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Hard Drive Sector Repair Tool available in ThinkPad built-in diagnostics

Symptom

A Hard Drive Sector Repair Tool is now available as part of the new ThinkPad built-in diagnostics.

Affected configuration

The above symptom is associated with, but not limited to, the following systems:

  • ThinkPad Edge E430, E530, E535
  • ThinkPad L430, L530
  • ThinkPad T430, T430s, T530
  • ThinkPad W530, X230, X230 Tablet
Applies to
  • All Operating Systems
Additional Information

If a hard drive fails diagnostics, it may not be physically bad. Hard drive failures typically fall into two categories:

  1. Physical failure caused by a defect or handling.
  2. Sector errors caused by a bad or incomplete writes to the drive due to a system crash, bluescreen, or unexpected power loss, etc. These types of sector errors are the most common forms of drive failure and are often repairable without loss of data.

For any given sector of a hard drive, the data and CRC (Cyclical Redundancy Check) number, which is a form of error correction, must match. If the hard drive cannot complete a write operation due to a bluescreen, for example, the CRC numbers and data for some sectors may become mismatched. This can prevent the drive from booting, prevent access to data, and cause the drive to fail diagnostics. By using an appropriate tool, these sectors can be rewritten with the data and a new, valid CRC number that may allow normal access to the drive; diagnostics may also pass after a repair operation.

 

Solution

In new ThinkPads, diagnostics have been loaded into ROM (Read Only Memory) and can be accessed at boot time. These diagnostics contain a Bad Sector Recovery Tool that can scan the entire drive for bad sectors and attempt to correct them.

To access these diagnostics, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn on the computer.
  2. When the ThinkPad logo is displayed, press the F10 key to load the diagnostics. Another option is when the ThinkPad logo is displayed, the user should repeatedly press and release the F12 key. When the Boot Menu window opens, release the F12 key.
  3. Press the Tab key to switch to the Application Menu window.
  4. Use the arrow keys to select Lenovo Diagnostics and then press Enter. The main screen of the diagnostic program is displayed.

In the Tool section, the Recover Bad Sectors Tool is displayed. Once this is selected, there are two options to choose:

  1. "Check bad sectors" - This will scan the entire drive and display an alert if any bad sectors are found. It will not make any changes to the drive.
  2. "Check and Recover bad sectors" - This will scan the entire drive and will attempt to repair any bad sectors found. This will make changes to the drive. If possible, create a backup of important files.

If repairs are successful, the drive can still be used. To verify that the drive is operational, run the Quick Storage Device Test from the Tests menu at the diagnostics main screen. If repairs were not successful, the drive should no longer be used and the user should contact support for a drive replacement.

 

Limitation

Not all sector errors are repairable, especially in situations where the hard drive's read/write head has made physical contact with the drive's platter. In some cases, the repair may be successful but the drive will not boot or data may not be accessible. This can happen when the existing data was too corrupted to recover, even though the sector error has been fixed. If diagnostics pass, the drive can be reloaded either from a backup or recovery media. Before running any diagnostic tool on a suspected bad hard drive, attempt to back up the drive or critical files. The Bad Sector Repair Tool is not a replacement for professional data recovery services and Lenovo cannot guarantee that a successful repair will make a drive bootable and/or recover lost data.


  • Alias ID: SF12-T0054
  • Document ID: HT074865
  • Last Updated :17/06/2014
  • (c) 2014 Lenovo