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Thread: HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

  1. #1
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    Question HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

    Greetings folks,

    I'm suddenly having big problems booting my System76 Wild Dog desktop unit. When I try to boot up, all I see is text flying by, way too fast to read. This continues until I press the front-panel "reset" button.

    After hitting "reset," I've plugged in a live-USB flashdrive with a bootable Ubuntu-12.04 on it, and have been booting from that. (Using this flashdrive is the only way I've been able to boot over the last few days.)

    "Disk Utility" on the flashdrive's Ubuntu, when I run that utility's "SMART Data -- View SMART data and run self-tests," says that my 1-terabyte, ext3-formatted HDD has 362 bad sectors. (I don't know how serious that is or isn't.) It also has a red warning at ID #5 "Reallocated Sector Count" where at right, it shows (in red) "Normalized: 92, Worst: 92, Threshold 36, Value: 362 sectors".

    When I run Disk Utility's "Check Filesystem," it reports: "File system check on '15 GB Filesystem' (Partition 1 of ATA ST31000528AS) completed. File system is clean."

    When I boot with the live-USB (/dev/sdb), I can mount both the root ( / ) and /home partitions of the disk (/dev/sda), and I can open and look at the files in both those partitions. (The disk has a 15GB root partition, an 8GB swapspace partition and a /home partition that takes up the rest of the 900-some GBs on the disk. I'm running Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) on this disk drive and want to get the drive to boot so I can fresh-install 12.04.3 LTS on it.)

    At some point a few days ago I ran a terminal command (I forget which one) and got "The superblock could not be read" error message. So I went through the steps described here: https://linuxexpresso.wordpress.com/...ock-in-ubuntu/

    After running:

    sudo mke2fs -n /dev/sda1

    I was shown nine different superblock backup numbers, and after running

    sudo e2fsck -b <backup-number> /dev/sda1

    on all nine of them (9 times, same command, different #), nothing had changed.

    In other words every time I tried to re-boot without the flashdrive plugged in, I saw the GRUB menu first, then, below an Ubuntu logo, a thermometer bar moves left-right, left-right for a full minute or so, then the busybox-type black screen with the white text flying by.

    I have a boot-repair report here: http://paste.ubuntu.com/6632700/

    My question is, whether this is a superblock issue or not, how can I repair the disk so I can boot from it again?

    Thanks!
    Using uh-BOON-too MAH-tay 14.04.2 on a 64-bit Wild Dog from System76. Quad core Q9650 3GHz; 8 GB ram; 1 GB PNY nVidia GeForce GTS 450; three 1-TB SATA IIs. I use Vim, not gedit, and Zsh, not bash.

  2. #2
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    Re: Help! -- HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

    Last edited by Iowan; December 28th, 2013 at 11:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help! -- HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

    Moved to Hardware.
    Linux User #415691 Ubuntu User #8629
    Iowa Team (LoCo): [Wiki] [Launchpad]
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  4. #4
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    Re: HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

    I would stop trying to recover that drive and create an image (which can be done from System>Disks>copy or a bootable Acronis cd or similar) to a new HDD, boot from installation media, and do a repair install if it is offered as an option. Sounds like the bad blocks are all at beginning of the drive, which are preventing the repair. When doing a repair install go for the " I know a bit about the problem" option and choose bootloader, that will probably get you going again.

  5. #5
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    Re: HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

    Thank you for the response. I've actually decided to unplug (at least for now) the old, corrupt HDD, install a brand new identical replacement drive (just arrived today), plug the same power & data plugs that were connected to the old drive into the new one, fire up gparted and format the new drive the same as the old (15 GB root; 8 GB swap; the rest as /home).

    The only change in formatting I'll make is that the old drive used the ext3 filesystem, I see no reason not to use ext4 for the new one. My Sys76 box is 4 years old but I don't think that should create any problems with using ext4. I am, however, going to leave the BIOS firmware in place, I think, and not try to mess with UEFI. (It's doubtful I'd know what I was doing by trying to make a change like that on older hardware.)

    I'm putting ubuntu 12.0.4.3 onto a USB stick right now so that I can boot from that and then install it onto the new drive. (The live-USB I'm booting from now is an older 12.04; I'd prefer to install the current dot-three updated version.)

    Then later, I'll move most of the files over from the old to the new.

    At that point I'm a little unsure about how to connect the old one as a 2nd drive and make the old one a /dev/sdb or /dev/sdc or whatever, where to go to do that (only in gparted or other places like /etc/fstab too?) and if I need to modify things like /etc/fstab entries and so on, how to make sure the two drives play nice & make it so the old one doesn't try to boot (remove its boot flag in gparted?).

    askubuntu.com has been a help, also http://www.ubuntu.com/download/deskt...tick-on-ubuntu

    I'm new to installing & partitioning drives & have never updated or installed an Ubuntu (or any other) OS. However, I've been reading a lot over the last few days and I'm thinking it should go okay. (I'm sure I'll be back here if it doesn't.)

    At any rate, I hope this sounds like a moderately prudent course of action.
    Last edited by watchpocket; December 29th, 2013 at 11:25 PM.
    Using uh-BOON-too MAH-tay 14.04.2 on a 64-bit Wild Dog from System76. Quad core Q9650 3GHz; 8 GB ram; 1 GB PNY nVidia GeForce GTS 450; three 1-TB SATA IIs. I use Vim, not gedit, and Zsh, not bash.

  6. #6
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    Re: HDD sda1 mounts but won't boot (1TB HDD, ext3, desktop)

    Replaced the drive, partitioned it, installed 12.04.3, all, amazingly, without a hitch.
    Using uh-BOON-too MAH-tay 14.04.2 on a 64-bit Wild Dog from System76. Quad core Q9650 3GHz; 8 GB ram; 1 GB PNY nVidia GeForce GTS 450; three 1-TB SATA IIs. I use Vim, not gedit, and Zsh, not bash.

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