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Failing Win XP HDD

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My Win XP HDD crashed and died in November 2016 and I did a new install of Win XP.

Now, 7.5 years later, the HDD is failing. See the attached SMART report. 31157 hours. Health : bad.


How serious is this and how fast do I need to replace the HDD?

Can I easily clone the existing install to a new hdd or ssd?

What should I do at this point? 

> How serious is this and how fast do I need to replace the HDD?

Clone that disk immediately.  Don't wait, you'll only find out how serious this is when it's too late

> WinXP doesn't play nicely with an SSD, I'd suggest replacing the drive with another HDD.

XP works fine on SSDs.  It doesn't support TRIM, but I don't think that's the end of the world.  Have you seen other problems?

If you're really worried about it: partition the drive so Windows only ever uses (writes to) 50% of the disk.  Even a 60GB partition on a 120GB disk is overkill for many XP jobs.  This way the drive will always have half of its sectors free to play with.

> Can I easily clone the existing install to a new hdd or ssd?

Yes.  Just make sure they're both the same interface type (IDE and IDE or SATA and SATA) otherwise you have to modify XP in fun ways (or reinstall it).  It will bluescreen on boot if the disk interface type changes, it can't handle that on its own.

If you're not scared of the command-line then I recommend booting a Linux distro (like System rescue) off a USB stick and use "ddrescue".  It copies a disk, keeping track of unreadable sectors and only retrying them later after it has finished reading everything else.  This way you don't risk getting stuck at a bad point of the disk forever AND you get given a report of how many unreadable sectors there were.

Whilst I'm here:

* Keep a backup of the disk image on something else too, just in case  How big is the bad disk?  If it's mostly empty space then zipping it will help dramatically.
* Buy a name-brand SSD.  I've had some lesser name ones fail and it has caused me pain. 

Any reallocated sectors showing up in SMART is a sign to replace the drive ASAP.

Embedded systems have been running off CF card "SSDs" with MS-DOS and Win9x for over 2 decades now. XP is absolutely fine on an SSD.

The disk has almost 2000 sectors, which had to be reallocated, and another hundred likely to join them, when written.

If this is a progressing increase, soon you are going to run out of backup sectors. At which point the HDDs should be considered unsuitable for storing data reliably.

If this was a sudden, one-event increase, it might be due to a physical damage to the platter. This itself isn’t indication of the HDD failing and the drive may as well work reliably for many more years. However, the damage often leads to debris on the platters. And that will cause more and more damage.

The conclusion is: I agree with the above, replace the drive ASAP.


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