Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am dual booting Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 8. Earlier today, after restarting due to some input issues, I started getting the message upon selecting Ubuntu from GRUB, "errors were found while checking the disk drive for /". I opted to ignore it, and Ubuntu loaded as normal. Upon checking the Disk Utility tool, I see the SMART status "Disk has a few bad sectors". When checking the specific information, I am given a warning for "Current Pending Sector Count". What does this mean? Should I allow an automated attempt to fix the issue? I've had further trouble caused by allowing automated fixes to run before because of conflicts with Windows 8 and UEFI, but I have no idea if there is any association between that and this issue. I can't imagine this is due to physical hard drive damage, as it is very new hardware. Thanks to anyone who can explain it.

share|improve this question
What do you mean "automated attempt"? And how many pending sectors are there? – psusi Oct 17 '13 at 18:40
On startup, I'm given the option to allow an automated fix, along with the options to ignore and continue or attempt a manual recovery. there is only one pending sector. – Sylan Oct 17 '13 at 20:32
Yes, fix the filesystem first, then check the smart status. – psusi Oct 17 '13 at 22:41
After allowing the automated filesystem fix to run on startup, the error no longer shows up upon trying to boot into Ubuntu. However, the smart status remains the same as before. I'm content with not having an error on startup, but should I be concerned of the presence of one bad sector? – Sylan Oct 18 '13 at 9:14
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Sometimes sudden power failure can result in one sector being reported as bad because it didn't get completely written. You can run sudo smartctl -t long /dev/sda to ask the drive to test itself. Check the status every once in a while with sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda and when it finds a bad sector, note the sector number, then do:

sudo dd iflag=direct if=/dev/sda count=1 skip=sector of=/dev/null

That should report an IO error, if not then something is wrong and you should not proceed.

sudo dd if=/dev/zero count=1 oflag=direct of=/dev/sda seek=sector

This will try to re-write that sector full of zeros. This should succeed and the SMART pending_sector count should drop by one. If the sector was physically damaged, then the reallocated_count will go up by one. Repeat the process until you have no more pending sectors and if you have no reallocated sectors either, then it was just sudden power loss, and the drive is fine. If you do have reallocated sectors, then then drive may be on its way out and you should replace it.

share|improve this answer

There are several duplicates of this question, such as:

Unfortunately, the answers vary. My own opinion is that, once bad sectors start showing up in a SMART test, the disk has become unreliable. I therefore recommend replacing it ASAP.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.