What is a “Bad Sector” and How Can it Lead to Data Loss?

Computer hard drives can develop bad sectors. Any data stored in a sector that is bad can be temporarily lost as it will be marked either unreadable or missing. To recover the data in a bad sector, you need to identify whether it was caused by physical or logical damage.

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Sometimes a computer hard drive can develop bad sectors. These bad sectors are simply sectors on your drive which won’t respond to request to read or write the data stored within.

Bad sectors are part of the regular wear and tear that occurs when using a drive. A few bad sectors are not anything to worry about, but too many bad sectors can cause problems including data loss.

What are the types of bad sectors?

There are two types of bad sectors and it’s important to identify what type is plaguing your hard drive before you can try to fix it.

1. Physical

If you have a physical bad sector, this means that your hard drive itself is physically damaged. Commonly, this means that there is something wrong with the drive head, maybe it is misaligned or damaged. It can also occur if your drive is overheating or if there was a power surge that damaged the circuit board.

What to do

Because this type of bad sector is caused by hardware damage, it is difficult to fix without opening up your computer. This means that you need to consult with a data recovery specialist. You will need to bring your hard drive to them and pay them to examine and fix your hard drive.

Can I prevent it?

Some types of physical damage can be avoided by being careful about how you handle your computer. Keeping it from getting dirty or overheated can help. Making sure that you avoid placing your computer in scenarios where it could drop or fall from a height or doused with a large amount of liquid, can help.

You can’t however, avoid your hard drive eventually wearing out, at which point it will really develop bad sectors before it finally fails outright. Most hard drives, if handled carefully, will last for about 5 years before they begin to fail but they will fail.

While you can’t prevent physical damage to your hard drive forever, you can protect yourself from data loss by making sure that you have good backup software. DataNumen Backup can make regular copies of your important files and folders to ensure that even if your hard drive fails, you won’t lose all your data permanently.

2. Logical

These are bad sectors that happened because of software problems. Logical bad sectors commonly occur if your computer shut down suddenly in the middle of a program writing data into the sector. When this happens, the data in that sector could be marked as “bad” or missing because it can’t be read properly. Viruses and malware can also cause these types of bad sectors to occur.

What to do

If you have a good data recovery software installed on your computer, you are in luck. Bad sectors caused by logical failures can be solved by quickly running data recovery software. A good data recovery program to have is DataNumen Office Repair, it can recover files from all Microsoft Office applications.

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