Which format is better for an external HDD with many bad sectors?

I'll be using my HDD for linux distros only. I have an external HDD that's in ntfs format and it has bad sectors. Which format would be a better choice for me considering I can take care of the bad sectors after a clean format?

Aren't there enough topics about filesystems?

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Anything that fsck handles may be a good starting point.

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If "many bad sectors" from the topic is in fact correct - spare yourself the trouble and get a replacement.


fsck is a command program. I really do not like it.

Better would be the program "Disks". There you can create a disk image and you can copy the whole content of your hdd (including boot parameters and so on) onto a new device (HDD).

A 1:1 copy makes really sense if you want to copy a whole OS system without losing its functionality. With "Disks" it is possible. Choose the option "Create Disk Image" at the top as well as "Restore from Disk Image" as a second step and copy the content to a new drive.

Please use GSmartControl as a benchmark tool for your external HDD. It is available on the Live-DVD of Manjaro 18.1.5.

There you can have a look at the attributes that have been saved on your drive. For instance, the power-on hours, the temperature and so on.
You can also do a short test for checking whether your HDD's functionality is OK.

Good luck to you!


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Do Gnome have you on commission or something? :sweat_smile:

OP, you probably want to buy a new drive, I can't think of any reason a particular file system would be better suited to a wonky drive, so you might as well just use ext4 if buying a new one isn't on the cards right now.

Check out the forums for the pros and cons of the various formats. However, for reliability you can't go wrong with ext4.


indeed, if it's already dying then consider it a data mouse trap with a hair trigger.

secure erase the remaining good blocks and bin it


I would format with a :hammer: and place in the correct recycling bin.


Are these genuine bad sectors or caused by some external factor? Some thoughts to pursue at your discretion:

  • Are the data and power cables to the HDD securely fitted? Have they come loose? Try unplugging and re-plugging them or try a different socket in the mother board. Try different cables.
  • Is the power supply OK? Is it overloaded and not supplying enough volts|amps or otherwise developing a fault?
  • A forensics expert I knew suggested trying the HDD at other orientations, upside-down, vertical, horizontal.

On the software side:

  • Perhaps examine the HDD S.M.A.R.T. data with gsmartcontrol and run the available tests to see if there are any problems indicated.
  • Use the command badblocks to test the disk surface for errors, this may erase data depending on whether a destructive or nondestructive test option is chosen and may take many hours (or days) to run.

In this case I might opt for mkfs.btrfs --data dup /dev/sdX to duplicate the data to give a better chance of error correction and improve data security.

Hope those thoughts might be of help.

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