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Old 01-22-2005, 03:50 PM   #1
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Linux 2.4.20-8 "input/output error"

Hi !
I have recently started working on linux plateform after so many years of Windowing. So i am sort of newbie as well .

Just 3 days back first time installation, with presence of Windows XP Professional, was piece of cake and i perfomed a

complete installation (nearly 5 GB space taken). GNOME, KDE and every other tool worked excellently. But there is a serious

problem that occured today and it prevents loading of X Windows system as a side effect. So there is neither GNOME nor KDE

anymore. Please note that I am absolutely sure (100%) that the system/configuration files are not tempered with or accidently

modified. Working for several hours on it upto now, i have the following findings.

Dell Optiplex 933 MHz (256 MB RAM) (80 GB HDD Seagate - new, bought last month)
Redhat Linux 9 (Kernal 2.4.20-8) (XFree86 4.3.0-2) (GRUB loader) (10 GB space)
Windows XP Professional (70 GB space)

1. /etc/X11/XF86Config tells that XFree86 fails because mouse driver fails to load (located in /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/input).

As a consequence despite of runlevel 5, I end up at command prompt.

2. Navigating to directory /usr/X11R6/lib/modules reveals that "input" directory exists but cannot be entered (error message

is "input/output error"). The directory cannot be removed or renamed or "chmod" or anything else. Its permissions cannot be

checked as "ls -l" doesn't show it in the listing (only "ls" shows it).

3. Further pondering on the problem shows that 4 other directories (all in "/usr") are also in agreement with the above one.

For example /usr/share/tuxracer/music , /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/linux.
# debugfs: stat <<directory name>> responds with permission, block and all other fields as empty or zero except ctime,

mtime and atime and INode (180734 for "input" , 180718 for "music" directory)

4. Now keeping the X Window problem aside and focusing on this linux file system problem.
a. /var/log/messages only registers the failure to load X Windows system.
b. running "dmesg" shows some lengthy output. Nothing look bad in it.
c. running "fsck" warns and then repairs file system but no gain.

5. Googling the net for it, i can say that its not some hard disk problem, how can so many people around the world

(unfortunatley no one was properly answered) have problem in their hard disk in the exact location of "input" directory? and

also 70 out of 80 GB is used by windows, it declares its portion of disk cent per cent OK...

6. Rebooting, changing runlevels, mounting/unmounting file systems nothing seem to work.


I logged on as root from the graphical login screen into KDE. Just moved here and there and then logged off to be logged back

in as "rashid" user. Strangely, message received that my account is expired. /var/log/messages recorded this fact as this
"gdm(pam_unix)[2543]: account rashid has expired (failed to change password)"
"gdm-binary[2543]: User rashid no longer permitted to access the system"

I logged back in as root into KDE and reset "rashid" state and password using GUI tool. With this logg off the X window never

started. Keeps logging the following message in /var/log/messages on every attempt
gdm[2543]: gdm_slave_xioerror_handler: Fatal X error - Restarting :0
gdm[3607]: gdm_slave_xioerror_handler: Fatal X error - Restarting :0
gdm[2494]: deal_with_x_crashes: Running the XKeepsCrashing script
gdm[2494]: Failed to start X server several times in a short time period; disabling display :0

NOTE: All this boils down to the unaccessibility of modules/input directory resulting in no driver loading for mouse by

XFree86 and as a result crashing without any mercy...


1. Is this some inherent problem in the linux kernal or KDE did something terrable to linux on my last GUI login?
2. How can I recover from this problem instead of reinstalling linux all over? Is there any patch for this problem for

2.4.20-8 kernal?

Thanks in anticipation,
Regards, Rashid.
Old 01-22-2005, 04:50 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

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Okay at first I thought you accidently double posted in Linux - General, but now seeing you have two here in Linux - Newbie, your just simply cross posting which is clearly against our rules you agreed to and ok'd when registering.



Last edited by MasterC; 01-22-2005 at 05:50 PM.
Old 01-22-2005, 05:50 PM   #3
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT - USA
Distribution: Gentoo ; LFS ; Kubuntu ; CentOS ; Raspbian
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