There’s a software application called HDD Re-generator for Windows. The software claims that it can successfully regenerate bad sectors from a hard disk drive. It does not hide them but actually regenerates them. I had a mixed experience with this software. The software was able to successfully regenerate / repair current pending sectors.
You can see these screenshots that I had taken before and after the application of this software. My 80GB IDE HDD after a few years of operation developed bad sectors. Monitoring application like CrystalDiskInfo reported the overall status as Caution. There were 16 bad sectors that were reallocated and 5 pending sectors developed on my hard disk.
This is the screenshot before applying HDD Re-generator. You can see 16 reallocated and 5 current pending sector count.
After I ran HDD Re-generator on this disk, it was able to successfully recover those 5 pending sectors. Below is the screenshot after HDD Re-generator.
I used my hard disk thereafter for another 2 more years without any issues. Now it still works but is no longer in use.
It’s not clearly documented but it’s true that this software has a limitation. It does not work successfully when the SATA mode is AHCI. The software appears to be executing but it usually errors out stating “Drive is not ready!” message when it attempts to initiate recovery. The software only works successfully when the HDD is connected to either IDE port or the SATA Mode is configured as IDE in your BIOS (Firmware Settings)
Technology develops very fast and all newer motherboards for example those with AM4 socket platform no longer offer SATA Mode as IDE. Now SATA mode is only offered as AHCI or RAID.
IDE mode on SATA Controller is now kind of obsolete in 2018. As a result HDD Re-generator may not work successfully on such systems.
However there’s a hack so that you can still make it work as a workaround! Here’s how.
You do not need another computer or any additional hardware. This will work best with Windows XP but should not matter even if you have Windows 7 or Windows 10. I have selected Windows 7 primarily as Microsoft allows you to use it without a license key for 30 days temporarily as a trial ware.
You should have a bootable ISO file of Windows OS. On your Host OS (generally assuming its Windows), install VMWare Workstation Player. (It’s available for Linux too if your Host OS is Linux and it’s free for noncommercial use) For the Virtual Machine (VM) to play correctly and smoothly, enable Virtualization in Firmware settings (BIOS/UEFI) for your CPU. Newer VMware Player is only available as 64 Bit app, so make sure that your host OS is 64 bit one.
Create a Virtual Windows Installation in VMWare Player. Before you install and when you are setting up the Virtual Machine as Windows Guest, select Disk controllers as IDE in VMWare Player. After Guest Windows OS Installation is thru, install VMWare tools and now install HDD Re-generator within the Virtual Windows Guest. Shut it down.
Attach the HDD that you need to diagnose to a free SATA port on your motherboard.
Boot into host OS and go to VM settings. Do not start VM at this point.
Now add a new HDD from the settings and select ‘Physical Disk’ rather than logical file option and choose disk that you just hooked to host PC’s SATA port and make sure to select IDE mode and now start VM.
Now you have fully emulated IDE mode even though your physical disk is connected as SATA AHCI on Host hardware. The disk is now unavailable to Host and fully connected to Guest in emulated IDE mode.
Your HDD Re-generator will now work successfully on this disk in Virtual Windows OS. Initially it might throw some SMART or SATA errors or prompt you to change SATA mode in BIOS on VM but those are irrelevant. The app shall do the needful job.
With this you have successfully run HDD Re-generator on a newer computer that does not support SATA Controller as IDE.