My HDD has decided to die on me, after what can plausibly be because of the abuse that I have subjected to it after six months of insane distro installing.
It all started with firefox in Slackware giving up one morning after I left the comp. on overnight to do some simulations. k3b didnt work either. Indeed the whole of kde was in trouble. I tried an fsck, and it gave bad sectors. The bad sectors were identified, and read, and tagged (I dont remember now, it was 10 days ago) with e2fsck -v -something /dev/hda* from the other distro which was ubuntu. Then Ubuntu itself died; something crashed here too.
After several attempts of mucking about with e2fsck, I reinstalled Slackware, unsuccessfully, as the installer failed at some point everytime saying there was a fatal error and it wasnt going to do it for some reason, which I can of course, put down as the rapidly dying hard disk. The e2fsck gave some 0.3% bad sectors, which then increased to 0.4% -in the Slackware partition that is.
I tried the unspeakable windows, and here again, it gave dire warnings and a blue screen, whose content may roughly be summarized as shutting down the system to prevent damage to hardware. It scan disks every time it boots up and cribs about some corrupt file system.
During the useless Slackware installation attempts, it was asked to check for bad sectors. Ubuntu was also tried, but the Ubuntu installer is way to simplistic in that it doesnt have any option to check for bad sectors. Needless to say, the installation failed in the very early stages when it tried to configure apt, which is, as I said, right at the very beginning.
I then tried Debian, which, for all its touted unfriendliness, checked for bad sectors for a long long time (some three quarters of an hour, speaking reasonably conservatively), and installed without any hitches. The stumbling block is that I dont know how to put x in debian, and it has stayed since, and when I go back -I came home for a week- I shall put the kernel headers, or make the symlink and put the official nvidia drivers, but hopefully not, as I want to get back to work and quit wasting more time on this.
But the point want I to ask is, can the HD be saved? My friends in IIT (where I study) insist that Windows has a nice bad sector blocking feature. But I doubt it as the damage has spread universally, and I cant use windows because of religious issues.
In passing, I must mention that a new 80 Gig HD has been purchased. The old one still boots, and the data seems to be okay, but one doesnt know for how long.