linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup - Setup

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Thread: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

  1. linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Hello-

    In the 10 years Ive used Linux, this is the first Ive had a severe
    problem like
    this. Problem started when I reboot my machine after a simple video
    card swap.
    Had some error and it appeared the Inode got messed up. Typically
    Linux is good
    at fixing it so I just reboot, but it wouldnt reboot. Next I
    installed fedora 6 on a new
    500Gb drive and put the 'bad' drive as slave. After several attempts
    to boot up
    (it wouldnt recognize the bad drive and not even boot), it finally
    boot up. I ran
    e2fsck -b (multiple of 16384) /dev/hdb2
    and e2fsck happily started to find errors, which I said 'y' to about
    100 fix,
    clear and inode stuff. e2fsck ran for about 4 hours (160Gb drive).
    It didnt
    appear to finish and seemed like it was hung. The /var/log/messages
    file
    had a ton of errors for /dev/hdb which I figured were normal
    considering its
    bad shape. I reboot the system figuring I would re-run e2fsck.....

    The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and
    it
    either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot
    once
    but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.

    I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.

    Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    experience)?
    Thanks,
    Jeff


  2. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    "Jeff" writes:

    >Hello-


    >In the 10 years Ive used Linux, this is the first Ive had a severe
    >problem like
    >this. Problem started when I reboot my machine after a simple video
    >card swap.
    >Had some error and it appeared the Inode got messed up. Typically
    >Linux is good
    >at fixing it so I just reboot, but it wouldnt reboot. Next I
    >installed fedora 6 on a new
    >500Gb drive and put the 'bad' drive as slave. After several attempts
    >to boot up
    >(it wouldnt recognize the bad drive and not even boot), it finally
    >boot up. I ran
    >e2fsck -b (multiple of 16384) /dev/hdb2
    >and e2fsck happily started to find errors, which I said 'y' to about
    >100 fix,
    >clear and inode stuff. e2fsck ran for about 4 hours (160Gb drive).
    >It didnt
    >appear to finish and seemed like it was hung. The /var/log/messages
    >file
    >had a ton of errors for /dev/hdb which I figured were normal
    >considering its
    >bad shape. I reboot the system figuring I would re-run e2fsck.....


    >The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    >all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and
    >it
    >either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot
    >once
    >but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.


    >I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.


    That is why you make backups before the drive fails, not afterwards.
    The drive sounds like it is toast. Maybe a grain of sand, and each time you
    try to use it, it grinds up more of the disk.

    Drives always fail on power down and up-- changes of temperature, expansion
    of disks, etc.


    Eitehr write off the data on there, or find some company to try to recover
    it for you. Expect to pay many thousands of dollars if it is a disk platter
    problem. If it is just an electronic problem it is cheaper.



  3. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Jeff wrote:

    > The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    > all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and
    > it
    > either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot
    > once
    > but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.
    >
    > I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.
    >
    > Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    > experience)?


    I guess if I were in that situation
    I would go to the disk-drive manufacturer's web-site,
    and see if there was anything helpful there.

    --
    Timothy Murphy
    e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
    tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
    s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

  4. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Jeff wrote:
    ....
    > The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    > all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and it
    > either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot once
    > but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.


    > I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.


    > Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    > experience)?


    Can't say much what to do save get rid of it as slave and mount as hdc in case
    part of the failure is not playing nice with the other drive. An alternative to
    this is drop $20 on a case for an external drive with USB plug in and see if it
    works differently completely off IDE hardware. (I did get one of these to use
    old 40GB drives as backup for backup of really important material. A touch slow
    but works just fine.)

    As for back up a couple months ago I noticed how cheap the external drives are
    and dropped $115 on a 250GB external. The price has dropped since then. Look
    like inventory clearance prices before the new vertical field drive take over
    production. In any event back up to a large external drive can be done as easily
    as cp -R /home/you /mnt/external and is transparent after that. Supposedly there
    is a way to configure tar to do incremental backups but I haven't figured out
    the man page on that yet. If you figure incremental you can safely cron the
    backup task.

  5. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Matt Giwer wrote:
    > Jeff wrote:
    > ...
    >> The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    >> all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and it
    >> either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot once
    >> but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.

    >
    >> I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.

    >
    >> Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    >> experience)?

    >
    > Can't say much what to do save get rid of it as slave and mount as
    > hdc in case part of the failure is not playing nice with the other
    > drive. An alternative to this is drop $20 on a case for an external
    > drive with USB plug in and see if it works differently completely off
    > IDE hardware. (I did get one of these to use old 40GB drives as backup
    > for backup of really important material. A touch slow but works just fine.)
    >
    > As for back up a couple months ago I noticed how cheap the external
    > drives are and dropped $115 on a 250GB external. The price has dropped
    > since then. Look like inventory clearance prices before the new vertical
    > field drive take over production. In any event back up to a large
    > external drive can be done as easily as cp -R /home/you /mnt/external
    > and is transparent after that. Supposedly there is a way to configure
    > tar to do incremental backups but I haven't figured out the man page on
    > that yet. If you figure incremental you can safely cron the backup task.


    It's much better to use rsync to do backups from a disk to another
    disk, this is the shell alias I use to do backups:

    rsync --exclude-from=rsync_exclude --archive -i --delete
    ; touch ~/.backup_time

    I put in my home directory a file called rsync_exclude where I
    put the names of any files or directories I want rsync to not
    back up (due to being huge and not of much interest, stuff I could
    easily replace,etc). --archive is a short hand for a huge set of
    options that are good for archival usage (keep permissions,
    times, groups, recurse dirs, ...).
    The "-i" has it print a change summary to
    the terminal. --delete deletes files on the target that don't
    exist on the source dir that's being backed up. --delete is
    kind of dangerous but the idea is I want the backup to reflect
    the files in the source. The call to touch
    puts a file in my home so I can see when I last backed up.
    My usb disk is always mounted so I do the backup manually.
    There are fancy scripts for rsync to make it even better,
    just look them up in google (like rsnapshot)

    Mark

  6. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    On Sat, 03 Feb 2007 12:25:42 +0000, Timothy Murphy wrote:


    >Jeff wrote:


    >> The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    >> all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and
    >> it
    >> either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot
    >> once
    >> but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.
    >>
    >> I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.
    >>
    >> Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    >> experience)?


    >I guess if I were in that situation
    >I would go to the disk-drive manufacturer's web-site,
    >and see if there was anything helpful there.


    Has that ever worked for you?

    If the drive goes click-click-click then it has a blown servo. There are
    pretty much just three options:
    1) admit you ****ed up and understand that whatever you had is no more.
    2) buy an identical drive and replace the logic board
    3) pay somebody twenty grand to try and recover the data. Maybe in a clean
    room something can be repaired. Most likely all you'll do is pad their bank
    account and return to option 1.

    And of course, next time do some backups. Buying the replacement drive and it's
    replacement drive will give you an easy backup media although there's no
    substitute for regularly refreshed offsite backups.

  7. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    AZ Nomad wrote:

    >>I guess if I were in that situation
    >>I would go to the disk-drive manufacturer's web-site,
    >>and see if there was anything helpful there.

    >
    > Has that ever worked for you?


    Yes.
    Other things that have worked:
    Turning the drive upside-down;
    Giving the drive a little knock;
    Putting the drive in another machine;
    Putting the drive in a freezer.

    None of these have cured a drive,
    but they have allowed it to run long enough to get a backup.

    The reason I suggested reading the manufacturer's advice
    is that from the OP's history it did not seem like
    a straightforward drive failure.


    > If the drive goes click-click-click then it has a blown servo.


    I've always assumed it meant the drive was trying to read
    past the end of the disk, for some reason.

    > There are
    > pretty much just three options:
    > 1) admit you ****ed up and understand that whatever you had is no more.
    > 2) buy an identical drive and replace the logic board
    > 3) pay somebody twenty grand to try and recover the data. Maybe in a
    > clean
    > room something can be repaired. Most likely all you'll do is pad their
    > bank account and return to option 1.


    While what you say is almost certainly true,
    it is not absolutely certain.
    I have certainly recovered data from disks that seemed to have died.

    --
    Timothy Murphy
    e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
    tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
    s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

  8. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup


    > If the drive goes click-click-click then it has a blown servo. There are
    > pretty much just three options:
    > 1) admit you ****ed up and understand that whatever you had is no more.
    > 2) buy an identical drive and replace the logic board


    If its a blown servo, why would replacing the logic board do any good?. A
    servo is a feedback controlled motor, so you must mean the servo drive has
    blown surely ?

    Dave

  9. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Timothy Murphy wrote:

    putolin]

    >
    >> If the drive goes click-click-click then it has a blown servo.

    >
    > I've always assumed it meant the drive was trying to read
    > past the end of the disk, for some reason.
    >


    The clicking sound is the drive recalibrating, it seeks to cylinder 0.

    --
    Dancin in the ruins tonight
    Tayo'y Mga Pinoy

  10. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 12:51:10 +0000, Timothy Murphy wrote:


    >AZ Nomad wrote:


    >>>I guess if I were in that situation
    >>>I would go to the disk-drive manufacturer's web-site,
    >>>and see if there was anything helpful there.

    >>
    >> Has that ever worked for you?


    >Yes.
    >Other things that have worked:
    >Turning the drive upside-down;
    >Giving the drive a little knock;
    >Putting the drive in another machine;
    >Putting the drive in a freezer.



    You went to a disk maker's website and they told you to smack the drive
    around? I find that *really* hard to believe.

  11. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 09:25:40 -0500, Baho Utot wrote:


    >Timothy Murphy wrote:


    >putolin]


    >>
    >>> If the drive goes click-click-click then it has a blown servo.

    >>
    >> I've always assumed it meant the drive was trying to read
    >> past the end of the disk, for some reason.
    >>


    >The clicking sound is the drive recalibrating, it seeks to cylinder 0.


    That sound to me sounds like moving the arm against it's end of travel stop.
    That's what I'd expect if the drive can't read the disk to even find where
    it is at.

  12. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 14:23:50 +0000, gort wrote:



    >> If the drive goes click-click-click then it has a blown servo. There are
    >> pretty much just three options:
    >> 1) admit you ****ed up and understand that whatever you had is no more.
    >> 2) buy an identical drive and replace the logic board


    >If its a blown servo, why would replacing the logic board do any good?. A
    >servo is a feedback controlled motor, so you must mean the servo drive has
    >blown surely ?



    Head positioning is done by servo.
    Speed control is doen by a servo on the logic board.

    The motor for the most part on a hard drive is just a few windings. The
    electronics that drive it are on the logic board.

  13. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup


    > Head positioning is done by servo.
    > Speed control is doen by a servo on the logic board.
    >
    > The motor for the most part on a hard drive is just a few windings. The
    > electronics that drive it are on the logic board.


    Yes I know. You said the servo was blown, so replace the logic board. If the
    servo, ie the actual servo drive was blown, replacing the control
    electronics wont do anything.

    Dave


  14. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Ok, after I bought a new 500Gb drive, loaded fedora 6 again, got
    things
    running and read your posts, I tried putting the 'bad' drive in a USB
    drive
    based on a suggestion by one of you. It clicked about 5 times and
    then
    spun down. I thought ok, its dead (again). Then tried to do some
    basic
    commands on my box like ps, ls, etc and got input/output error. I
    thought
    hmm, odd, Ill reboot. On reboot the OS isnt found and then I ran
    fedora 6
    rescue and it doesnt find any valid drives!

    This dead disk is a disk from hell now. Why in the world does linux
    rescue
    NOT see the 'good' drive? Then I tried reloading fedora 6 and it says
    'no valid devices found to load linux' or something like that.

    New suggestions?
    Jeff


  15. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    >
    > This dead disk is a disk from hell now. Why in the world does linux
    > rescue
    > NOT see the 'good' drive? Then I tried reloading fedora 6 and it says
    > 'no valid devices found to load linux' or something like that.
    >
    > New suggestions?
    > Jeff



    Ok, sorry for last post, although I think it was strange. When I
    powered
    down and reboot, things were fine. That disk (apparently) put
    something
    in memory that seriously messed up the system. I *HOPE* all stays
    well for a long time again! That bad disk is going in the trash!

    Jeff



  16. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 17:03:24 +0000, gort wrote:



    >> Head positioning is done by servo.
    >> Speed control is doen by a servo on the logic board.
    >>
    >> The motor for the most part on a hard drive is just a few windings. The
    >> electronics that drive it are on the logic board.


    >Yes I know. You said the servo was blown, so replace the logic board. If the
    >servo, ie the actual servo drive was blown, replacing the control
    >electronics wont do anything.


    The servo is contained in the firmware on the logic board. An open read head
    will break the servo's feedback loop.


  17. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Mark Schlegel wrote:
    > Matt Giwer wrote:
    >> Jeff wrote:
    >> ...
    >>> The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    >>> all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and it
    >>> either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot
    >>> once
    >>> but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.

    >>
    >>> I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.

    >>
    >>> Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    >>> experience)?

    >>
    >> Can't say much what to do save get rid of it as slave and mount as
    >> hdc in case part of the failure is not playing nice with the other
    >> drive. An alternative to this is drop $20 on a case for an external
    >> drive with USB plug in and see if it works differently completely off
    >> IDE hardware. (I did get one of these to use old 40GB drives as backup
    >> for backup of really important material. A touch slow but works just
    >> fine.)
    >>
    >> As for back up a couple months ago I noticed how cheap the
    >> external drives are and dropped $115 on a 250GB external. The price
    >> has dropped since then. Look like inventory clearance prices before
    >> the new vertical field drive take over production. In any event back
    >> up to a large external drive can be done as easily as cp -R /home/you
    >> /mnt/external and is transparent after that. Supposedly there is a way
    >> to configure tar to do incremental backups but I haven't figured out
    >> the man page on that yet. If you figure incremental you can safely
    >> cron the backup task.

    >
    > It's much better to use rsync to do backups from a disk to another
    > disk, this is the shell alias I use to do backups:
    >
    > rsync --exclude-from=rsync_exclude --archive -i --delete
    > ; touch ~/.backup_time
    >
    > I put in my home directory a file called rsync_exclude where I
    > put the names of any files or directories I want rsync to not
    > back up (due to being huge and not of much interest, stuff I could
    > easily replace,etc). --archive is a short hand for a huge set of
    > options that are good for archival usage (keep permissions,
    > times, groups, recurse dirs, ...).
    > The "-i" has it print a change summary to
    > the terminal. --delete deletes files on the target that don't
    > exist on the source dir that's being backed up. --delete is
    > kind of dangerous but the idea is I want the backup to reflect
    > the files in the source. The call to touch
    > puts a file in my home so I can see when I last backed up.
    > My usb disk is always mounted so I do the backup manually.
    > There are fancy scripts for rsync to make it even better,
    > just look them up in google (like rsnapshot)


    Better method perhaps but I don't see how this is doing or can do incremental
    backups. I don't see how this differs much from a simple shell script that lists
    the cp -R directories to copy.

    The problem with any method that makes only an exact copy is the risk of saving
    a corrupt file over a good file. So you want to be able to back up the last
    uncorrupted copy.

    --
    Palestine was wiped off the map and no one cared. Why would anyone care if
    Israel is wiped off the map?
    -- The Iron Webmaster, 3725
    nizkor http://www.giwersworld.org/nizkook/nizkook.phtml
    commentary http://www.giwersworld.org/opinion/running.phtml a5

  18. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    AZ Nomad wrote:

    >>>>I guess if I were in that situation
    >>>>I would go to the disk-drive manufacturer's web-site,
    >>>>and see if there was anything helpful there.
    >>>
    >>> Has that ever worked for you?

    >
    >>Yes.
    >>Other things that have worked:
    >>Turning the drive upside-down;
    >>Giving the drive a little knock;
    >>Putting the drive in another machine;
    >>Putting the drive in a freezer.

    >
    >
    > You went to a disk maker's website and they told you to smack the drive
    > around? I find that *really* hard to believe.


    I guess English is not your native language.
    Look up "other" in the dictionary.

    --
    Timothy Murphy
    e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
    tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
    s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

  19. Re: linux hard drive failed, clicking on bootup

    Many good points have already been covered in other reply posts. I'll
    try to at least mostly touch on some other points of note which I
    didn't see as being mentioned, or may have been just covered lightly
    or not addressed some point(s) I wanted to make.

    Mostly some suggestions on how to better handle such a scenario -
    including things which are no longer feasible.

    Jeff wrote:
    > this. Problem started when I reboot my machine after a simple video
    > card swap.
    > Had some error and it appeared the Inode got messed up. Typically


    A) Backup, backup, backup
    B) at least occasionally test/verify backups
    C) off-site backups
    D) don't forget important meta-data (e.g. enough information so that
    you could completely rebuild a replacement system, potentially on
    fairly differing hardware, with nothing more than one's off-site
    backups and the data/documentation stored with them).
    E) hard drives do and will fail; this can mostly only be predicted
    statisticly; most notably any drive can fail at any time (with or
    without "reason" or "cause" - at least in terms of individual disk
    failure being "preventable", for practical purposes).
    F) backups fail too - have enough redundancy in media such that some
    reasonably expectable failure rate (e.g. 1.5% of media - larger
    percentages for media that was last written a fairly long while
    ago).
    G) the order of the above is somewhat arbitrary (it's not necessarily
    strictly by importance or dependencies).

    "Inode got messed up."? Why do you suspect inode? Just one? That
    doesn't sound likely to be consistent with other symptom(s) you
    describe, most notably "hard drive failed, clicking". There may be
    problem(s) reading inode(s) and other data if there's a hard drive
    problem, however, but a read (or write) problem would be more
    generally indicative of the type of problem the operating system would
    be having.

    > Linux is good
    > at fixing it so I just reboot, but it wouldnt reboot. Next I


    LINUX is good at many things, ... but it's rather limited in "fixing"
    one's hardware, if the hardware is broken/defective (though it can
    work around some known bugs, support some updates of firmware and
    such, etc.)

    If at all feasible, look at diagnostics first - and save/capture them
    if feasible. Knowing more about the nature of the failure will
    generally make it more feasible to better isolate the problem, and
    also take steps that are more likely to lead to a successful recovery
    (at least to the extent feasible).

    If one's rather uncertain as to how to proceed, or what may be the
    best way to proceed, it may be highly useful to gather some "expert",
    or at least relative expert opinions/advice before proceeding - at
    least if one is rather to quite concerned about the data, and one can
    take the time to get more advice/assistance.

    > installed fedora 6 on a new
    > 500Gb drive and put the 'bad' drive as slave. After several attempts


    Perhaps, but not necessarily - and probably not - the best move.
    Adding new hardware, particularly when closely associated with failed
    or suspect hardware may only complicate fault isolation. Such action
    is essentially adding a new variable, before one's well isolated the
    initial failure cause. In this particular scenario, a logical first
    step, if one were inclined to make change on the hardware, would be to
    reverse the video card changes that were done just before the failure.
    If that happened to make all the problems go away, then it wasn't the
    hard drive, was it? (unless the hard drive was flawed in a way that
    the
    flaw only showed up when the change in video hardware was done).

    > to boot up
    > (it wouldnt recognize the bad drive and not even boot), it finally
    > boot up. I ran
    > e2fsck -b (multiple of 16384) /dev/hdb2
    > and e2fsck happily started to find errors, which I said 'y' to about
    > 100 fix,
    > clear and inode stuff. e2fsck ran for about 4 hours (160Gb drive).


    That could be a very bad move. fsck (and e2fsck, etc.) fix logical
    problems with filesystems. They don't correct hardware problems. The
    actions of fsck and similar, are primarily to restore (if feasible for
    fsck/e2fsck) logical consistency of the filesystem - it typically
    isn't optimized for attempting to preserve as much of one's data as
    possible on a flakey or failed/failing hard drive.

    A typical better approach (at least in many cases) would be to:
    * try a full read test of the filesystem, partition, volume, or full
    hard drive, as relevant and appropriate. If zero errors are
    encountered, that portion of the drive/data read is probably in
    relatively good shape.
    * if the above goes well, or one is curious or possibly wants to try
    troubleshooting in a slightly different order, one may try doing an
    fsck/e2fsck - but with the -n option, so no writing is done to the
    filesystem device. If that gives no errors, or only some rather to
    quite trivial errors, one's data may be in rather to quite good
    shape. The fsck/e2fsck -n check, however, only checks filesystem
    logical consistency - it doesn't read all the data of all the files,
    so there may still be problems - and there may also be problems with
    locations on the disk that don't presently hold data.
    Note also that it's safe to do fsck/e2fsck -n on a mounted
    filesystem - but if the filesystem is mounted rw, one may get
    diagnostics of "problems" that aren't actually problems (fsck/e2fsck
    presumes the filesystem isn't in use - if things are changing as it
    passes over the data or the filesystem wasn't synced and marked
    clean, fsck/e2fsck will generally find at least some "errors").

    If the filesystem read test (reading the full device end-to-end) gave
    no errors, in most cases, then proceeding to fsck/e2fsck would
    generally be the next logical course of action. If feasible, it may
    however be useful to copy the entire filesystem device elsewhere (and
    not to the same disk if the disk is potentially still suspect), and
    work on that copy, rather than the original. If one hasn't already
    done an fsck/e2fsck -n, it's probably advisable to do that first -
    that will generally give one an overview of "how bad it looks". When
    then proceeding to use fsck/e2fsck without the -n option, it's
    typically advisable to include the -y option. Unless one is rather to
    quite familiar with the filesystem details, one typically doesn't want
    to be manually picking between y and n on all the questions one would
    be prompted for if neither the -n nor the -y option were specified.

    Also, before using fsck without the -n option on the filesystem - or
    at least on the original filesystem, if feasible, it may be desirable
    to mount the filesystem read-only, and copy the data via something
    that reads the files on the filesystem (e.g. tar, cpio, etc.). In
    some/many cases that may get you much of your data. In many cases, if
    there are problems reading parts of the drive (e.g. specific blocks),
    such an approach will often give you diagnostics about the particular
    file(s) that are having problems - you may not be able to get those,
    or all of those, but you might be able to get everything, or most
    everything else. Note also, however, if there are problems with
    directories, you may fail to get some or all of the contents,
    recursively, of those directories. This can also be tried both before
    an fsck/e2fsck without the -n option, and also after (the two results
    may be quite similar to identical, or may be quite substantially
    different - either one may provide better results, and which one is
    "better" may even vary depending on particular file(s)/directories on
    the filesystem.

    > It didnt
    > appear to finish and seemed like it was hung. The /var/log/messages
    > file
    > had a ton of errors for /dev/hdb which I figured were normal
    > considering its
    > bad shape. I reboot the system figuring I would re-run e2fsck.....


    All that would typically be the case with hardware problems on the
    hard drive. The I/O errors can greatly slow down, or even hang
    fsck/e2fsck. Diagnostics on the filesystem device (e.g. /dev/hdb)
    would typically be indicative of hardware read/write problems, rather
    than fsck/e2fsck diagnostics (though it may also complain).

    > The good drive is /dev/hda and the bad one is /dev/hdb...so on reboot,
    > all I get is about 5-10 repeated clicking sounds on the bad drive and
    > it
    > either wont boot at all with the bad drive on the IDE bus OR it boot
    > once
    > but no longer can see /dev/hdb at all.


    Likely a hardware problem, and probably a failed drive, but if you
    haven't already, you might want to consider some of the hardware
    troubleshooting / problem isolation steps I mentioned earlier (and
    others have mentioned some similar approaches and areas of
    consideration).

    > I have some very important stuff Id like to recover.


    See my comments further above about "expert", "advice" and "concerned
    about the data".

    If the data on the hard drive is quite important/valuable, it may be
    advisable to use, or consider using, data recovery services -
    particularly if there's critical/important data that can't be
    recovered from backup(s) and/or recreated. Note however that the
    probability of successful recovery and amounts of data thereof, may be
    quite substantially lower if one did write operations (e.g.
    fsck/e2fsck without the -n option, remounting rw, etc.) to the drive
    after the first indications of problems), and the costs for such
    recovery or attempts thereof, may be significantly higher.

    > Suggestions (other than the obvious, give up and chaulk it up to
    > experience)?


    0) Read this post, or similar materials, before taking the actions one
    did before making the original post.
    1) [re]read the information in this post (and other similarly
    available information). At least some/much of that
    advice/information is still applicable or at least partly
    applicable even after what your hard drive has thus far been
    through.
    2) For drives with stiction problems, some other more specific
    techniques might be useful, but your description doesn't sound like
    a stiction problem (sounds like one or more times your drive still
    spun up again, but still had other serious issues). (Of 4 drives I
    encountered stiction problems on several months ago, I was able to
    get 2 of those 4 drives successfully working again ... at least
    long enough to rather securely wipe their data, anyway.)


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