By Delia / Last update October 28, 2022

What are bad sectors on your hard drive?

As long they exist on the drive, bad sector will affect the use of your computer and may cause you to lose your data. While bad sector many not seem like a big deal as they are usually tiny clusters on the drive, they will likely have a serious effect on the drives usability and your computers performance.

There are two types of bad sectors on hard drives, these are soft bad sectors and hard bad sectors.

Hard bad sectors

Hard bad sectors refer to physically bad spots on the hard drive that cause the computer to be unable to read or save data to that spot. These can be caused by a variety of different methods such as poor-quality manufacturing, user wear and tear, or the drive having been dropped or damaged in some way during use. Once you notice that there is a problem with your hard drive, you can run “chkdsk” to check your hard drive for errors and get your PCs bad sectors report.

Soft bad sectors

Soft bad sectors are usually caused by software issues or power supply problems to your drive. If you are writing data to your drive and the drive loses power because it has been unplugged, then it possible a bad sector has been created. This is due to the sectors on the drive not matching their error correction code in Windows. Unforeseen system issues and malware have been known to also cause bad sectors to develop.

If a user is attempting to clone their drive, they might find that the cloning process terminates before completion as the process has been unable to read the data on the bad sectors. Normally when this happens you will receive the “read error” error message. If you still want to clone a hard drive with bad sectors you should first find a way to remove the sectors or ignore them during the cloning process.

What can you do about the bad sectors?

In the very first place, you need to aware of that the data that has already written to the bad sectors is rarely difficult to recover.

1. Type "command prompt" in the Windows Search pane, right click it from the results and select "Run as administrator" to open an elevated Command Prompt window.

2. When prompted, type "chkdsk f: /f /r" and press 'Enter' key, the tool will now find any bad sectors and attempt to repair them. 

Note: the data may be permanently lost if the bad sectors can’t be recovered.

Run CHKDSK

3. If you also want to check the sectors on different hard drives, you should replace f: with the letter of the other drives.

Nevertheless, it would be time-consuming if there are plenty of bad sectors on the drive. Also, it is less value to repair a hard disk that is all over bad sectors since it is a failing hard drive. In that case, finding a way to copy hard drive with bad sectors is a wise move. Well, how could you complete the task in Windows?

Best software to clone hard drive with bad sectors

It is not too hard for users to clone hard disks with bad sectors as long as you have the right specialist software. Many programs on the internet will not be able to handle or read the bad sectors and they will simply abort the cloning process when they reach bad sectors – or they will require you to upgrade to the expensive premium version before they can process bad sectors. 

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a specialist hard drive cloning program which has the ability to clone hard drives with bad sectors in Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

  • It supports cloning a large disk to a smaller disk as long as all of the data on the original disk can fit onto the smaller one.
  • By default, AOMEI Backupper will clone hard drives by skipping the bad sectors using ‘Intelligent Clone’ tool. 
  • AOMEI Backupper includes a variety of premium level tools - these allow you to clone HDD to SSD (regardless of the disk brand) without having to reinstall your operating system. Or you can use it to clone hard drives to external drives to easily transfer your data to other systems.

AOMEI Backupper’s clean user interface makes it easy to use. Even a rookie user can complete complex level cloning operations at the push of a button. Why don't you download AOMEI Backupper right now and solve your cloning problems?

Download DemoWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step-by-step Guide: clone HDD with bad sectors in Windows

First, connect to the new drive you want use to your PC (either an SSD, a newer HDD, or external HDD). 

Important: if your computer can’t boot up as normal due to the bad sectors, we suggest you first create a bootable USB on a working Windows-based PC using AOMEI Backupper. Next, boot the computer that contains the broken drive using the bootable USB. AOMEI Backupper will load once the system has booted. 

Step 1. Install and launch hard drive cloning software AOMEI Backupper Professional. Next, click on ‘Clone’ and then select ‘Disk Clone’.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the hard drive with bad sectors as the source disk.

Source Disk

Step 3. Select another drive as the destination disk. You will be given the choice to clone your larger drive to a smaller drive as we mentioned before. 

Destination Disk

Note: The Professional edition supports cloning both data disks and systems disks from MBR to MBR/MBR to GPT, or GPT to GPT/GPT to MBR. If you only want to clone data disks, you can pick the complete free Standard edition.

Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. To check its disk properties in Disk Management, follow the steps below:  

  • Press Win + R to open the Run window. Then, type diskmgmt.msc and hit OK to open disk management.
  • Then, right-click the disk you want to clone and select Properties in the pop-up window.
  • In the Properties window, select the Volume tab and confirm the partition style. It can be MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table).

Disk Partition Style

Step 4. Check the operation summary and click Start Clone.

Start Clone

Related tips:

👉 It is advised you UNCHECK the ‘sector by sector clone’ box as it will take considerably longer to clone the drive and it is possible the bad sectors will be copied.

👉 If you copy data from a hard disk with bad sectors to an SSD, then checking the ‘SSD Alignment’ option will greatly improve the read and write speed of the drive as well as prolonging its service life.

👉 You can make all of the partitions on the bad disk fill the entire second disk by clicking on the ‘Edit Partitions’ function.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
  • Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want. 
  • Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It helps to convert the partition style of the destination disk if it is different from the source disk. 

Add Unused Space

Step 5. Replace the broken hard drive that contains the bad sectors with the newly cloned drive (if you are using a laptop) or change boot order in the BIOS on your desktop PC to boot from the newly cloned drive.

Tips:

Summary

You shouldn’t worry about bad sectors effecting your disk as you can fix them by cloning the drive with AOMEI Backupper or by using the ‘chkdsk’ function built into Windows. AOMEI Backupper has many other specialist features, like system backup, automatic SSD backup, incremental and differential backups, and many many more.

If you are an advanced PC user and you would prefer to clone hard drives using command prompt, AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition is designed for you. AOMEI Backupper Standard/Professional Editions don’t support Windows Server operating systems, so if you’re running a Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, or 2019 operating system please check out our other specialist tool: AOMEI Backupper Server Edition.