Hi Peter,

> I was then able to format the whole disk as NTFS.

Given formatting and partitioning are, these days, just writing bytes
that's the same as any other data as far as the disk is concerned, there
is no difference between filesystems that means you can format it as one
type and not another.  It suggests there are sporadic intermittent disk
errors, either in the media or the controller, and it's just pot luck
what operation you're attempting when there's a failure.

You could use badblocks(8) with either -n or -w to actively write then
read to every disk block to try and show the extent of the problem.  It
would also allow the drive's controller to remap bad blocks onto,
hopefully good, ones from its reserve store.  The man page needs a
careful read.

> Conclusion: Success, and the disk will be OK for play, but don't be
> surprised if it continues to degrade.

Right.  `smartctl -x /dev/sda' will show what the drive's controller
thinks of the state of play.

Cheers, Ralph.

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