I have on my hard drive 2 OSes: Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows Vista (I keep it just because of school). Everything was OK on both OSes, but one day on Ubuntu I was getting awkward noises from my notebooks' hard drive and then everything stopped and I couldn't do anything. On Windows everything was OK.

Every time I boot Ubuntu I can get 5 minutes normal run time, without problems. After that the hard drive sounds crazy and nothing works. I could run S.M.A.R.T tests from a older Ubuntu CD (10.04) from the GUI (Disk Utility, or something like that and from terminal). From the GUI, I got that the DISK FAILURE IS IMMINENT and I have ~700 bad blocks (or broken blocks, I had that test I while ago) on my HDD. From the terminal (I don't remember if it was fsck or a SMART test command) I got that the HDD will fail in under 24 hours.

Since then it passed 2-3 weeks. I've tried "badblocks" but after 10 hours it was still running and I had to stop it.

Now I have to use cygwin and other alternatives for my Linux apps on Windows. How can I separate the bad blocks from Ubuntu so it wouldn't use them? Please help.

3 Answers 3


BACKUP immediately. Your hard drive is failing, consider it done. Don't waste any time or your data may become unrecoverable. There is no way of compensating for that huge amount of failing sectors.

  • 2
    I can vouch for this. 700 is not low enough to shrug off, and not high enough to be an obvious false alarm.
    – nanofarad
    Sep 19, 2012 at 20:37
  • SMART relocates blocks for you as long as it's possible. Trust it when it says the disk is failing. Back it up, buy a new disk, copy your data to the new one, and put the old one aside. Sep 20, 2012 at 1:41

Also consider using Something like spinrite in case the drive does fail, I've used it in the past to recover photos off a drive that failed, don't just assume the data is lost... it may work.

Obviously no substitute for regular backups.


I had this problem once, I let the system fix the HDD with fsck, as I remember it will mark the bad blocks to not be used, may be you can make that check/fix automatic on every boot (and not wait for like 20 mounts to check), it is fast and may keep you more safe than without it, until you can replace the HDD...

Also, after that I just disabled the SMART from BIOS to not annoy me... Its strange the problem not happen on windows too, very strange... Btw, be aware that there is an application that lets you mount ext2 filesystem from windows, what may be handy.

  • 2
    Ignoring SMART warnings is a very bad thing to do. If the diagnostics of the hard drive tells you it is failing, secure your data and get it replaced a.s.a.p. Warranty applies to this, if still in warranty period.
    – gertvdijk
    Sep 19, 2012 at 21:14
  • 1
    @gertvdijk the point is: you already know it is failing, but you dont care, the stuff you have there has backup already, you got no money to spare, and will try to use it till it burn up, so, the SMART warnings and boot delay caused by it is utterly annoying :)
    – Aquarius
    Sep 20, 2012 at 14:08
  • In ~3-4 max 5 months I`m going to buy a new notebook, but until then I want to be able to use my current notebook. I want, somehow, to isolate the bad blocks.
    – Felix
    Sep 26, 2012 at 19:04
  • Do not fix the disk. Get an exact copy using dd, then do all fixing you want on the copy. You can even use alternative programs on. Do not worry about bad blocks. They can't be used, by definition, so it even doesn't make sense to isolate them, whatever that means. Sep 21, 2018 at 10:06

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