Bad block

I have 2 PCs giving me the folowing message
The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.

I know it’s a dumb question, but should I replace the drive?

If it’s happening consistently, I would replace the drive yes. If it happened once, run a chkdsk if it’s a mechanical drive and assess the results. If it’s a one and done thing, probably move on, but I would def keep an eye on it. Any more bad blocks and I’d replace it.

1 Like

That’s basically what I thought. It’s happened twice in about 6 months.

I would quote the customer to replace the drive the first time \Device\Harddisk0\DR0 is reported as having a bad block.

I get these now and then, and I have run chkdsk, CrystalDiskInfo and even a full sector-by-sector test and found 0 issues with the drive. In my case, it is wrong much more often than right. I think we have only replaced 1 drive in the last 2 years due to that particular alert. I do have a CrystalDiskInfo script that runs daily to checks drives, and I have found many other failing drives using that script. Syncro’s alert is just not very trustworthy, at least in my experience.

I typically just keep an eye on it. If it’s a one-off or two-off, I don’t worry about it. If I see a pattern develop, I notify the client as to the issue, presenting them with options, etc.
I’ve sold a few cloud backup plans to some break-fix clients as a result.

1 Like

For what it’s worth, I had this happen and I didn’t act on it and a month later the drive failed. I suppose results could vary though but in my experience, replace the drive quickly.

1 Like

Not a dumb question, perfectly reasonable.

It’s hard to give a thoughtful recommendation without more information though. Here are some things to take into consideration in order to make the best recommendation to your client.

Are these client-owned PCs or MSP-provided PCs?
Is it a spinner or SSD?
How big is the drive? If it’s only 500GB or 1TB, a quick swap might be the cheapest and best solution. If it’s a larger drive with lots of data then my next question would be:
How old is the PC? if it’s an older PC and near replacement age, you might want to recommend a new system to your client. Why have them spend money on time and materials on replacing a HD on an older machine that might have low RAM and maybe runs slow and might die soon anyway? This brings up the next question:
How cheap is your client? Are they willing to replace an older system or are they really cheap and want to hold on to it for as long as humanly possible no matter how slow it gets?

Also, as someone else mentioned, I would only use Syncro as a flag for a potential failing drive. I would use something like CrystalDiskInfo and run a SMART test and see if any values are outside the normal threshold. This could help tell you if the drive is pre-failure and eventually going to fail.

Great addition! These are client owned PCs. He definitely wants to ride them until the wheels fall off lol The pc specs wise is in good shape. This is the second time it’s happened in about 6-8 months. 1st time he wanted to just ride it out and see what happens. I think he thinks I’m just trying to upsell him a drive lol. He’s a good guy . I’ve at least talked him into buying an external and doing a backup of the system.

We also test the speed of the drive as well with the other checks.

I warn the user I see the hard drive is starting to fail. I tell them this is early stage where we can replace the drive before it becomes a problem. Now, I do say it can be hours or even years before it might fail - but its going to fail and once it does its going to either be impossible or harder to pull that data. I try to make sure they at least get some backup going even if they don’t want to replace it that soon. If they don’t take it at heart - then I just let it go. Mark it down in their account and move on.

Had at least a few cases they didn’t and 1/3 went out bad and the customers were awestruck they couldnt get their data and I had to point them over to a data recover service (cost them way more than if we had just done the backup or clone).

Of course we do take the age of the computer as part of the repair. Anything older than 5 years we normally at least request a new machine or do the backup over just replacing unless other wise requested.

I remember telling a customer this once. They choose not to fix the issue and took it back. Wasnt till next week they came back in, telling me their computer isnt booting anymore so we open it up. Sure enough, their drive was dead. With the customer right there, we show them and they got a bit upset with themselves they didnt get it fix then:)

If I am not sure of a drive I will install Hard Disk Sentinel and I can usually get enough information within the trial period to know if I am going to replace it or not. It can give you an estimate on remaining life as well as tell you how many sectors are consistently bad vs just a momentary issue. Also has the drive power on time stats and if given some time will have an average temperature graph. It recently saved me on some used sas drives that were sold as new.

Yes. The key piece of information here is the “DR0”, which means that it’s Drive 0, which is the OS system drive. Every time we’ve seen this the computer hard drive was near failure, often there were NTFD error events in Event Viewer, etc. It’s so much nicer to jump on the issue and clone to a new drive before the drive starts failing. Customers are impressed too when you preemptively take care of a failing piece of hardware.

Was the system under heavy load at the same time it happened? I always check to see if a virus scan was running or WinUpdates running. I then cross reference to system specs (ram, HDD or SSD, CPU gen #/year), install date of OS, other tickets tagged to asset, and age of machine.

Replace the drive, much easier to image the computer before the drive fails. Reinstalling and setting up will take far more time. Quote the client drive replace vs rebuilding system and data recovery after drive failure. I think it will help them see proactive is better.

Every time I have had a bad block warning on a system HDD or SSD and not replaced it, they have failed within 3 months or less. So I use them as a indicator to replace the drive.

I’d say the answer depends on if you’re break/fix or MSP. MSP do the efficient thing and replace it on the 2nd occurance.

However, if you’re break/fix, its a selling opportunity. You can approach that how you prefer. Personally I have set up a bunch of automated emails that send this kind of information to break/fix clients upon occurance, which more often than not leads to a conversation, which almost always leads to a sale.

You can just ask them the question: “Are you sure you’re fully backed up? Your drive is showing errors”. This could lead to multiple sale options; remote assistance labour, backup/cloud solutions and/or hardware upgrades. There are a ton of “would you like fries with that?” scenarios in break/fix if you’re smart about it.

Things like full operating system disk alert emails are good clone/upgrade sale opportunities too. Let your PSA do your selling for you, Syncro makes that possible because you can install as many agents as you like without incurring cost.

I’ve made a good income from AV sales to retail and SMB clients as I can sell the benefits of AV plus hardware monitoring which few other scenarios can do. It’s a pity that automation in Syncro doesn’t line up with this a bit better though, managing the renewals on these are a bit of a nightmare.