What is hard Drive Bad Sectors and How can I Recover Data using Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Pro?


Bad sectors in your hard disk lead to complete inaccessibility of the drives, causing data loss. If your hard disk has some bad sectors, that first thing you should do is to immediately backup your data by creating an image of the disk using the software. You can later use this image to restore all your lost or inaccessible data. The 'Imaging' feature of Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery (Pro) enables you to create an image of the entire hard disk drive or any selected region of the disk.The software processes all sectors on your hard disk to create the image file and is capable of recovering data from the image created, except the severely corrupt ones.

What causes bad sectors on hard drive?

Hard drive storage elements or so called 'Platters' is divided into sectors and blocks. These sectors is used to locate the desired data by read/write head. After continuous hard disk usage, it started getting rough and looses its magnetic nature and thus, started failing. Besides that, there are various other reasons that leads to bad sectors on your hard disk drive and some of them are mentioned below:

Overheating  causes internal hard drive equipments to fail soon. Doesn't matter if you've pretty new hard drive, overheating can damage it too.

Over-aging is bad for almost any electronic device and after certain span of time, electronic devices will continue to fail or even die. Being an electronic device, hard drive equipments will start failing and so as the hard disk platters.

File System Error is one of the most common causes of bad sectors on hard drive. It'll make your data permanently damaged and non recoverable.

Virus/Malware Attack is created to malfunction the operating ability of computer system. However, sometimes it does damage  the platters of the hard drive and other CPU equipments and may cause it to fail permanently.

Identifying bad sectors on hard drive

Once the bad sectors on hard drive has been developed, it can't be removed or replaced. The best thing you can do is, replace the hard drive immediately after taking backup of all your important data and purchase a new hard drive.

However, it is important to first spot the bad sectors to get roughly idea about how much times still been left to keep using the drive. There are various hard drive monitoring and health status check utility available such as S.M.A.R.T. through which, you can easily identify the bad sectors and various other crucial details.

For the shake of simplicity, below are the common problems that anyone could face if the hard drive is failing or developed large number of bad sectors:

  • Freezing

  • Hangs

  • Corrupt or inaccessible files and folders

  • System taking too much time to load, reboot or shutdown

  • Unwanted shutdown

Follow the procedure to retrieve data from hard drive with bad sectors:

1. Create an Image of the entire hard disk drive using the software.
2. Recover data from the image created. (You can also recover data from this image later at any later point of time using the 'Resume Recovery' option)  

1. Steps to create image of HDD Using Partition Recovery:

Start Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery. On the main screen, select the 'Advanced Option' tab.

You can image an entire hard drive or a logical volume. Below 'Create Image' button, select the drive or volume to be imaged.

A flying pane appears on the right. Click 'Select Range' option on this pane to specify a particular region of the storage media. You can drag the two pointers to specify the starting and ending sector. Click 'OK'.

Click 'Start Imaging' on the flying pane to start the imaging process.

In the 'Save As' dialog, provide the desired destination and name for the image file. Once the process is completed, the image is saved as a '.img' file to your system.

You can click 'Next' at the bottom-right and continue with the process of recovery from the image.

2. Steps to recover data from the image created of bad hard drive

If you need to perform recovery at a later time, follow the given steps:

   Run Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery. Click 'Recovery from Image' tab in the main interface.

   All the recently created images will be displayed in the upper pane. In case your image is not listed here, click 'Browse' at the bottom to manually select the image.

   After you select the image file, choose the corresponding drive or volume ( the one which was imaged) under 'Select Volume to Recover Data' section. A flying pane appears on the right.

  Choose the desired scan method on the flying pane to recover data from the image file.


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Category: Windows Data Recovery - Pro

Last updated on October 10, 2014 with 8210 views

12 User Comments

scott marshall
March 18, 2012 11:05 pm

I have a hdd with bad sectors. I have created a .img file. Can I use that .img file to recreate the sector by sector disk image on to a new hdd?

Amit Pandey
July 13, 2012 09:51 am

Hi Scott,

You can not Recreate the disk image on to a new hdd but restore data from it.

Amit Pandey

October 4, 2012 06:10 pm

i am using your software to check status

every single sector shows red as bad!! is this possible. can i recover some data?!!

Amit Pandey
October 9, 2012 06:28 am

Hi Costas,

I advice you to run Raw Recovery feature of the software, it will show you some files which can be recover by the software. Be patient it will take some time to complete.


October 27, 2012 09:46 pm

Hi I am using the imaging tool to create an image of a failed 500GB hdd and it takes veeeery long time to complete the process. Its been 24+ hours since it started and its still going (29GB out of 465GB)....
Am i doing something wrong? Should I try a different approach??
Thank you very much...

Amit Pandey
October 30, 2012 08:38 am

Hi Alexandra,

Create Image feature of the software only creates the image of good sectors not for bad sector, if your 500 gb hard drive having 400gb bad sectors then its obvious to take reasonable time to complete the process.

Be patient you will surly recover data from created image.


December 17, 2012 05:08 am

I have a Seagate 500GB external HDD which has bad sectors. I tried 2 approaches -

1. Recover directly. I ran the Disk Status for 12 hours, it completed a few sectors - all red. Will it show recovery option only after scan is complete?

2. Create image and recover from image. I tried the create image option - it got stuck at 0 MB at the very first sector, and no movement after that. Is it actually doing anything?

What is the better option - do I go back to Option 1?

Amit Pandey
December 18, 2012 09:46 am

Hi May,

1) Disk Status will not show recovery options after scanning.

2) Imaging process will take time, please leave the imaging process intact for some time, it might be possible that number of bad sectors on your hard drive are very large.

3) Best option is to create image then recover from image


January 10, 2014 01:43 am

I'm using NTFS Recovery to recover files from a partition on my 1TB External WD drive when the partition table for the partition in question corrupted (therefor requiring me to format drive). I drive a truck for a living but have over 13 years IT experience and a degree but have just now begun using your software. I use the "Formatted Drive" option and it scans (takes for EVER) and always hangs on certain clusters. At one time it hung on 34526546 (or something like that number) for 3 days before I finally canceled the scan. I really need help. This is all my backup files that I have no where else. Thanks.

Amit Pandey
January 14, 2014 03:03 am

Dear Robert,

The hard drive has clear signs of failing mechanical equipment and would fail sooner or later. The best bet is to copy/move all your important files and folder now to any backup drive or any other storage medium.

As far as the backup files is concerned, you'll need to unplug the hard drive and connect it externally on any other computer/laptop using SATA/IDE connector. Now start the software and begin scanning the drive using 'advanced scan' or 'RAW Recovery' option. See if the hard drive won't freeze this time and might allow you to successfully recover data from the corrupted/damaged partition.

If the above didn't helps you, consider asking for data recovery services from Stellar. Pretty costly as compare to data recovery software but adds more possibilities of getting back your data successfully. For more info, please visit this:


We'll glad to assist if you've further queries.


August 16, 2014 08:34 am

I have a hdd with bad sectors. I have created a .img file. Can I use that .img file to recover data to entirely new hdd? Do I still need the bad hdd to achieve the data recovery? Step 3 on the instructions above says: "After you select the image file, choose the corresponding drive or volume ( the one which was imaged) under 'Select Volume to Recover Data' section." Am I supposed to restore data back to the failing hard drive? How will that work. Please explain that step.

Amit Pandey
August 18, 2014 09:32 am

Dear Will,

Yes, you can use the created image copy (.img file) in order to get back your data.
For your convenience, we suggest you to keep the source or problem drive plugged in and add different storage media externally such as USB, HDD, SSD, Removable media etc. Therefore, on step 3 that asks you to 'Select Volume to Recover Data', you need to choose the drive connected externally.

P.S. Saving data on the same problem hard drive will cause instability and you might lose data forever. Moreover, the software won't allows you to store the recovered data on the drive you're scanning for missing or deleted files.

Hope this makes sense to you. You can surely put back any extra comments that you want to clarify.

Wishing you good luck ahead!!

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