NAS HS with bad sectors - game over?
November 21, 2020 8:08 AM   Subscribe

A HD in my NAS developed some bad sectors and crashed. I have replaced it but am wondering what to do with the crashed drive. It's out of warranty so I can't RMA it as I have done in the past. Is it worthwhile putting it in an external case, reformatting it as spare storage, but not using it for anything critical? Or would I be throwing good money after bad?
posted by Grinder to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
How big a drive are we talking? Storage is cheap these days and the idea of continuing to use a known bad disk for anything just seems crazy to me...
posted by mekily at 8:21 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


All hard drives fail, and this is one that's further down the path than most. The next stop for this one is the shredder. If you keep using it, it'll either end up with some important data on it by accident which will end up being lost, or it'll slowly fail and cause weird problems with whatever system it's connected to in an annoying fashion.
posted by mrg at 8:36 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


Is it worthwhile putting it in an external case, reformatting it as spare storage, but not using it for anything critical?

Do you have a use case for that? If you have something like a media player that will take an external hard drive and you have all the media duplicated on the NAS, it can be considered, but for the most part, there's not a whole lot of use (in my life) for a drive that might be unreliable.

One of the problems that typically arises with situations like this is that at some point it will be convenient to use it for something critical and then Murphy's law will strike.
posted by Candleman at 8:43 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Spend the money on replacing the other disks in your NAS. One disk failing out of warranty means it's time to plan for replacing all of the disks.

I put that first because it's a serious thing.

To answer the old disk question, I've used retired disks for disposable-if-fail cold offline storage. You don't know how many more sectors will go bad so maybe it'll save you/maybe it won't. Mark the sectors that are bad so they don't get used, and verify you can re-read all the data before storing the disk somewhere safe.
posted by k3ninho at 8:50 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


Spend the money on replacing the other disks in your NAS. One disk failing out of warranty means it's time to plan for replacing all of the disks.

And don't buy them all in one batch, from one manufacturer. NAS boxes can handle that, and also handle disks of different sizes (but not smaller than what's already installed).

That crashed disk is best used as a paper weight, a holiday season tree ornament, a test in sledge hammer or angle grinder resistance, or basically any other use that doesn't involve storing data. Trying to keep it in use is not worth it and doomed to fail at the most inopportune moment.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:24 PM on November 21


It depends on how bad the drive really is. I've seen plenty of drives that have a pretty decent reallocated sector count that have worked reliably otherwise for years and years without growing more. If it has already used up the entire spare area, on the other hand, probably best to recycle it or disassemble it for the interesting/decorative parts.
posted by wierdo at 3:34 PM on November 21


Hard to say, honestly. Hard drive enclosures are relatively cheap, so it's not like you'd be out a lot of money if you did it, and sometimes it's useful to have an external enclosure around just to test a drive without opening up a computer's case to slot it in. I definitely wouldn't put data on it that you don't already have at least 2 copies of somewhere (not counting any RAID/JBOD redundancy you might get from your NAS), if it's data that's important to you. The cold offline storage idea as a last-resort backup isn't a terrible idea, but definitely plan for it to be unreliable.

I don't think using it as a temp disk or scratch disk is a good idea; temporary data doesn't mean unimportant data, and corruption could leak into other aspects of your system if the drive develops problems but doesn't outright fail.

I'd probably just junk the disk, TBH. Computers have enough inscrutable problems without adding marginal hardware into the mix.
posted by Aleyn at 4:12 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


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