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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 03-10-2005, 10:50 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2004
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A little help with checking the hard drive.

Okay. Here's my problem. I have a friend that got a laptop from one of her friends. It works fine except for one problem. The laptop will mysteriously power itself off (hard shutdown) at random intervals.

At first I assumed it was a power supply problem but as far as I can tell the power supply is fine and the CMOS battery is ok. I next started checking for a heat problem (bad cooling fan or heatsink). The cooling fans in the system seem to be working fine and all the vents are clean (no dust).

My friend did have to purchase a hard drive for this computer because it came without one. She got it from some online auction. Here's the information from HardDrake (Mandrake 10.1 installed now.)

Vendor: ‎Toshiba
Model: ‎MK2023GAS
Media class: ‎hd
Bus identification
Device ID: ‎0
Bus: ‎ide
Channel: ‎primary
Old device file: ‎/dev/hda
New devfs device: ‎/dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/disc
Primary partitions: ‎1 (hda1)
Extended partitions: ‎2 (hda5, hda6)
Geometry: ‎2432/255/63 (CHS)
Disk controller: ‎0

Can anyone tell me how to run a check disk program in Linux that will test the hard drive for errors? I can't find the command for it and would like to check the hard drive.

I can't give you a PC vendor name because all that's written on the bottom is Pronotebooks Ultra 5600. I haven't been able to find any info on it at all. The laptop was doing the same type of shutdown with WinXP Pro. From looking inside I know it has a Sis chipset with a PIII 1Gig processor. Video, audio, NIC and modem are all identified as Sis.

The good thing is that the system seems to like Mandrake better than Windows. Any help that any of the geniuses out there can give would be appreciated.

Old 03-10-2005, 11:48 PM   #2
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Glasgow
Distribution: Fedora / Solaris
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The utility you're looking for is 'badblocks'. Check the man page for further enlightenment. You might want to run it from something like a knoppix CD, so that you can do a (more thorough) -w 'destructive' test. This will wipe out the contents of the drive, though.


P.S. The behaviour you're describing doesn't really sound like a dying hard drive, but if the power's OK, and it's not overheating, then I suppose it could be. You might want to re-seat the RAM, and make sure all the connections are clean on the battery etc.
Old 03-11-2005, 02:14 AM   #3
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Location: Boise, ID
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I agree with ilikejam, and would also suggest checking RAM. If your friend at some point added more RAM, the new RAM may not be compatible with the old. If that's not the case and the RAM has been untouched since the beginning, maybe it's got a flaw and needs to be replaced. If you have not already done so, you might want to take a look at memtest86 Good luck with it -- J.W.
Old 03-11-2005, 12:58 PM   #4
Registered: Oct 2004
Posts: 54

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Thanks guys.

I'll check the memory out with the link provided. This system is a bit odd. I've been on now for over four hours ("Knock oon wood!!!") with no glitches. Not really sure what to make of it.


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