View Full Version : [ubuntu] Possible failing hard drive or something else ? (crash + does not boot afterwards)

January 8th, 2011, 07:07 AM
Right now Ubuntu (10.10, 32 bit) won't start: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10057323/DSCN0364.png

I'm writing this using Ubuntu on a flash drive (like a live CD).

Some information:

Two moths ago my motherboard died and had to be replaced (old PC from 2006). I used windows XP for a few weeks after that until it crashed and won't boot afterwards (when starting it after trying to load for a few minutes it would bluescreen complaining about a missing dll and reboot - and crash again and so on).

I decided it wasn't worth the trouble to fix it and installed Ubuntu on another partition (20 GB) on the same HDD. I set it up as a dual boot and left the 30 GB win XP partition intact.

Everything was great again for a few weeks until:
- a few days ago Ubuntu froze completely. Didn't respond to the keyboard or mouse. I left it a few minutes, maybe it would recover - nope. I forced a shutdown (holding the power button). On reboot it said it needed to run checkdisk - I left it do its thing. All was alright after that except for OpenOffice Word complaining that it lots its config file.

- a day after that - same freeze while copying some files. Forced a shutdown again as there was nothing I could do. After that it wouldn't boot - kept sending me into BusyBox and saying it can mount some directories (see the picture at the beginning of the post). On boot, choosing another kernel, or Recovery mode didn't make any difference.

I used Ubuntu Live CD - initially I couldn't mount the ext4 partion. I used the check feature from GParted (here's the log: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10057323/gparted_details.htm Note: I edited some filenames for privacy reasons - replaced them with EDITED). After that I mounted all the partitions on that HDD successfully in Nautilus and backed up a few files on another HDD.
After that Ubuntu turned on just fine. The only things I lost this time was Transmission's settings.

Yesterday - weird crash - the menu and taskbar disappeared and the few remaining programs (Xchat and Rhythmbox) looked like they were running on windows 2000 (low graphics mode?). I activated the shut down (used the shutdown button on my keyboard - Ubuntu asked to confirm - Yes). It looked like a normal shut-down - then l it got stuck. I forced the shutdown again.

It turned on after that and ran OK for a few hours and then all of the sudden Rhythmbox stopped playing. It seems that none of the files would play. Note: the files were on another HDD. I tried to open a picture (jpg) on the desktop - it gave me an error that there's no program installed to handle it. Same with a text file. I couldn't open any programs from the menu - it said that the launcher pointed to an invalid location. Chrome wouldn't open any new sites though the tabs already open were fine. By now I noticed that many buttons on the interface lost their graphics. Desktop effects worked fine though.
I checked the LED on the PC case that indicates HDD activity - as expected - off - and nothing I did (trying to open files or run programs) made any difference. It was as if all the the running programs still loaded in RAM ran somewhat OK but the HDD was off-limits. I triggered a shutdown from Ubuntu - looked like it was shutting down - got stuck - so I forced it.

Next Ubuntu won't turn on - see the picture at the beginning of the post.

My question: what's causing this? Is the HDD (3 years old) holding the OS dying or it's something else?

January 9th, 2011, 01:25 AM
Go to your hard drive manufacturers web site and download and use the diagnostic tools to check to see if your hard drive is dying.