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I tried cleaning the partition which had Ubuntu installed (but was corrupted somehow and I wanted to reinstall) - I used gparted for it. After deleting the partitions which contained ubuntu (I had another partition for windows), I tried re-installing ubuntu 12 - however, the installation failed complaining that there was no /dev/sda. When I tried gparted again via live CD, its unable to find any devices on the computer. I will run disk utility to gather more information - any other thoughts that could possibly help me get to the point where I can re-install ubuntu on my computer. I noticed the option for reformatting on disk utility but I have not tried it yet.
Edit: I am assuming that I may have corrupted/deleted the NTFS partition somehow since I am unable to see any deviced on gparted now. I am not entirely sure whether I should try format volume or drive via dis utility. I will try running a bad blocks check as well.
thanks in advance
Update: I can neither format drive nor volume using disk utility - it complains about "Daemon is inhibited".
When I tried running benchmark drive performance, I received the following error:
Error benchmarking: helper exited with exit code 1: Error reading 104857600 bytes at 104857600 from /dev/sda when guesstimating buffer size: Input/output error
It seems to me that your disk is faulty, which would also explain why the installation got corrupted in the first place. I would recommend to test the disk with the manufacturer's diagnosis tool, but you can have a first look at its state with booting the live-CD and launching the command
sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda
in a terminal.
If you don't know how to interpret the data just post it here, but please use code-tags (look in my signature) for posting that rather lengthy output.
Thanks for responding. Here are some of the messages when I ran the command you suggested:
ATA Error Count: 65535 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
Error 65535 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5462 hours (227 days + 14 hours)
When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle
After command completion occurred, registers were:
ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
40 41 02 00 08 00 40 Error: UNC at LBA = 0x00000800 = 2048
Seeing the sheer amount of errors (the drive reports 65535 errors, but I am sure there were more, but not countable because the counter is only 8bit wide) I assume that this drive really is faulty. You can make a test with the manufacturer's diagnosis tool to be absolutely sure, but my advice would be to replace that disk.
Thank you for looking into this - much appreciated. I was able to reformat the volume and eventually re-install Ubuntu on the hard drive. I will not be surprised if the hard drive crashes in the very near future (I have an external drive and it seems like I might have to get an internal one pretty soon).