Broken HardDisk ? Maybe Not :)

Have you ever got error messages in Windows / Linux, similar to these ?

ata1: soft resetting link
ata1: link is slow to respond, please be patient
Buffer I/O error on device sda, logical block 0
ata1: device not ready (errno=-16), forcing hardreset
[sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 0
ata1: SRST failed
ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct

Usually the first thing that came to my thought was “damn, the hard disk is toast” 🙂

Turned out, in many cases, it’s NOT so. The hard disk is actually is still okay.
It’s just not set up right !

Thankfully, we can fix this very easily in Linux.
One / several of the following kernel parameters listed below may fix the problem we encountered above :

  1. libata.dma=0
  2. acpi=off
  3. noapic
  4. nolapic
  5. irqpoll
  6. pci=nomsi

If you don’t know which is the right one, it should be quite safe to try them one by one.

In my most recent case, point #1 solved the problem.
Turned out the motherboard (not the hard disk) is not very reliable, so we need to turn off DMA. Usually, this can be done via the BIOS. Imagine my surprise when I found that the BIOS is very, Very sparse ! It’s almost impossible to set anything.

Thanks to Linux, I was still able to disable DMA, via said kernel parameter instead (libata.dma=0)
The computer is now performing flawlessly. 🙂

Waiiiiit a minute – how do I set the kernel parameter ??

Good question. Follow these steps if you’re using Ubuntu Linux :

  1. Open the Terminal (Application – Accessories – Terminal)
  2. type : sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  3. Look for the following line : GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash”
  4. Add the kernel parameter(s) that you may need. Example : GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet libata.dma=0 splash”
  5. Press Ctrl – O to save the change, then press Ctrl – X to quit the nano editor.
  6. Now we need to update the boot manager. Type : sudo update-grub
  7. Done ! On the next restart, the kernel parameter will come into effect.

Still experiencing problems ?

Remember, the hard disk is just a component in the PC. Although the error messages came from the hard disk – the actual problem can reside elsewhere along the data pipeline.

For example, once I was troubleshooting an unreliable hard disk. Turned out the culprit was the IDE cable ! Once replaced, everything went alright.

So in case of hard disk related problems, here are some things that you can try first :

  1. Fasten the cables.
  2. Replace the cables.
  3. Try a different SATA / hard disk port on the motherboard.
  4. Make sure that the power supply actually provides enough power for all of the components in the PC.

Have tried all the above, but still experiencing problem with the hard disk ? Then you can be more certain that indeed now the culprit is the hard disk itself 🙂 and not some other things instead.

Hope this post will have saved you a hard disk / SSD drive. Happy troubleshooting ! 🙂

574 thoughts on “Broken HardDisk ? Maybe Not :)

  1. a friend of mine had this problem and he bought another hard disk. :)) If i am going to show him this article i am going to make him a happy man. He still has his old hard disk 😀

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  10. diawal kalimat ada error di windows / linux, tapi solusinya harus pake linux ya pak kalo masalahnya di windows?

  11. lthough the error messages came from the hard disk – the actual problem can reside elsewhere along the data pipeline… wow very nice article… i very like it’s???

  12. I have the same problem, i was going to buy a new hard disk but thanks for your useful post which helped me. Thanks a lot.

  13. Lagi-lagi karna gak tahu, setiap ada trobel masalah hardisk, jalan keluar format kalo gak bisa ya buang dan ganti yang baru!! … thanks .. good information

  14. My cousin just had this problem and we had been about to go to a store to buy a new harddisk, when I googled for the error. Your Linux solution works great! Thank you so much!

  15. It happened to 2 hard drives I had, lost em both with a lot of data inside.

    Should had read your post before lol

    Greetings from Brazil


  16. My hard disk was ruined after my brother was playing with magnets around it, magnets and hard drives don’t mix, I lost all my music and videos I had saved on there.

  17. After writing this article, several readers wrote to me about the Knopf Linux distribution CD. This boo table CD has the ability to mount and read FAT

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  20. kalau saya mah masih pake Windows….
    saya pernah nyoba linux….agak pusing….
    tapi linux kalau dari segi keamanannya emang lebih mantabs ya, Pak…

    terimakasih banyak atas infonya…

  21. absolutely agree with you and thank you for pointing out several relevant and important examples.

    Several blog contributors have written extensively on this topic. Thanks for these sharing.

  22. So how you recover disk failing from your hands, open? Send-it to recovery guys? Pay near 1000U$. Im having one like this, just copied data of over 800GB, take to put into a new machine, and sata cable was not strong to keep HD, fell down from 10cm on the ground and stop working. 4 years of data on it.
    Bad luck.
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  23. Ive had so many hdd problems in the past and I usually buy a new drive but this is such a cool tip I know what I’m gonna do next time. thank you.

  24. This information is great. I was always terrified when an error message like this popped up on my computer. Knowing it doesn’t have to be the end is quite comforting.

  25. So please I found this I had a hard disk that came up with one of those errors last month I did a new install on a new disk, I still have the old HD so will put it on a linux machine and follow your instructions. Thanks – this should mean I can recover some files I thought I lost.

  26. It’s a great piece of information i have read about the hard disc/drive. Almost all the people who don’t know much about the hardware section thinks that the dics may be corrupted or broken or there is some problem & we have to replace it. But that’s not the case, it can be repaired. It just needs a good hardware engineer to examine. So i suggest to go for a good engineer whenever facig some serious problems regarding the hardware.
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  27. kalau saya mah masih pake Windows….
    saya pernah nyoba linux….agak pusing….
    tapi linux kalau dari segi keamanannya emang lebih mantabs ya, Pak… Please Visit back my blog at

    terimakasih banyak atas infonya…

  28. Thanks so much, you’ve just saved me a trip to my freezer with my hard drive! I also thought my spare laptop was toast, but thanks to your info, its now running properly again.

  29. wah hardisk saya rusak shari q stlh q service mlh rusak lgi..rawan..lo dah rusak

  30. Saya inget dulu sering HD sering rusak bahkan beberapa kali dikirim perbaikan ke Surabaya krn masa garansinya masih ada, btw info yg sangat berharga bang admin, trims

  31. “Broken HardDisk ? Maybe Not” is being liked by most of all.
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  32. This is great. I have an old hard disk which I thought was broken, you’ve given me hope.

  33. Thanks for this useful hint. I never beleaved that would be so easy, but i am not so interested in Computer Hardware. Thanks for this Posting.

  34. I work in the computer field and I learned something new from your post. Thanks for the great information.

  35. phhh talk about good advice and just in time!!
    was about to get a new hard drive

    thanks 🙂

  36. Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks

  37. tanya pak, sebenulnya apakah HD ato flash disk yang dah korup masih bisa diperbaiki atau paling tidak bisa diselamatkan datanya?

  38. several months ago i have harddisk problem too so i decide to get my warranty for free harddisk exchange.

  39. nice sharing tutorial for hard disk problem…i will try if anything happen to my hdd…thanks

  40. Thanks for taking the time to share this, I feel powerfully about it and enjoy reading more on this topic.

  41. Yeah, every time my screen goes blue (windows) I have goosebumps and I remember that how long it’s been since the last backup.

    and then I do a backup:) Still lucky that I did not loose data so far.

  42. It’s amazing,thanks for sharing these useful information! I like this information sharing by you very clear, just explain and also great informative post.I am Waiting for the next post….

  43. western digital with stuck spindle… maybe heads are stuck to platter you could try putting them to park position but at the risk of data. otherwise if bearings are shot u need to put the platters in a working drive with same firmware.

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  46. trims untuk tipsnya, hardisk ane jg ada yg collapse padahal banyak data penting disitu … okelah barangkali cara ni bisa d pake …

  47. Just buy a new one its cheap, always backup in case sh.. happens again. What about virtual space on the web has anybody some experience about that? What is important to know about buying storage online?

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  54. Imagine my surprise when I found that the BIOS is very, Very sparse ! It’s almost impossible to set anything.

  55. I like this article so much, there are so many funny but useful things, can let us know what really life is. thanks for the authors who wrote this essay, love it very much. .

  56. Mostly broken hardisk are cause by MBR error or Master Boot Record is damage….

  57. I have ever experienced very very slowly computer working. I tried to find why, for about a month later I found that there was a parameter in IDE Channel changed. I’m using XP OS, I must set the “DMA is avaible” in device manager to normalize the computer working. It is OK until now. So here, your post is nice sharing.

  58. My hard disk is burned. My 200 GB data is lost. Is is possible to recover the all data. My data is very important. Can anybody tell me about this? Thanks

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  61. multiple hard drive cable can also influence the reading of the operating system, I’ve been there, I replace the cord. hardisknya bisadi gunakan lagi gan

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  66. For example, once I was troubleshooting an unreliable hard disk. Turned out the culprit was the IDE cable ! Once replaced, everything went alright.

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  83. My hard disk was broken and I though I should throw it away but your article convinced me and I’m not going to throw it. Thanks.

  84. Terima kasih, tahu apa-apa dari HDS, aku masih newbie, saya menikmati halaman Anda sudah punya beberapa tips yang berbeda. Terima kasih

  85. I have a 500GB Sata hardisk, and using Windows.
    The problem is this hardisk were detected succesfully as a Master Slave. But, when i try to install Operating System, this hardisk just not shown. How to fix some error like this?
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  105. Hardisk is very important in a computer because it is the storage of our valuable files and folders. Therefore, that’s normal if someone gets stressed when they find their hardisk broken. So, thank you for the information in this article. It may help if someday I deal with the problem explained above. Keep spirit and writing !

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