How to Fix Bad Sectors on a Hard Disk

by C. Taylor

Bad sectors can crop up on a hard drive from excessive heat, physical abuse or simply extended use. Even new drives can have bad sectors. Windows 7's Check Disk utility searches and corrects for bad sectors. This correction simply bypasses the bad sector, so the system doesn't use it, but at the same time, data residing in a bad sector is patched and moved to a healthy area of the drive.

Click "Start" and select "Computer" to open Windows Explorer.

Right-click a drive letter and select "Properties."

Click the "Tools" tab and click "Check Now" in the Error-Checking section.

Check "Automatically Fix File System Errors" and "Scan for and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors." The latter selection is a more thorough but lengthier process.

Click "Start."

Tips

  • Do not use the drive while checking the disk, so wait until you don't need your computer for an extended period of time, such as right before bedtime.
  • If you request disk checking on a drive in use, such as the "C" drive, Windows will schedule the test for the next time you restart your computer.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images