How to Do with "SMART Status Bad, Backup and Replace" | Guide

When failed to boot computer with Pri Master Hard Disk SMART Status BAD error, you should backup important data to another location before the hard drive fails completely.


by Delia Updated on December 27, 2022

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Overview for S.M.A.R.T Status BAD error

The S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a firmware that resides into most modern hard disks (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD), which can continuously keep track of disk condition and give you a warning if there is any issue or potential issues.

In most of the cases, if the SMART fails, the hard drive will not last very long before the data on it fail completely. More specifically:

  • If your computer fails to boot and give you the message "Pri Master Hard Disk: S.M.A.R.T. Status BAD, Backup and Replace Press F1 to Resume”, then the primary hard drive (boot disk) is failing or have failed already.
  • If you have more than one hard drive installed in your computer, you may get the "Sec Master Hard Disk: S.M.A.R.T. Status Bad", which means the data disk is having problems.

When you encounter such situations, as the message "SMART status bad backup and replace" suggests, you need to back up the valuable data immediately, and consider a replacement for the hard drive.

Status Bad

Backup failing hard drive before replacing it

If the error refers to the secondary hard drive, then you can use a backup utility (built-in or 3rd party) to backup the drive that is failing. If the primary drive smart status is failing, then you cannot load Windows successfully. Therefore, you need to use a bootable media to boot the computer and get the hard drive backed up. Luckily, the freeware AOMEI Backupper Standard is capable of backing hard drive within or without Windows loaded.

With it, you can easily backup Pri or Sec master disk with smart status bad problem, and create a bootable media with a USB flash drive or writable DVD if needed. This bootable media can be used on any computer with Windows installed, and allow you to perform backup & restore in WinPE.

Download and run AOMEI Backupper to have a try:

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How to back up hard drive when smart status bad error arises

There is no certainty about how long will the hard drive completely fail after you got the SMART status bad error, so backup the data as soon as you can. Here's how you can do it:

1. Launch the software, choose Backup tab and you will be given several options: Disk Backup, Partition Backup, System Backup and File Backup. If you want to back up everything on the hard drive, then choose Disk Backup.

Backup options

2. At the next screen, click Add Disk to choose the hard drive with S.M.A.R.T Status BAD error as the backup source, and then choose the target path to receive the backup image.

Available storages include internal/external drive, NAS, share folder, USB flash drive, cloud, etc.

Add Disk

3. Click Start Backup to run the backup. By default, the program will omit the bad sectors so they won't be included in your backup image.

Start Backup

More options to use in daily data protection:
Schedule Backup: Create automated backup task that runs daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
Backup Scheme: Choose backup method (full/incremental/differential) for scheduled backup, or enable automatic backup (available in Professional edition) to remove older backup images and save storage space.

What if your primary drive failed to boot with smart status bad message

If the message occurs on your primary boot disk, and you already failed to boot into Windows, then the solution may be a little different.

1. You can install AOMEI Backupper on any other working computer with Windows installed, and go to Tools -> Create Bootable Media.

Create Bootable Media

2. Follow the wizard to create a Windows PE disc, and choose your target storage media accordingly.

Windows PE

3. After the creation is done, you can then connect the bootable media to the PC that contains the failing hard drive. Start the PC and enter BIOS via the specific key (depends on computer make and model) to set the media as the first boot option.

Then, AOMEI Backupper will launch automatically in WinPE, and you can choose the backup option as you like.

Disk Backup

How to restore the data to new hard drive

When you actually replace the failing hard drive with a new one, then next thing to consider is how to restore the old data to it. There are also 2 scenarios:

1. If you have installed Windows on the new drive: Then the remain task is rather simple. Just install AOMEI Backupper on it, choose Restore -> Select Task / Select Image File to locate the backup image and follow the wizard to perform the disk or data recovery accordingly.

Select Task

2. If your new drive has no system installed: Then you can perform a disk restore or system restore via the created bootable media as well. Boot your computer into WinPE via the media, can then select your backup image in the pop-up AOMEI Backupper interface. The remain steps are all the same.

disk restore from bootable media


If you receive the SMART Status BAD error on your hard drive, it indicates that the drive is about to failing (or have failed). To avoid possible future inconvenience, you need to backup the hard drive before replacing it, and AOMEI Backupper is just the best tool to help you do so. 

Whether the problematic one is your primary boot disk or secondary data disk, AOMEI Backupper can help you backup the hard drive even without booting Winodws. If you upgrade to Profesional edition, you can also use the "Universal Restore" function for dissimilar hardware restore.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.