Bad sectors and longevity

Hey y’all,

I have to sell my MacBook, and while I’ve installed Linux Mint on another device, I think I’m over it. Haiku is just so much better. My problem is the hdd in the dell laptop has bad sectors and I have no ability to open the case(usual reasons) so how much life could I have with Haiku? So long as I’m disciplined with backups of certain docs, would I be okay in the short term.

I’ve got no budget for anything new, so I have to recycle a Windows 8 vintage laptop.

I’ve run Haiku on it before, and it’s lovely.

Am I crazy for considering this?

As all my hardware is at least a decade old. I have several HDDs with bad sectors (due to power outages, falls, and the like).

As long as those sectors are properly marked as bad, and that the damage is mostly localized (and not a general mechanical problem, I mean)… you should be fine. I actually do not own any HDD that doesn’t have at least one bad sector already :smiley:-

I recommend using the most excellent HDAT2 utility (BTW, seems there are new versions! time to update my custom “HirenCD” USB drive with it! :slight_smile:).

Running it in “Detect and Repair” mode (I usually go for the VERIFY/WRITE/VERIFY method as it is the fastest), letting it detect, and hopefully fix/mark the bad sectors… and running it a second time just to be sure… if the second run ends with no new found bad sectors… you might be lucky, and have an usable HDD for plenty of time.

At least you are keeping backups… I just YOLOed it all these decades :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: if after using HDAT2 (or similar) the HDD seems fine… why not multi-boot? you can have your cake and eat it after all (Linux + Haiku beta4 + Haiku nightly, for example).

Edit 2: if HDAT complains with “BUSY” or “MEDIA error” messages… the HDD might actually be kaput, and I would not trust it, ever. If all you see are “Bad sector” and then an OK because it was either fixed or marked as bad… my trust on that HDD would usually depend on “do bad sectors keep appearing out of the blue?” if yes… find another one. If they seemed to be one-time only type of event… you can have a bit more confidence on it (but… still backup what you can’t replace, of course).

Best of luck!

1 Like

Running off a usb drive works just fine for me for some devices. It may be an option for you.

1 Like

Thanks for the advice. I realized I can’t stand Linux anymore, so it’ll just be haiku.

1 Like

In my experience with HDDs once the first problems arise it can both go well for long or fail very suddenly.

Definitely prioritize backups and keep everything you can’t risk to loose on an external drive or such. But otherwise go for it :slight_smile:

I have not head a disk with bad sectors for a long time (I’ve had them totally fail with some regularity, however). But my experience years ago was that once a sector goes bad, the sectors nearby start to go bad too, and the drive eventually fails catastrophically. I recall having some success with creating an unused buffer around the bad sectors by partitioning such that those areas were never accessed, but I think this is tricky with modern tools, and ultimately the disks still died.


Thanks for all the help folks. I’ve decided to install it and just be vigilant about backing up data.

One day I would very much like to run it on an SSD though, but if I could just get the Dell laptop opened up, I would happily throw in another ide drive, of which I have several.

But yeah, thanks for all the attention on this.

I’m now daily driving Haiku.