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Date:      Mon, 16 Nov 2009 01:26:55 +0100
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        "Ronald F. Guilmette" <>
Subject:   Re: Bad Blocks... Should I RMA?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 16:06:55 -0800, "Ronald F. Guilmette" <> wrote:
> So, the question is, should I:
> 	1)  RMA the drive back to Seagate?


> 	2)  Somehow try to lock-out the bad sector(s)? (If so, how?)
> [...]
> If it was failing all over the place (and on multiple blocks), then yea,
> sure, I'd RMA it back to Seagate in a heartbeat.  But heck!  It's only one
> sector.  And what's one sector between friends?

If there's already error messaging to the OS, then the drive's
firmware has noticed that it can't compensate errors anymore.
This means: Probably there isn't only one bad sector - there
are lots of them. (The drive uses spare sectors to move data
to them when a sector in use gets bad.)

Backup all your important data and get rid of this drive, this
will save you possibly upcoming trouble.

> Before posting this, I googled around a bit for the crrent Accepted Wisdom
> regarding such sitiations.  Most seems to say that bad blocks (even one?)
> are an early warning of impending doom (for the drive), and suggest trashing
> or RMA'ing the drive.  I just sorta wanted to know if folks here would agree
> or disagree with that.

>From my knowledge and experience, this is correct.

> One thing concerns me about the thought of RMA'ing the drive back... The
> last time I RMA'd a drive (years ago & a different brand) I got back as a
> replacement a ``refurb'' drive.  Hummm.  If I RMA this drive, it is possible
> that Seagate would replace it with a refurb whose remaining life may perhaps
> prove to be even less than the drive I am RMA'ing?  Do Seagate RMA drive
> replacements come with fresh platters?

There's always smartctl (from port smartmontools) to do some checking
on the drive you get back.

> P.S.  If I _do_ end up RMA'ing the thing back, do I need to worry about
> scrubing the drive squeaky clean first... you know... using one of these
> multiple write-over progs (like `wipe') if I am paranoid... as I am...
> about the possibility of old credit card numbers lying around in unallocated
> sectors on the drive?  (The drive is empty _now_, but earlier it was in
> serious/heavy use.)

You could first mount all the partitions (from a live CD or DVD)
of the disk and then to the magical "remark read-file" command
(rm -rf /), and afterwards running dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ad0
bs=1m for a while. Check that ad0 really is the drive you want
to clean, or else. :-)

> I guess what I'm asking is:  Do Segate and the other manufacturers care
> enough about their customer's privacy to securely wipe old drives/platters
> that come in to them for RMA?  Or do I need to worry 'bout that for my own
> self?

I've got no experience with how Seagate treats his customers.
To be sure, at least clean your disk a bit as mentioned above,
because that's for YOUR security. If Seagate is "intelligent"
enough to send you a "new" drive back with a FAT or NTFS file
system on it... you'll delete it anyway.

Help the manufacturer - help you. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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