Question Can a faulty harddisk's problems be limited to only one partition of that harddisk?

Luulune

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Aug 25, 2016
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My husband's hdd (which turned out to be a partition of a hdd) showed signs of having issues, which I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) were hardware related. I problems were such that I was about to bin the hdd and buy a new one. To summarize, his incredibly slow pc issues (including an access time of over 15 minutes to just see the contents of that partition), were resolved after a format (which took a full day, because doing anything on that partition was EXCEEDINGLY SLOW and a lengthy process) and disk repair of that partition, though it lost 50% of its capacity in the process. The problems were resolved afterwards. I was under the impression that his pc had 2-3 HDDS, and that this faulty drive was one entire HDD, and not a partition of one. I was wrong, as today, as I was de-dusting his pc, I found that he has only 1 single HDD, which then has been partitioned. All the other partitions are working just fine. His Windows is installed on an SSD.

So now I'm confused, hence the question. Can a faulty harddisk's problems be limited to only one partition of that harddisk?
 
Last edited:

Satan-IR

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Apr 18, 2014
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Run CrystalDiskInfo or HD Sentinel to check the SMART data of the HDD and to make sure if it has bad sectors or reallocated sectors.

If there are bad sectors they might start to increase rapidly and progressively. I agree with Supahos so backup any important data/files and replace the drive, especially if those utilities or similar ones show problems with the drive and I think they will.

A partition should not take a day to format and if losing 50% of capacity is due to bad/reallocated sectors (very likely) would mean the drive is on its last legs.
 

Luulune

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Aug 25, 2016
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Hello!

Thank you for your replies. All data has already been backed up. Thank you for your concern. We will end up replacing the harddisk.

Now I'm looking to understand better why and how this works... If you guys would help me. My technical English is not fantastic, so bear with me as I try to explain.

Is it possible that only one partition of a drive shows signs of a technical defect?

How does that work? I always kind of assumed that partitions are, simply put, artificial divisions of your drives, though I also understand this artificial divide is "stored" on the drive itself, allowing for example several OS's to run or to use different formats for each partition. However, within my limited knowledge I simply fail to understand how a disk's technical defect can be limited to (for now, I know that this won't last, sadly) only 1 partition.

  • Is that "luck", as it were, for which parts of the disk are not working correctly and those happen to be the ones used by that partition?
  • Could, in an alternate universe, this mean that the problems shown in this partition have happened across several partitions at the same time?
I'm looking to learn!

Thank you guys for your time.
 
A Partition is actually a continuous section of your HD. Lets assume your HD has a total tracks capacity of 1,000. Partition 1 can be track 1-500, and partition 2 can be 501-1000.

How can a partition get bad not other? Simple example a dust particle settled on partition 1 and caused the RW head to crash there and made a small microscopic pit on that spot on the platter. Partition 2 is not affected. However the crash made had generated more bits of particles that are now floating around and may cause damage elsewhere in the future, plus the RW head itself may not be ridding on that perfect cushion of air when everything was calibrated precisely, making it susceptible to mis-alignment in the future.

HDs are finely calibrated mechanisms, once it goes, it tend to get worse, and not worth the risk to you data and time, since they are so dirt cheap these days.
 

Luulune

Commendable
Aug 25, 2016
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Thank you very much for your explanation, I guess I always imagined the track partition to not be so neat.

As a final question, and just to re-emphasize that yes we're replacing the hd, no worries - but theoretically, can a malfunctioning hd also affect the rest of the pc? Maybe electricity wise? I ask this because, many years ago, in windows 98 days, our hd went bad too, with similar symptoms as now, and when we got a replacing hd, it worked fine for 1 month and then that hd too started malfunctioning. In the end we used knoppix for 6 months before buying a new pc.

In that scenario, what could have been the theoretical problem, the source, to cause the damage to the first and then to the second hd?
 

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