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Old 09-24-2008, 02:09 PM   #1
anix
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Long startup time in all distros- probable drive failure


Hi,
I am running a dual boot system with windows XP and I have had various Linux distros over time. XP has always and continues to boot absolutely fine. But with every version of Linux, and I have even tried using several different live cds, it takes forever to start up - I think it has something to do with the hard drives. (since I had this problem I have changed all hardware except the sound card, a CD drive that works fine, and one of the hard drives.)

I have a Maxtor 120 GB IDE drive as the master and a
40 GB Western Digital IDE as the slave.

The WD drive has never been detected at all in Linux (works fine in Windows and is detected in POST, quickly and consistently) and I have basically given up on being able to use that drive outside of Windows. I think, however, that the WD drive has something to do with the constant slow startup speeds.

Also, I am now using Fedora 9 and it is actually slower than usual- up to 20 minutes until a login screen. Most of this time is spent repeating the same messages over and over:
Code:
ata1.01:exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
ata1.01: cmd c4/00:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 pio 4096 in
ata1.01:status {DRDY ERR} 
end_request: I/O error, dev sdb, sector 5
Buffer I/O error on device sdb, logical block 0
Also, in other distros I have used they are referred to as hd(x) instead of sd(x).

One thing I noticed is that it goes from sda to sdc (my usb flash stick) which leads me to the impression that it tried to assign the WD drive to sdb and failed.

One final thing, but I am not sure if this is related:
When I try to use my windows NTFS partition, it is very slow. I have heard that it is practically unusable in linux and maybe that's why, but I thought that may be a useful piece of info.



My partitions:
Device Mount Point Type
/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00 / ext3
/dev/sda2 /boot ext3
gvfs-fuse-daemon /home/anix/.gvfs fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon
/dev/sdc1 (USB drive) /media/disk vfat
/dev/sda1 /mnt/windows fuseblk

My computer:
2.4 gHz Pentium 4
ASUS motherboard (I forget the model # and have no idea how to figure it out as I am at college and my docs are at home)
1.5 GB DDR
120 GB Maxtor IDE Drive (Pri. Master)
40 GB Western Digital IDE Drive (Pri. Slave)
JustLink DVD-RW IDE Drive (Sec. Master)
Generic grey CD IDE Drive (Sec. Slave)

The kernel is:
2.6.26.3-29.fc9.i686

I'm not sure what I could do to solve these problems without disconnecting the WD drive every time I switch between the OSs. Any ideas as to whats wrong with these (I believe) related problems? I am capable of functioning with the command-line but am by no means an expert.

Thanks.
 
Old 09-24-2008, 06:48 PM   #2
rjwilmsi
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It sounds to me like your Western Digital hard drive is about to die. Have you run any disk checking utilities on it?
 
Old 09-24-2008, 08:50 PM   #3
anix
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No, the drive is fine, as it works in windows and is detected in POST.
It has always had a problem with linux since I first tried to install it, maybe two months or so after I built my system. Speeds and reliability in windows are normal. My friends have discussed the merits of (read:complained about) Western Digital hard drives under linux and they have had problems, albeit different ones. Do you think that there is a manufacturing problem or something with WD drives that does not apply to windows but is found in linux?
 
Old 09-25-2008, 12:21 AM   #4
jiml8
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The error messages you are getting say either drive or controller failure.

When you say it works in XP, do you mean you can read/write to/from this drive without issue? Have you checked the XP event log to confirm that there are no apparent errors?

Windows is notoriously bad about checking hard drives and file systems at startup. Usually, Windows does NOT check automatically unless things get to the point where Windows itself cannot load.

This *could* mean that you have a failure underway that Windows has not detected.

What happens if you set things so that this drive is not automatically mounted at startup time? Does your system start normally and quickly? What happens if you then mount the drive after booting?
 
Old 09-25-2008, 12:42 PM   #5
anix
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Both drives read & write fine in windows.
Where is the event log in XP located? I generally use windows for games, music production & programs that have no linux equivalent so I don't really know deep system things (of course I don't really know them too well in linux either).

I have always had the western digital drive. Its performance in XP has been constant and I have never had any problems. Before I got the Maxtor drive, linux would not install because it would not detect the drive. It would take forever, give me basically the same error messages as it is now, find no usable drives, and I couldn't get any further.
When I got the Maxtor drive, I got the errors and it would take the same time, but It found the Maxtor drive and I could install to it.
I know it's not a mounting problem because I couldn't mount the ntfs drives until I got fedora 9 (or at least I didnt know how).

I have not tried unplugging the drives but I will when I can afford to turn off my computer, in a few hours maybe.
 
Old 09-25-2008, 06:52 PM   #6
jiml8
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Don't try unplugging. Just edit fstab so that the problematic drive is not automatically mounted when you boot. Unless, of course, this is the drive that has the system on it.

Then, after the system is up, try manually mounting the drive to see what happens.
 
Old 09-25-2008, 07:02 PM   #7
anix
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It is not in fstab.
The Maxtor drive (the one with the problem) has never been detected under linux.
 
Old 09-26-2008, 12:11 AM   #8
jiml8
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what does fdisk -l say, when you run it as root from the command line?

This seems very odd to me. The error messages you are getting say "hardware failure" but I can't see why Windows works with it, and Linux doesn't detect it.
 
Old 09-26-2008, 11:09 AM   #9
anix
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This is what I got from fdisk:
Code:
[anix@Anix ~]$ su -c '/sbin/fdisk -l'
Password: 

Disk /dev/sda: 122.9 GB, 122942324736 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14946 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x072869fa

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1       13764   110559298+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2           13765       13789      200812+  83  Linux
/dev/sda3           13790       14946     9293602+  8e  Linux LVM

Disk /dev/dm-0: 7381 MB, 7381975040 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 897 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/dm-0 doesn't contain a valid partition table

Disk /dev/dm-1: 2080 MB, 2080374784 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 252 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x30307800

Disk /dev/dm-1 doesn't contain a valid partition table
It was hanging for a few minutes after /dev/sda3.
 
Old 09-26-2008, 12:35 PM   #10
jiml8
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I googled on /dev/dm-0 and came up with some threads that suggest that your second disk is part of a logical volume.

Are you running some logical volume manager in XP? If so, then this is without doubt what your problem is.

I can't say that I understand what is causing I/O errors from those drives, but if the filesystem is not recognizable, or if Linux is somehow interpreting these drives as containing a logical volume that it *almost* recognizes, then I suppose this could be the result.

What happens if you try to mount /dev/dm-0 rather than trying to mount /dev/sdb ?

edit: Could also be an encrypted drive or a software raid, according to links I found.

Last edited by jiml8; 09-26-2008 at 12:41 PM.
 
Old 09-26-2008, 05:58 PM   #11
anix
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/dev/dm-0 seems to be my / folder.

I had no idea what LVM was until I read this and did some searching, so I know that I am not using that in windows.
Also, its not encrypted or soft RAID.
 
  


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