Bad Sectors


I have a drive, that shows reallocated sectors.

I have taken this drive, and low level format/Write Zeroes, ran stress test for several days, the drive is performing well.

Have done several error scans, all is well.

I need to clear the Glist/Plist, within the drives firmware.
i don't trust the manufacturers notifications about reallocated sectors, I would like to clear them, and then retest the disk.

Is there a freeware method of doing this?

There are forensic utilities that can clear the list, but they cost a fortune.

As mentioned I don't trust the manufacturers, they just want you to buy a new HD.




Fantastic Member
Microsoft MVP
I am not sure what you are trying to do. Understand all disks have some bad sectors straight from the factory. That is normal. And it is normal for some more bad sectors to appear during the life of the drive.

Running chkdsk /r on the drive will attempt to recover any bad sectors, if it can.

Running the diagnostics from the drive maker (as found here for your WD drive) can help recover any bad sectors too - IF they are recoverable.

If you are disposing of this drive and you are wisely concerned about security, then I recommend you "wipe" the drive with a good "wipe" utility like DBAN or Eraser which uses DBAN technologies, but with a Windows GUI front end. CCleaner is also able to wipe a drive, or wipe just the free space (a very handy option, BTW). Wiping a drive (writing a bunch of random 1s and 0s to every byte and sector on the drive) ensure no residual data can be recovered.

Alternatively, if you are disposing of this drive and you want to ensure no data can be retrieved from it, you can do what I do and drill 3 holes all the way through the drive, ensuring you also go through the platters.

I have done everything mentioned in your post...thx

a drives firmware will mark a sector as bad and reallocate it, if can't read the sector properly over several read/writes, i don't remember the exact amount.

That reallocated error msg. can only be removed from the firmware, no amount of chkdsk/darik, or any other low level utility will correct the info stored in the firmware....except for expensive forensic utilities.

There lies the problem, with manufacturers, not properly supporting products, or allowing us to verify beyond any doubt that the drive is useless.

as for disposing the drive, no drill necessary, I prefer to use a


Fantastic Member
Microsoft MVP
A hammer, unless it is a 16lb sledge hammer, is not good enough. The platters themselves, which are very durable and well protected from hammer-blows, need to be destroyed and drilling holes through them ensures that.

I am not really sure of your concerns here. Are you trying to make this drive usable again? Or trying to ensure badguys cannot retrieve any data? I would not worry about the latter if you have wiped the drives. Remember, badguys go after the easy pickings and they are not going to waste time on a drive that has been wiped unless they are North Korean spies and these drives came out of the Pentagon.

i'm looking to reset the bad sector count, and then retest the drive to see if any of those errors return, after all the formating and nuking that's been done to the drive. 16lb hammer no problem...


Fantastic Member
Microsoft MVP
You did not answer the question so I ask again, "Are you trying to make this drive usable again? Or trying to ensure badguys cannot retrieve any data?"

As for resetting bad sectors, I go back to my original suggestion and recommend running chkdsk /r on the drive. Note the /r switch locates bad sectors and will attempt to recover any data there - if any data is there. You could instead use the /b switch and that will attempt to recover any bad sectors (thus resetting the count). But IMO, with disk space being so cheap, and there being 100s of millions or even billions of sectors on a disk, if the factory says a dozen or so are bad, that's good enough for me and I see no reason to use that sector to store any of my data. If I need more sectors, I will buy another drive.

As far as a proper low-level factory type format, you might consider purchasing Steve Gibson's SpinRite.

I'm trying to satisfy my own curiosity, about clearing the plist errors, with software that's available freely, not having to purchase expensive hardware/software. I don't care to reuse the drive, as you mention disk space is soooo cheap. The drive has already been replaced. No way I would reuse that drive. thx!


Fantastic Member
Microsoft MVP
I'm trying to satisfy my own curiosity
Well, there's nothing wrong with that. I am not aware of any free tools that will do what you want and even with professional tools, except maybe for forensic data recovery, the need to clear those errors is just not there. If it does not improve chances of data recovery, any time and effort spent would just be for curiosity's sake - and there no profit in that.

SpinRite is a very powerful tool that has been around for many many years. It is not free, but if this is something you might be doing more often, the price may well be worth it. It is worth checking out, anyway.

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