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Old 12-31-2009, 03:00 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2007
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 67

Rep: Reputation: 15
Dead hard drive, and failing ddrescue

I have been working on recovering a dead hard drive for the last 24 hours, and have made little progress. I booted a live CD and tried running ddrescue with little success. Almost every time, I get a kernel error about a segmentation fault. Sometimes I get a fairly long (1/4 screen) string of hex or octal numbers. Every now and then ddrescue will just freeze the computer, though, with no errors. It always happens at slightly different points on the disk, as all of the failed file sizes are a few 100m different. I tried both nfs and an external usb hdd for the output file. I also tried dd_rhelper with the same problem. In addition, I tried an Ubuntu live CD. The Ubuntu CD used to get a lot further; now it won't even start X, even though I'm not booting from the damaged drive. Previously, the live CD only crashed when I mounted the partition and tried to cp the files to a usb drive. (Yes... this was before I knew it was so serious.)

Does anybody have any idea what is going on? I don't even know exactly what the problem with my hard drive is. It doesn't seem to behave like the hard drives of others who have had a failed hard drive.

Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it

Last edited by tromboneman; 12-31-2009 at 03:01 PM.
Old 12-31-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Debian, sometimes BSD.
Posts: 44
Blog Entries: 13

Rep: Reputation: 21
While I don't have a precise answer for you, I once had a notebook which behaved in a similar manner. In my case, the motherboard was failing, rather than an attached device, causing increasing instability. I was lucky, because I caught on fairly early and had good backups.

If possible, try removing the drive and putting it in another computer. Perhaps running the live CD again and attempting backups.

Good luck.


Just happened upon this thread. Don't know if it will be helpful, but... Read the last few in particular.

Last edited by ofaring; 12-31-2009 at 04:02 PM.
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 01-01-2010, 08:12 PM   #3
Registered: Jan 2007
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 67

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thank you SOOOO MUCH!!! That last link you posted had the key! I booted into debugfs as it said, and managed to save almost all of the family photos on the crashed computer. Without that, they would be lost forever.

Again, thank you for your help!!!!!


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