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#1 2005-11-27 10:54:41

molinero
Member
From: Copenhagen/Denmark
Registered: 2004-09-19
Posts: 110

Harddrive failing - what to do?

Hi all

I strongly suspect that my laptop harddrive is failing. Sometimes I get

Buffer I/O error on hda

and other errors. I booted the computer with a knoppix cd and ran e2fsck but it quit after some time stating something like

Cannot read sector blah. Ignore?

. I can still boot the computer. Backup of important files have been made.

What should I do to detect for sure, that the drive is failing?
Can I make an image of the disk to put on a new drive, that I have?[/quote]

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#2 2005-11-27 12:02:17

T-Dawg
Forum Fellow
From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

What should I do to detect for sure, that the drive is failing?

ultimatebootcd

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#3 2005-11-27 12:58:29

lanrat
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2003-10-28
Posts: 1,274

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

You can also test the disk if it supports S.M.A.R.T.
Download and make the package for smartmontools:
smartmontools
link edited to fit to page -Penguin

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#4 2005-11-27 15:58:38

molinero
Member
From: Copenhagen/Denmark
Registered: 2004-09-19
Posts: 110

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

I installed the smartmontools but I am having trouble finding out how to use them - I can't seem to find any docs.

I have downloaded the ulimatebootcd and will try it out later but I am unsure whether or not there is a tool for a Toshiba harddrive like mine.

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#5 2005-11-27 16:10:07

T-Dawg
Forum Fellow
From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

for smartd, you have to edit the config file in /etc/ and start the daemon. The log files are polled every 30 minutes in /var/log/messages.

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#6 2005-11-27 16:29:33

T-Dawg
Forum Fellow
From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

you could also go to your hard drive manufacturer's site and see if they have diagnostic utility program that goes onto a bootable floppy. Most have them at no charge. Seagate has an excellent one and seems to work for other drives as well.

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#7 2005-11-28 19:20:06

lanrat
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2003-10-28
Posts: 1,274

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

As root you can run smartctl -H /dev/hda. More info in man smartctl and smartmontools web page.

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#8 2005-11-29 00:28:15

xterminus
Member
From: Tacoma, WA, USA, Earth, Sol, M
Registered: 2005-10-30
Posts: 93

Re: Harddrive failing - what to do?

Just an FYI.  I used to work as a computer forensic examiner, and I taught quite a few people how to conduct investigations.  One of the things that I ran across was people who would intentionally attempt to destroy their hard disks, in which case you get similar errors (but my job was to get the evidence).

As simple as it sounds, if you have a hard disk failing, there are a couple of very simple things you can/should do to to preserve your data.

1.  Turn the computer off until your ready to do a proper backup.  I've seen people simply run bad drives into the ground by 'ignoring' errors or spending lots of time making a diagnosis.  Your first priority is a backup.  Once you've done that, you can fool around with manufacturer tools.
2.  Go buy an identical drive, and do your best to make an image of the original.  dd usually works great, even when there are errors.  If you buy a larger drive, you can dd the original image to the new drive as a file, and then use loopback to mess with the contents of the old drive.  Just don't plug in or power up the damaged drive until your ready to image.
3.  And finally, while your imaging - keep the bad drive sitting upright (on it's side) instead of sitting flat.  In the event you have had heads that have crashed or made contact with the platter surface, putting the drive on it's side minimizes the damage.

Of course, there are more complicated (and expensive options) available, but if you react quickly you can usually save most everything on your drive.

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