Western Digital (WDC) hard disks are not as automated as we would prefer when tracks become unstable and spare sectors have to be allocated.

  • Stop using the disk immediately and install a replacement.
  • USB 16GB or 32GB sticks are needed for recovery media.
  • If you have not made recovery media for your laptop, do it immediately.

Windows has the ability to mark clusters as bad but with WDC disks the errors can grow over time as the media ages. This necessitates having multiple disks for recovery purposes.

We have seen issues with 160GB to 320GB laptop disks made by Western Digital. We have seen problems with larger capacity disks as well.

Once the data is recovered, WDC Lifeguard can be used to erase the disk. This process will activate the spare sectors and the disk will eventually become useful. It can take anywhere from 2 hours to 48 hours to erase a disk depending on the amount of work the disk controller has to do. Reboot after its done then scan the disk to be sure its clean.

The reasing of disks is why multiple backup disks are needed. It is also the eason we have several machines so that one can be assigned a recovery job when disks become problematic.

We have a USB cable which is very handy with laptop machines. This can be used to recover files to a USB sticks. USB sticks are not large enough to be useful for backups and having a few of them provides some redundancy.