it is really pretty affordable.

If you need any further help or want to talk more please let me know.

Thank You
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