By David Krings
I ran into a challenge with Samsung hard drives (the HD502HJ SATA drives to be specific). I got two of those and not even six months after purchase they caused the OS to report bad blocks. One would think that getting replacements is easy. After all, there is a two year warranty on these drives. But in order to get an RMA one has to provide the error code that the
diagnostics program delivers after attempting a low level format (which obviously wipes the drive clean).
So the first test shows that something isn’t right with the drive. The low level format fails to complete, which ought to be a sign that something is truly broken. But a subsequent test reports that nothing is wrong with the drive. Also the OS reports that any partition on the drives is perfectly fine just to complain after a day about bad blocks.
After switching cables and controllers the problem remains. So I run the test, low level format, test routine again. The first test shows an error, the low level format hangs for days at 70 percent, and after canceling it the next test reports that the drive is as good as new. Interestingly, the OS agrees initially just to report bad blocks after a day. I also switched to a different OS and I get the same issues. And that happed with two drives of the same model.
A very smart engineer apparently coded the diagnostics program, which basically makes it impossible to get the error code when following proper procedure. I am sure if I’d sent the drives back some repair monkey takes the drives and runs the diagnostics app and gets the same result. They will send me the drives back, charge me for using their time, and I will end up with two paper weights.