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Old 10-09-2004, 06:31 PM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
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External Firewire hard disk drive - mount glitches

Hi all,

My apologies for the length of this post. I wanted to include as much detail as possible up front.

I am suddenly having problems with an external IEEE-1394 hard disk that worked on an older distro.

I previously used Fedora Core 1 with the latest RPM'd 2.4 kernel. I used the well-known utility to detect the drive. I could mount it and back up my internal drive data no problem.

Since then I have upgraded to FC2, "uname -a" as follows:
Linux lithium 2.6.8-1.521 #1 Mon Aug 16 09:01:18 EDT 2004 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux

I employ a generic PCI Firewire card and a generic HD enclosure with a 160 GB Maxtor drive. I have partitioned it as follows (ouput from "fdisk -l"):

Disk /dev/sda: 163.9 GB, 163928604672 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19929 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 14590 117194143+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 14591 19929 42885517+ c W95 FAT32 (LBA)

In summary, the partition I would like to use for backing up my system is /dev/sda1, an ext2 filesystem (same errors encountered with ext3 as well).

I ordinarily run a short backup script as root:

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/1394

rsync -a --delete-after --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/dev --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys /* /mnt/1394

umount /mnt/1394

This used to work like a charm, but since upgrading I get some weird errors that suggest a problem with writing to the disk. An example error follows:

recv_generator: mkdir "/mnt/1394/var/www/icons/small" failed: No such file or directory
stat "/mnt/1394/var/www/icons/small" failed: No such file or directory

Again, I get many, many thousands of these scrolling past me (perhaps even one for every file on the machine).

In the end, rsync reports

rsync error: some files could not be transferred (code 23) at main.c(633)

To test what was going on I did some manual studies. I found that after running the script I could no longer mount the partition manually, getting a "must specify the filesystem type" error, and when I specified "-t ext2" I got

mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sda1,
or too many mounted file systems

There are only a handful of mounted filesystems, as evidenced by the output of "df -h":

/dev/hda1 20G 9.1G 9.3G 50% /
none 252M 0 252M 0% /dev/shm
/dev/hda3 90G 19G 67G 22% /home

If I reboot the system and restart the HD enclosure I still cannot mount the partition. However, deleting and remaking the parititon (with fdisk, and a partition table write in between), followed by a "/sbin/mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1" allows me to once again to mount the (now empty) partition. FYI, the output from "mkfs.ext2" is as follows:

mke2fs 1.35 (28-Feb-2004)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
14663680 inodes, 29298535 blocks
1464926 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
895 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
16384 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208,
4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872

Writing inode tables: done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

This filesystem will be automatically checked every 25 mounts or
180 days, whichever comes first. Use tune2fs -c or -i to override.

As stated, I can mount the filesystem manually and even write files to it, unmount, remount, and see the files. However, rsync, as always, fails. After failure, running fsck on the partition returns a superblock error, and directing it to use a backup superblock returns the same error (I didn't write down the exact wording).

I am thus at a loss. It seems like if any large amount of information is written to the drive the problem occurs, so I can't back up my disk! I am unsure if this is a hardware problem or a software bug.

Anyone have any ideas?



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