How to Test and Repair a Hard Disk with a Free Tool, Victoria
From this article, you’ll learn how to test a hard disk, external storage or SSD for surface defects and bad sectors, and how to repair them using a free tool, Victoria.
We can’t imagine a modern computer without some kind of a hard disk. This is where all user data is stored and all software components are installed. As all things in this world, a hard disk has a certain resource that can be exhausted one day, and it is so far one of the least reliable parts in a computer that is too prone to damage. One of the main indicators suggesting that a hard disk is worn out or damaged is the presence of bad sectors.
Keep in mind, though, that the tool we are using today can only repair the sectors damaged at the software level. Any sectors damaged physically can only be blocked, but never restored.
Victoria is a free tool available for download and use by anyone. The program’s official website: http://hdd.by/victoria/. Also, it is available for download from many file-sharing services.
In order to test a hard disk for surface defects and bad sectors, and then repair them you with Victoria:
Download the tool and run it as Administrator.
No installation is required. Just open its folder and start the file vcr447.exe.
In the Standard tab that opens, we can see the list of all drives connected to this computer, and information on them.
It includes drive name and model, firmware version, the number of clusters, drive capacity and the motherboard connector the drive is using.
Another tab, SMART, shows the drive status, namely its current SMART values. To see them, click on Get SMART and Victoria will show the current drive status in the right window. In the picture below, this is the green window saying GOOD.
Please note that SMART is not supported for USB drives.
The window in the left shows the list of attributes with their values. The most important values are those shown in Tresh and RAW columns. Tresh is the value that an attribute has to reach to be recognized as critical. RAW is the most important indicator for evaluation of the drive condition. It contains real values directly telling you about the disk health.
There are many SMART attributes, and all of them are important. However, the following items will be most important for quick evaluation of a disk condition:
- 1 – frequency of read errors. There are many of them in the screenshot, but it’s not critical because this number coincides with the attribute
- 195 – the number of errors that have been fixed with hardware means.
- 5 – the number of sectors reallocated by the hard drive to a reserved area. In our case, there are none – 0.
- 187 – the number of sectors to be reallocated in the future. There are also none – 0.
- 196 – the number of reallocation operations. None.
If values in these attributes were higher than zero, or if they were not corrected with hardware means in time, it would indicate there are problems with the drive. The disk we are testing is knowingly in a good condition, and it is only used as an example to illustrate main features that Victoria has to offer.
Now let us move to the most important tab Tests which actually checks the disk for bad sectors.
This is where you can set the beginning and the end of the tested area, which is by default set to cover the entire drive: these are fields Start LBA – End LBA. You can also choose what the program does after the test (see the End of Test pop-up menu), choose a test type and so on. For a simple test, leave everything as it is.
The principle is like this: the drive is divided into sectors having similar length, and the program sends a request to every sector. The longer time it takes for a sector to respond, the more likely it is to fail. This problem can be caused by both physical wear of the hard drive and wrong use. Bad sectors can be hidden by replacing them with good sectors from the drive’s reserved area.
Before the test begins, choose of the options: Ignore, Remap, Erase, Restore.
- In the Ignore mode, the program analyses and represents information. At the moment, we started testing in this mode.
- In the Remap (reassign) mode, the program replaces damaged or broken sectors with good sectors from the drive’s reserved area;
- With the help of Restore mode, you can try restoring the sectors damaged at the software level;
- In the Erase mode, the program tries to write data into the damaged sector and use it further. This mode is recommended to experienced users only, because using it in the wrong way can damage the disk and cause a data loss.
As you can see, Victoria analyses the drive and shows the number of sectors in categories depending on their response time. This information is also shown graphically in the left window.
The sectors shown in orange are supposed to have problems, while red or blue ones are damaged, i.e. broken sectors. Green sectors have a certain response delay but they don’t need correction yet.
If the testing is over and it shows some damaged sectors, you can do the following to restore them:
- You can go over the drive in the Remap mode.
- If there are any bad sectors left after this operation, the drive can be tested again, this time in the Restore mode.
To do it, choose the necessary mode and click the Start button again to begin.
You should understand that Victoria is a very useful utility but it cannot eliminate all problems with your hard drive; its task is to test a working drive without physical damage and fix bad sectors at the software level. Victoria cannot fix a worn-out or physically damaged drive.
You can use Hetman Partition Recovery to recover data lost because of bad or damaged sectors in your hard drive.