Recovery Guides: step-by-step DiskPatch operations:
Disk Surface Scan.

A list of terms used in this page and their explanation can be found here.

This guide describes a DiskPatch function in condensed form: if you need additional information, read the corresponding part of the manual.

Problem disk read errors
Symptoms partition(s) inaccessible; intermittent file/disk access problems
Solution scan the disk's surface and let DiskPatch attempt repairs if needed
Why do we need to do this?

If something is wrong with the partitions and you are about to use DiskPatch to make repairs, you need to be sure that the disk can be read from and written to without problems. If you have any reason to believe that the disk has problems reading or writing certain areas, run a surface scan to make sure. If many read errors show up it may be wise to clone the disk before starting repairs.
It's also good practice to run a surface scan every now and then, to make sure you are aware of bad areas on the disk before they create problems for you: if the operating system tries to save files to bad areas, you could lose data. Even worse, if partition bookkeeping structures are affected, you could lose many files. If you know bad areas are developing you can replace the disk before it's too late (make backups!).
Things you need to know before we start:
  • In the world of disks and data recovery we start counting disks at 0 (zero). So the first disk is 'disk 0', the second disk is 'disk 1', etc.
  • If you use the bootable CD/DVD you will need to find a target location for the files that DiskPatch creates when it's running; they can't be saved to the CD/DVD. You will either need a FAT formatted partition somewhere that can hold the files, or you can use a FAT formatted USB stick/key or USB disk to receive the files (read more here on how to prepare a USB key). DiskPatch will ask you where to save the files if the files can not be saved to the current location.
  • Use the cursor keys to navigate the menus, use the <Enter> key to select an option, use the <Escape> key to abort or leave a menu.
  • Performing a surface scan may lead to 'repaired' bad sectors, but this is not guaranteed. If a sector gets repaired, its contents may be lost.
  • The surface scan is a smart scan: the scan starts by reading sectors along the disk. Once a read error comes up the bad sector will be re-read and written to as needed, to try to read the data and 'repair' the bad sector. The sector will be verified and then the scan will continue.
  • By default DiskPatch will stop the scan after the first read error was found. This way you are made aware of the state of the disk before actual repair attempts are made. This behavior can be changed by changing this setting in the settings screen before starting the surface scan.

Here we go:

Start DiskPatch and select the problem disk.

example: your screen will differ. Find more information on how to select a disk here.

After selecting the disk, the menu will expand, showing actions that can be performed for the selected disk.
The selected disk will be marked in high intensity blue in the disk list (disk 2 in our example).

Now select 'Disk related tasks', then 'Surface scan'.
(Please note: the surface scan can be performed when using the trial version of DiskPatch; the other functions in this menu (wipe, clone) can only be performed when using the registered version of DiskPatch).
A list of partitions will be displayed, if any are on the disk. If no partitions are found, only 'Select region manually' will be available.

For our example we'll select 'Select region manually'. This will allow us to check the entire disk.
Leave the suggested values to select the full disk size.

When the values have been entered the scan will begin. During the scan a map display of the disk is shown. The grayed out area represents the area that will be scanned, the blocks represent the area that has been scanned so far. Errors (if encountered) will be displayed on the map to give you a general idea of where they are on the disk.

in this example we've encountered 1 read error so far, the red marker indicates the general area on the disk where errors are located.

When an error is found DiskPatch will halt the scan and notify you:

And will then display the settings screen:

You can change scan specific settings (if desired) and then press <Escape> to exit the settings screen and continue, or select 'abort' to abort the scan.
(The 'interrupt scan after the first read error' behavior can be changed by changing this setting in the options screen).

Pressing <Escape> during the scan will show the settings screen. From here you can change scan settings if needed, or abort the scan. Pressing <Escape> again will exit the settings screen and continue.
Time remaining can fluctuate if bad areas are encountered.

When the scan has been completed the following screen will be displayed:

The screen will show the results of the scan. Press any key to return to the menu.