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Old 11-30-2006, 08:30 AM   #1
Nathaniel Firet
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Exit 8A, New Jersey
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
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Exclamation Partition scrozzled, grub hangs


Hi, all,

For no apparent reason, my box (Dell Dimension 4100, Fedora Core 5) stopped booting yesterday night. I was able to run scandisk, which did not report any problems except 1 4 meg hunk of unused space.

The symptom is that, on boot, the disk grinds away (seek,seek,seek,seek, ... pause..., repeat) for a while and then I'm being thrown into the grub command line interface. No other errors.

I'm no expert on grub, and my own notes are too dang sketchy, but I was able to determine that I have the following partitions:

hd0,0: FAT, partition type 0xb
hd0,1: ext2fs, 0x83
hd0,4: ext2fs, 0x83

There's another hard drive in the system from an older computer, but it's irrelevant to this problem. I get exactly the same symptoms when I unplug the ribbon cable.

I dimly recollect setting up hd0,1 as / and hd0,4 as /root. But I could easily be wrong.

I tried briefly to reverse-engineer what grub was trying to do. I did root (hd0,<partition>) to all three partitions, then cat /boot/menu.lst (hoping that that's where the menu file is.)

On (hd0,0) and (hd0,1) I'm getting "File not found." Fair nuff. But when I try "cat /boot/menu.lst" on (hd0,4), I get the (seek,seek,seek,seek, ... pause..., repeat) sounds, then:

Error 18: Selected cylinder exceeds maximum supported by BIOS

So, I have a couple of questions:

1. Can I possibly recover from this situation without wiping everything out?
2. If I can't boot without a total wipeout, is there at least a way to burn some of the files on (hd0,1) to CDROM or to a memory stick?

Any help appreciated. Thanks!

- Steve.
 
Old 11-30-2006, 08:37 AM   #2
sn68
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Registered: Oct 2005
Distribution: FC5
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I sincerely hope that scandisk didnot make any changes to your disk coz while linux will understand windows, for windows linux is unformatted disk space.
Having said that you can reinstall grub and try & boot again (google reinstall grub)
OR
reinstall fedora by choosing upgrade option, that should save your data
OR/AND
use a liveCD version of linux to save your data before you experiment
 
Old 11-30-2006, 08:41 AM   #3
Nathaniel Firet
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Exit 8A, New Jersey
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 39

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I forgot to mention, the FC5 install hangs too. Same symptoms after a few install screens. (seek,seek,seek,seek, ... pause..., repeat, but this time infinite, apparently.)

I googled for livecd and found a long list, any suggestions? Sorry for the ignorant questions...

-S.

Last edited by Nathaniel Firet; 11-30-2006 at 08:44 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2006, 09:35 AM   #4
hansalfredche
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Registered: Jun 2005
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Bad news

The symptoms sound like a defective drive. If you have a Knoppix live CD do the following:
Boot from it
Then open command line
su [enter]
smartctl --all /dev/yourharddisk (probably hda)
If the output gives no error messages:
smartctl --test=short /dev/yourharddisk (about 10min)
Then first command again and if there are no errors:
smartctl --test=long /dev/yourharddisk (takes about an hour or more)
Then again first command

If there is some message that says your hard disk is BAD, then backup immediatly and replace drive, if it isn't too late.

What kind of drive is it? Maxtor, IBM?

Last edited by hansalfredche; 11-30-2006 at 09:42 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2006, 10:03 AM   #5
Nathaniel Firet
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Exit 8A, New Jersey
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 39

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IBM drive. I'm away from the machine right now, so I can't get more specific than that.

I'm downloading the Gentoo livedisk now, but it should have smartctl on it too, I believe.

-S.
 
Old 12-04-2006, 07:33 AM   #6
Nathaniel Firet
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Exit 8A, New Jersey
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
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Update: The disk was indeed scrozzled. 915 or so errors showed up from smartctl. Fortunately, I was able to mount a Gentoo livecd and recover what was important. Then threw another hard drive into the box (Maxtor 160gb 7200rpm, $60 at Staples), reinstalled FC5, and was back on the air in a jiffy.

Thank you for your invaluable help, sn68 and hansalfredche!

- Steve.

P.S. FWIW, the failed disk was an IBM Deskstar, 60 gig, model IC35L060AVER07-0, built May 2001.
 
Old 12-04-2006, 08:06 AM   #7
hansalfredche
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Registered: Jun 2005
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Surprise!

An IBM Deathstar. Your's worked longer than most. Together with DTLA series first series of IC35L had serious reliability problems. I had two IBM's too, they both failed ...

No need to say you shouldn't use this drive any more.

BTW: If you think your Maxtor drive is to noisy when accessing, you can tune it down with hdparm (see Hardware Section for solution).
 
Old 12-04-2006, 08:54 AM   #8
Nathaniel Firet
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Exit 8A, New Jersey
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 39

Original Poster
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So far, the Maxtor is quiet as a mouse.

BTW, at the same time I took out a Quantum that had migrated from my LAST tower (circa 1993) and had been running quietly for 13 years without problems.

Best,
- Steve.
 
Old 12-04-2006, 02:40 PM   #9
Nathaniel Firet
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Exit 8A, New Jersey
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 39

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
P.S. I'm taking the Deathstar to the rifle range next week to do a high-velocity reformatting...

-S.
 
  


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