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Old 02-25-07, 10:23 PM   #1
phantomcow2
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:( Please help!! What piece of hardware just failed?

Damnit. I win a super duper auction on eBay just 2 hours ago, one hour later my ___ing comp fails! WHY?!!!

So, I am on my Fedora Core system happily burning a CD and responding to emails. I pull out a USB flashdrive as well. I notice suddenly, things are lagging a lot. I try control alt backspace (which normally brings you to the login screen in Linux, it's like ctrl+alt+del in Windows). No response.
So I go to restart comp.

It goes through the normal startup until it gets to a point where it says "seraching for journal, ext2 not found". Something among those lines. I try this again many times with no success. Ext2 is a hard drive format...

Then somehow I got into a point where I had grub and that's all. So I stick in my Linux rescue CD. It gets to the point where it is searching for other linux distro's. THen it says it found none, therefor cannot continue. I was just using Linux 30 minutes prior..

So I stick in the Fedora Core CD1 and try to do a reinstall. And....it says HDC must erase all data for some reason. Reluctantly, I say okay. It says Hdc cannot be recognized.

I try booting off a Live Linux, it won't work. I have my BIOS to first try booting off my DVD rom, then CD burner. I stick in a Linux live in each one and get the same result:
A black screen with white text saying Insert proper boot media into disc and press any key to reboot".

I've run my Knoppix CD on this very comp before . So I know some hardware has failed, but any ideas what? I thought it might be the hard drive, but really it's made no squealing noises or anything irregular. It's a maxtor, about 2 or 3 years old. I've got hard drives from 5+ years ago that still work.
Motherboard is an MSI Neo, a little over a year old.
RAM is about a year old, a 400mhz stick of Crucial. 512MB
Intel P4 2.8ghz processor with stock heatsink (I know, but I am too cheap to upgrade)

I think it is hte motherboard at fault, which would be ideal because I want some of the things on that hardrive. I think that whatever takes care of handling data from your IDE devices has gone capoot. But I don't really know, and don't to just start buying replacement parts with just my instinct to go on. Can anybody help please?
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Old 02-25-07, 10:26 PM   #2
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It sounds like it's either the motherboard or the hard drive. Have a spare of either to troubleshoot with?

With the hard drive, it might be that the boot sector failed or became corrupted - as long as you hard drive is spinning, there are ways to recover data and programs - even if it has gone bad.
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Old 02-25-07, 10:35 PM   #3
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CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE in Unix just sends a kill sig to X
CTRL+ALT+DELETE in Windows sends a hard reboot command to the computer (ATX only??)
they are not the same

My first line of action would be to check and doublecheck the hard drive, maybe even move it to a different IDE and check it out with the Knoppix CD.
Could be the drive, could be the IDE, could be the mobo... but I'd hold off on blaming the mobo just yet, at least until you have ruled out the drive itself.

As a note, I haven't had X freeze up on me since somewhere around 1994 or 1995, might have been a runaway process that caused it to hang and the hard reboot frizzlefried the filesystem.
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Old 02-25-07, 10:59 PM   #4
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I know nothing of linux, but I do know that I have had 3 maxtor drives die before their 4th birthday.
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Old 02-26-07, 12:59 AM   #5
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Did you accidently install vista? ...

Quote:
I try booting off a Live Linux, it won't work. I have my BIOS to first try booting off my DVD rom, then CD burner. I stick in a Linux live in each one and get the same result:
A black screen with white text saying Insert proper boot media into disc and press any key to reboot".
Nothing boots. Likely the mb, cpu or ram (heck it could even be your bios is hooped). Do you have a second computer to test the boot cd "just in case"...
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Old 02-26-07, 03:38 AM   #6
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1...Try putting HD in another box.
2 If HD works the My GF'S Guess it's the IDE/SATA controller on your moboard.
My GF is a 10 year Linux user/hardware nutjob,she keep all our stuff alive when I'm at the end of my rope and standing over my computer with a baseball bat!!
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Old 02-26-07, 03:59 AM   #7
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- without tearing things apart in a panic (or erasing or over-writing a perfectly good filesystem on your HD), first run some hardware diagnostics... be patient, thorough, and deliberate... check BIOS settings, motherboard health (temps), and then run memory (memtest) and disk checks (fdisk -l to check partitions, fsck -a to fix)... make sure all cabling is seated (repetitive heat/cool cycles can loosen components, although modern cabling and circuitry is not as susceptible)...

- it's not unusual to experience premature HD death, especially in cramped rack-mount or PC cases (heat is usually the culprit, especially with high-RPM drives)

- although i surmise that you won't read this thread until you're back in business? (i always keep a backup notebook on hand)...

:-)
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Old 02-26-07, 05:38 AM   #8
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I've got a backup notebook . Tonight, I am going to figure this out. Going to see if I can utilize another comp and stick my HD in there. *sigh* I was feeling great last night, about to go to bed a victor (and 250 dollars poorer).

My case has five fans, it's the acrylic one from Sunbeam. Quite a bit of ventilation in there.
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Old 02-26-07, 05:55 AM   #9
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This is a great system diagnostics tool. Why guess when you can know?

http://www.uxd.com/qtpro.shtml
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Old 02-26-07, 07:06 AM   #10
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It may be alright afterall (at least financially!). I have an MSI Neo2 motherboard. I like(d) it. It looks like MSI offers a 3 year warranty on the board. Straight from the horses mouth (MSIcomputer.com)

"MSI Motherboards are warranted for 3 year limited warranty (Two (2) years Parts & Labor, and the third Year Parts ONLY, shipping and handling fee will be required)."

I hope it doesn't take 2 months to go through. If it does, I might as well get a new one
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Old 02-26-07, 07:08 AM   #11
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Did you unmount the USB key before pulling it out?

I know back when I used Linux on my laptop, pulling a key without an unmount would screw the filesystem something awful....and a corupted filesystem will sometimes screw up FIPS and FDISK as well.

Do your hardware debugging, and if all looks well, consider getting your HD manufacturer's diags and perfom a low-level format (removes all customer drive configurations and restores it to manufacturer defaults).
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Old 02-26-07, 09:30 AM   #12
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Come to think of it, I think I just yanked the USB right out. But, It's never been a problem. This is the first time I've used this particular flashdrive (Sandisk U3). However, I've loaded a digital camera on there many times. It automounts, and I just pull it out when I am done. I hope that is all it is, therefor hardware wise is all well.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:30 AM   #13
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Good catch though. This actually seems likely
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Old 02-26-07, 12:54 PM   #14
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what filesystem was the drive formatted with?

if its ext2 or ext3 you will have to run fsck on it, they dont respond well to power interruptions

and it sounds like when you removed the flash drive it wasnt unmounted first, you shouldnt do that unless your damn certain its setup to automount in /etc/fstab and you know it works
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Old 02-26-07, 01:12 PM   #15
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Have you tried viagra for your "hardware" problem -- it'll get you up again in only a half hour.
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Old 02-26-07, 02:14 PM   #16
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But if you're up for more than 4 hours, AOL boots you.
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Old 02-26-07, 02:23 PM   #17
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Get more RAM.

Or buy a new rig from me.
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Old 02-26-07, 04:37 PM   #18
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So assuming the lack of unmounting was the cause of this issue, and this did corrupt my filesystem, what steps will be needed to get it back? Or am I basically stuck doing a low level format?
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Old 02-26-07, 05:01 PM   #19
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you have to run fsck on it and pray

Ive been thru this before a few times, and its the primary reason I use reiserFS

insert any linux boot disk that will allow you to get to a terminal screen or BASH shell, then run fsck on that drive

ext2 FS isnt a journaled filesystem so you might or might not get it back again

fdisk should show the partitions at the very least, if not either the drive is dead, or the IDE controller on the mobo is dead, both can be tested pretty easily
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Old 02-26-07, 05:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomcow2
So assuming the lack of unmounting was the cause of this issue, and this did corrupt my filesystem, what steps will be needed to get it back? Or am I basically stuck doing a low level format?
Here's what I think...might be wrong...

I know Linux will use delayed writes to removable drives, so it's definitely possible that you corrupted your usb drive. Shouldn't be a problem; you should be able to reformat it with mkfs or in a windows box. (I'm sure there's a less manpage-readin' way than mkfs...I'm just lazy.)

If you corrupted your HD, you did it when you powered off after ctrl-alt-backspace; as mentioned before, ctrl-alt-delete would be the order of the day there (or switch to another virtual console and try to play around there first with ctrl-alt-f2, f3, f4, etc.)

Still, that shouldn't cause THIS level of brokenness. I'm thinking a diagnosis tree would look like:

1: USB stick pulled out -- Linux attempts to sync() to it, fails to sync. This really shouldn't cause massive system brokenness, but for some reason recent versions of Linux get hurt hard by this. At work, when the NFS drive stops responding, so does my desktop. That's broken and wrong but does happen. It's possible this could happen here. BUT -- that shouldn't have hurt your main HD...

2 ...until it got rebooted without a chance to sync() your HD. Still, shouldn't cause that level of brokenness, especially not to your boot sector. (PS: It's 2007, time for a journaling filesystem. Next time, ext3 or reiserfs or basically anything but ext2. It's made to reduce fsck'ness.)

3: NONE of this should cause the system to not be able to cold boot from optical media. Double check that the BIOS says to boot off the DVD & CD drive and try again. That's definitely a hardware mobo/cd drive problem. If you can boot to lilo but not to dvd/cd, then your bios isn't set to look for them, or they're not plugged in.

Good luck dude...followup with anything else you find out.
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Old 02-26-07, 05:48 PM   #21
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Alright, well my USB is working fine. I used it cheerfully today on this laptop and at school.
I was totally unable to boot off knoppix, bios has been checked and checked again to boot off CDROM first. I even tried booting off DVDROM first and put another flavor of Live Linux in there.

I think I can get GRUB, what can I do in there?
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Old 02-26-07, 06:22 PM   #22
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Okay so I just tried booting off Fedora Core disc 1. To my surprise, I got the menu! I first tried a Linux install, but it said no Fedora Core installations exist.
I then tried a fresh install. All goes smoothly until it gets to the point where it's about to install. Please have discs 1 and 2 ready, blah blah blah.

Then it goes to install and gives this hopeful message:
"Input/output error reading device dev/hdc"

This is definitely either my HD or mobo .
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Old 02-26-07, 06:25 PM   #23
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1. go back and use the fedora disk again and see if you can get a shell prompt, use fsck and fdisk to see of you can work with the drive, if not

2. your hard drive is probably toast, try a different one or pull that one and try it in another box

also, while your at it, check ALL the connections, even the little jumper on the drive that specifies master,slave or cable select-----those do get knocked loose sometimes and some mobo's and drives are picky about that, it can and will mimic a dead drive

3. during boot, does the POST show the drive? how bout in the BIOS, does the drive show up?

4. during the fedora kernel boot up from the install disk, did you or do you see the ide and ide drives being detected?
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Old 02-26-07, 06:37 PM   #24
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Bios recognizes the drive, calls it Maxtor etc.
During the installation, all IDE's detected including drive.

For some reason, the CD that I thought had Kanotix on it did not work to boot off. But I found the German version of Knoppix on CD and it is booting off that just fine. So maybe at least that portion of the controller is fine? Is it possible that my secondary IDE controller on motherboatd (where the HD is connected to) is toast? Maybe I could connect the drive and replace the connection that the two ROM's are connected to. That is sort of working on a bandaid, but I don't care


I am going to try fschk and fstab in the German terminal.
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Old 02-26-07, 06:45 PM   #25
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chances are fsck will fix it, ive done it before

seriously, power interruption and ext2 do not mix, about 60-80% of the time you'll end up doing fsck or re-install your OS, better to fix it and move on
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