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Hey I'm back! Having problems with this thing again.
The thing is, it happens intermittently, so I can't pipe the errors (*grrr*).
Every once in awhile, about every 4 to 10 boots, I log in and type 'startx'.
Then, the screen goes black, adn my computer freezes. Hitting NumLock on the keypad doesn't even turn it (the NumLock) off. I reboot, it goes thru fsck, and ALWAYS finds errors. I repair the errors (hoping I won't lose what I've tried so hard to create), reboot and problem solved. I really wouldn't mind this little inconvenience, if it weren't for the fact I have voided my Dell warranty (by repartitioning and installing a different OS (?!?!?)) and can't afford to replace a harddrive.
Have you run a surface scan yet? My understanding is that newer hard drives are much less likely to have bad blocks, but I guess it's possible.
unmount the partition if you can. If you can't boot off of a knoppix cd (free ISO images at knoppix.org). Run badblocks -vsn /dev/hda1 (or whatever partition/whole drive, etc). The 'n' is for a non-destructive write test.
If it (or any other surface scan) finds bad blocks I would recomend useing your restore CD's and then send it back to Dell to deal with. They just don't want to deal with supporting a setup they didn't sell.
(if you feel the need, before running the Dell restore disks, run:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda this should completely wipe the drive. There are things that I have heard will recover the data, but Dell should only see what gets restored from their CD. Bad sectors, after all, cannot be caused by Linux and would be their problem).
If there are no bad blocks, then it sounds like something is eating your formating. GL
A few things to try.
1) Get compressed air and blow out the dust. You will be supprise how much dust your computer can collect in a month. Do not use vacuum cleaners.
2) Check your AC wiring to make sure common is common, hot is hot, ground is ground. Make sure the ground is securely connected.
3) Download memtest86 and run it overnight.
4) Try using Knoppix. If it crashes, it will not be hard drive problems. It will be memory or something else in your system.
5) If your BIOS has a way to adjust the AGP setting. You can try 2X or even better 1X for stablity and relibity.
6) Go to /var/log and view each file. Probably XFree86.0.log or XFree86.9.log has something that may help you.
I found this, but it was in /var/log/XFree86.log.old dated Jun28.
But, I also found the same string in /var/log/XFree86.log dated just a few minutes ago
This wouldn't cause it but nothing else (I really can't read hex) look abnormal.
(II) I810(0): Not using mode "1280x1024" (height too large for virtual size)
*(WW) (1600x1200,monitor1) mode clock 162MHz exceeds DDC maximum 110MHz
(WW) (1600x1200,monitor1) mode clock 175.5MHz exceeds DDC maximum 110MHz
(WW) (1600x1200,monitor1) mode clock 189MHz exceeds DDC maximum 110MHz
(WW) (1600x1200,monitor1) mode clock 202.5MHz exceeds DDC maximum 110MHz
(WW) (1600x1200,monitor1) mode clock 229.5MHz exceeds DDC maximum 110MHz
(II) I810(0): Not using built-in mode "1600x1200" (hsync out of range)
After you type in your monitors maximum settings, your desire resolution, and your desire refresh rate, it will then generate ModeLine. Just copy and paste it in /etc/X11/XF86Config where all the ModeLine are located. The first one on the list gets the highest priority. Use # to comment or disable a line.