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Thanks to Igor for spending an hour on MSN helping me analyzing the reason of the poor performances of laptop.

He told me about a thing I was not aware of: the S.M.A.R.T. attributes for an hard disk. These attributes are stored inside the disk controller and should contain information useful to predict failures.

One of the most critical attribute is the "Reallocated Sectors Count":

Count of reallocated sectors. When the hard drive finds a read/write/verification error, it marks this sector as "reallocated" and transfers data to a special reserved area (spare area). This process is also known as remapping and "reallocated" sectors are called remaps. This is why, on modern hard disks, "bad blocks" cannot be found while testing the surface — all bad blocks are hidden in reallocated sectors. However, the more sectors that are reallocated, the more read/write speed will decrease.

Source: Known S.M.A.R.T. attributes

There are a few diagnostic tools that are able to read that attributes, and I tried the following one:

  • SpeedFan: monitors fan speed and temperatures, and read SMART information as well
  • HD Tune: this is a diagnostic tool for Hard Disk. Compute disk speed, surface damage, and read the SMART tags.

They both warned me that my HDD has 548 reallocated sectors (and usually disks have from 256 up to 1024 spare sectors), so I might want to change my disk before it's too late.

And that is reason for the poor performances of my disk... so I finally decided to buy a new 2.5" HDD, and replace mine, and wait a few months before buying the MacBook. So next weekend is reinstallation day, again.

posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 7:35 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: My HDD is going to die soon, now I've the proof

Left by LorenzoC at 4/12/2007 8:51 PM

There are several Diagnostic & Performance tools for HD that can show you the SMART status and also predict the HD life span.
Some stay in background and rise an alert when the SMART gets worrying.

But...
If I remember well the Spinrite software has the ability to work "under" the SMART and at level 5 it can also try to revive defective sectors.
I am not really sure of the details but once my desktop HD failed and SMART told me it was near to death, I ran Spinrite and it was more 2 years ago now no other problems so far.
Probably It is not the most healthy HD but It works.

Just in case you get a complete failure before the new HD arrives.

# Re: My HDD is going to die soon, now I've the proof

Left by Igor Antonacci at 4/12/2007 8:56 PM

Hi Simone,
It was my pleasure to help you to "revive" your notebook.

Just a note: be sure that your notebook will support such a "big" new HD.

Most Notebook BIOS have restrictions on the size of HD he can recognize...read the documentation before buying an almost-useless piece of metal...

Igor A.

# Developing Vista Sidebar Gadgets presentation in Venice

Left by CodeClimber at 9/13/2007 4:51 PM

Developing Vista Sidebar Gadgets presentation in Venice

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