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Old 2006-01-05, 07:58   Link #1
Lambda
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Age: 35
Hard drive concerns

I've got a hard drive here which is nearly 5 years old, and twice recently I've found processes wanting to copy data onto it (fat32 filesystem) complaining that it is mounted read-only. Easy enough to fix, just unmount it then mount it again, but I believe this happens when an error occurs, and Linux remounts it read-only as a precaution. I'm not too knowledgeable about hardware, so I was wondering if this looks to people like a hard drive on the verge of failure, or nothing to worry about. (I don't have any vital unbacked-up data on it anyway, but there would be some inconvenience if it were suddenly to fail, and it's good to be prepared for these things.)
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Old 2006-01-05, 08:38   Link #2
TheFluff
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Is it SMART enabled? If it is, there's ways to check if it's close to failing. Unfortunately, I'm not sure about how to to do it in *nix...
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17:43:13 <~deculture> Also, TheFluff, you are so fucking slowpoke.jpg that people think we dropped the DVD's.
17:43:16 <~deculture> nice job, fag!

01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read
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Old 2006-01-05, 09:02   Link #3
Lambda
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A little apt-cache searching, aptitude installing and reading manpages later, and no, "SMART ENABLE failed - this establishes that this device lacks SMART functionality."
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Old 2006-01-05, 09:10   Link #4
TheFluff
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Sometimes, SMART must be turned on in the BIOS. I guess you could try that...
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17:43:13 <~deculture> Also, TheFluff, you are so fucking slowpoke.jpg that people think we dropped the DVD's.
17:43:16 <~deculture> nice job, fag!

01:04:41 < Plorkyeran> it was annoying to typeset so it should be annoying to read
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Old 2006-01-05, 14:34   Link #5
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Can Linux write to FAT32 partitions without trouble? I know that the NTFS drivers are still under development; while Linux can read NTFS partitions just fine, writing to an NTFS partition from Linux tends to make the partition corrupt. Since FAT32 has been around longer I'd imagine that Linux's FAT32 support should be the same as Windows' but I'm not really sure.

If you can load Windows, I can think of two or so ways to check for hard drive failure. I'd imagine that there are equivalents under Linux, but I don't know of them.
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Old 2006-01-06, 07:41   Link #6
Lambda
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I'm beginning to suspect I've been really silly. (Or rather got worried without thinking things through.) Because I remembered that FAT partitions need maintenance sometimes, and ran Scandisk, and found huge numbers of cross-links. And I also remembered that these failures are generally logged, and checked the logs, and found that the problem was "deleting beyond EOF" and that the "clusters are badly computed", which sounds like it could be the sort of thing to do with that. Though that's just intuition speaking, I'm not really 100% sure what clusters actually are.

(SMART can't be turned on at the bios, Linux has had full write support to FAT32 for a long time, it's a lot simpler than NTFS, so it's not so difficult to reverse-engineer. Curse a company which requires you to reverse-engineer the filesystem to manipulate your own files if you want to do it with a different OS.)
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Old 2006-01-07, 06:44   Link #7
grey_moon
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SuSE has SMART support, been ages since I've looked at it, but I think its not installed by default. You can check since the bin is

/usr/sbin/ide-smart

PS Even through you haven't specified what flavour you are running, I'm of the mind if it runs on one then you can get it running on another (although I tend to chicken out when I start having to hack the kernel)

PS does your drive always end up mounted as RO? If it does check out its settings in fstab.
Also I would dl the hard drive tools from the manufacturer site and run a check with that.
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Old 2006-01-07, 22:24   Link #8
RaistlinMajere
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It's a 5 year old hard drive. It's probably not going to survive for long, and even if it never dies, it's too slow to bother with these days. Hard drives are the biggest bottleneck in a PC.
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Old 2006-01-09, 00:39   Link #9
IRJustman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
Can Linux write to FAT32 partitions without trouble?
Absolutely! I do this all the time.

Quote:
I know that the NTFS drivers are still under development; while Linux can read NTFS partitions just fine, writing to an NTFS partition from Linux tends to make the partition corrupt. Since FAT32 has been around longer I'd imagine that Linux's FAT32 support should be the same as Windows' but I'm not really sure.
Actually, NTFS is older, having been introduced in 1993 with Windows NT 3.1. FAT32 was introduced in 1996 with Windows 95 OSR2.

There are drivers out there that will allow you to use Windows' own drivers to give you full (and COMPLETELY SAFE) read/write access to NTFS partitions under Linux. Called Captive NTFS, it essentially does the same thing that MPlayer and Xine do to allow formats such as WMV9 to play under them by using Windows DLLs. Only this time, they go to ReactOS for that support. However, bear in mind that since everything runs in user space AND uses Windows files to boot (pun not exactly intended, but eh), in my past experience, it will be VERY slow. However, it's better than nothing at all. In fact, I believe some live CD Linux distros have Captive NTFS support on them so you can get at hosed NTFS partitions should the need arise.

Anyway, hope this helps!

--Ian.

Last edited by IRJustman; 2006-01-09 at 00:53.
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