Can a part of a hard drive break?

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Is it possible for only a specific part of a hard drive to become unusable?

I had Ubuntu 14.04 installed on my Sony Vaio laptop (more than five years old). Since 14.04, I never had any problems with it. I also have Windows 7 installed. Ubuntu wouldn’t boot correctly all of the sudden. I tried many things to fix it, eventually resorting to reinstalling it. Every time I tried to install it, it would freeze at around the same point. After a few tries, I tried installing 12.04 over the Ubuntu partition. It also crashed at the same point.

Windows still works fine and from there, or using a live-disk Ubuntu, I can access the files from Ubuntu (at least the ones that I care to backup) without problems. I would think that a certain part of the HDD is broken which is why only at certain times it crashes, but the files are intact.

EDIT: It’s an HDD.

Is this a reasonable assumption?


It’s known as farming. what happens is that overuse of some sectors causes the coating to wear away, and one to get a furrow there. This traps the heads.

Windows registries are a common occupant of such a furrow, i have lost several hard disks to windows, the pattern now is to store the operating systems on one disk and the data on anothrr.

Well if you are using an SSD, SSD’s have limited write cycles, on average, your typical 1 year old laptop is 400 cycles, however in the past year SSD’s did improve and now go on average to about 1000 cycles. Were you overwriting the hard drive alot (eg formatting, reinstalling OS’s, defragmenting, etc)? if so, thats your problem.

If you do a lot of overwrites I would recommend an HDD if you do a lot of writes, if you read only, then an SSD is the way to go.


Not sure if your using an SSD or HDD though.

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