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I'm rewriting a recent post that I just deleted due to an incorrect approach to the issue.

I had some problems with another OS and deleted all partitions. The disk is comprised entirely of unallocated space, unpartitioned, blank. Now booting Ubuntu Budgie via live USB, it immediately says through a notification that "a hard disk is likely to fail soon".

Now, is there any method to try and repair it? I only count with a 8GB flash drive. Boot is fine, nothing wrong. The laptop is fine. I have no reason to think HDD is damaged besides the fact that there were approximately 40 threats found in that OS via an antivirus scan.

I got an Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 live USB and tested it prior to installation. Ran a SMART test through Drives utility and got this:

SMART test
SMART test

Shown in Drives utility
Disks utility

Now I'm sure you are going to say it's pretty dead with that "Reallocated Sector Count" at 15712 which is more than 300x the "worst" case, if the test was done properly and I'm interpreting it with common sense. However, other people get around 100-200 Sectors instead of 15000. This is pretty much solved. I'm curious however to understand how could such an astronomical value develop in 9 months of usage full time. There is another drive with years of usage in my house.

Now I'm going to replace it with another one from a laptop around the house. Meanwhile the Ubuntu live USB is the only way to at least browse the internet.

  • Once you have used up all your spare sectors it's quite easy to get to 15000 in 9 months. If you write just one log file every minute for 9 months, that's 380,000 writes! It's also possible that there's a bit of bad memory in the firmware chip, but that is much much less likely since it would more likely just stop responding. 15000 is pretty realistic if you haven't been checking. Tell the smartmontools deamon to send you an email next time. :-) – tu-Reinstate Monica-dor duh Oct 8 '18 at 10:57
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"a hard disk is likely to fail soon"

This is a message from SMART, which is a firmware system in your hard disk (or SSD) to detect when certain conditions occur, such as an excess of reallocation events, excessive G-forces, temperature, etc. etc. etc. that are good indicators that your disk is going to fail sometime soon. It may be working perfectly now, but you cannot see what's going on under the bonnet without using a tool to interact with the firmware called smartctl.

If you want to see why you are getting that warning, run the smartctl tool on the drive, smartctl -a /dev/mydisk. You'll get 50+ lines of signals that have a minimum, maximum, and actual outputs that are based on what the manufacturer decided it could report on.

Now, it's distinctly possible that the drive is not going to get worse, but these are signals the manufacturer decided were important indicators of drive failure.

Short of rewriting the firmware to get rid of the warning*, you cannot "repair" this situation.

I would take heed of the warning and find another disk.

*which would require a tool produced by the manufacturer, which is rare and dangerous

| improve this answer | |
  • Yeah, that was what I started to think 15 when I learned the very basics of SMART testing. I'll upload a screenshot. – Daniel Alejandro Cárdenas Oct 8 '18 at 10:30

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