View Full Version : Does a Ghost image inherit the HDD's bad clusters?

15-07-2005, 12:10 AM
Hi all
Diagnostic tests on a problematic C:\ XP OS partition using Seagate's SeaTools revealed that my Seagate HDD has several so-called Critical Structure Errors (bad clusters?) on this partition, resulting in BSOD mayhem.

I'd previously Ghosted several images of my C:\ and I'm wondering if these Ghosts will contain any references to the Critical Structure Errors?

IOW, if I create a new OS partition on another part of my large HDD with Partition Magic, and restore a Ghost to it, will this also be screwed, or is the OS data on the Ghost image independent of any HDD faults?

Hope someone understands what I'm on about :)

As always, much appreciation!

15-07-2005, 12:21 AM
If the HDD errors had actually screwed the data in a file on the HDD, the Ghost image will also contain those errors. Its a pure copy of the data on the drive, afterall.

But if the data had been rewritten to avoid those bad clusters, then no.

In other words, Ghost will not transfer "bad clusters" but an exact copy of the data. If the data was affected by bad clusters and was corrupt, Ghost will transfer that corrupt data (where could it get an uncorrupted version of the data from, if the only version was bad?)

15-07-2005, 12:31 AM
see ghost switches for bad disks (http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/1998082609405925?Open&src=&docid=1998082612540625&nsf=ghost.nsf&view=docid&dtype=&prod=&ver=&osv=&osv_lvl=)

As I understand it, Ghost would have complained if it found bad sectors when copying data from a drive. So I assume your old Ghost images should be able to be restored. However, you might find some bad files.

You would just have to do a restore and see if any problems occur.

15-07-2005, 09:52 AM
My brother had this situation recently. He had to make the ghost image using the ignore all bad clusters switch which worked fine. As has been said if there is some file corruption it will copy them. If there isn't then no worries. Even if there, you can still restore the image onto a new drive and then clean up the file problems after.

15-07-2005, 10:00 AM
Yeah, you can clean it up later... Ideally though would it not be better to try and sort out the problems initally, and then make a 'pure' backup.

What is the best way for one to get arouna disk with bad sectors? Is there anything similar to the linux 'badram' that can be used, or is there a better way around it?

15-07-2005, 01:32 PM
Hi there!
Related issue. Can Gostimage include bootable WinXP? Can it make Image on DVD disk? One can found contradictive claims. Some say that such Win XP clone won't work

15-07-2005, 01:54 PM
Yeah, you can clean it up later... Ideally though would it not be better to try and sort out the problems initally, and then make a 'pure' backup.

Yes that would be ideal.
In my brothers case it wasn't possible to fix it first, the drive was disintegrating as he watched. The idea was to grab everything he could before it self-destructed. And it was fine, got it all running nicely now.

17-07-2005, 02:08 PM
Sorry for not getting back sooner. The HDD in question was not totally hosed but was giving error messages and BSODs that seemed to point elsewhere, so I didn't at first relate them to the HDD. Consequently, thanks to Microsoft's obscure BSOD messages, I spent several frustrating days and nights stuffing around without success.

I then bought a new video card, thinking my old Matrox G200 had gone to cyberheaven, but the faults remained. Finally, in desperation, I shelled out for a new HDD (surprising how much they've dropped in price since I bought the original drive). Voila! All the problems went away.

So thanks and appreciation to all for your help!

Graham L
17-07-2005, 05:15 PM
The very first "ghosting" or disk copy programmes had big problems. MFM drives came with a factory generated list of bad sectors, which you (to save time) had to enter to the formatting programme.

A fast copy of one disk to another was needed, so some bright people thought they could save a lot of time by just directly reading every sector of the source drive and directly writing to the destination one, rather than copying files (where the file system and the formatting exclude bad sectors).

Of course, this was fine if you had two identical drives, with no bad sectors, or with bad sectors in identical places. :D In the real world case, those conditions did not hold. Of course there were no error messages to alert victims. Until they hit the bad spots :(

17-07-2005, 06:37 PM
Interesting history Graham L. Some years ago I held in my hand an old IBM HDD with the case opened. It was massive, heavy, had a number of platters about 8mm thick and 300mm diameter and probably held about 5 MB of data. I remember thinking how beautifully engineered it was - built to last :)

With data storage on the surface of molecules on the horizon it will redefine the words "small hard drive". And that will only be the tip of the iceberg, since the smaller data storage gets, the larger the capacity will get. Moving HDD parts will, thankfully, be history.