How to Fix Bad Sectors on a Hard Disk

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The minute your computer's hard disk starts to act flaky, make sure you have an up-to-date backup. Then you can do some simple diagnostics and repairs. Both Windows and Mac OS come with built-in hard-disk utility software that scans your hard disk for errors and attempts to fix them.

For Windows

  • Double-click on My Computer to open the My Computer window.

  • Select the disk that you want to diagnose and repair.

  • Choose Properties from the File menu. You should see the Properties window for the drive that you selected.

  • Choose the Tools tab.

  • Click the Check Now button under Error Checking Status.

  • Depending on your version of Windows, choose either "Thorough" or "Scan for and Attempt Recovery of Bad Sectors."

  • Click on Start.

Tips & Warnings

  • Third-party hard-disk utilities do a more thorough job of diagnosis and repair than the software that comes with Windows or Mac OS, but they work much better if you install them before you have a problem.
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