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Thread: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

  1. #1
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    recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    My girlfriend's laptop, running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been acting odd - signing her out of skype and refusing to log back in; failing to update weather log files; etc - so we have to reboot it. When we do, it loads the grub menu, but once that disappears, it never goes any further. It just sits there at a blank screen, Ubuntu colored, but no logo. Eventually, we have to power it down manually and turn it back on. Every time, we get this error message.

    Code:
    /dev/sda1 contains a file system with errors, check forced.
    /dev/sda1:
    Inodes that were part of a corrupted orphan linked list found.
    
    /dev/sda1: UNEXPECTED INCONSISTENCY: RUN fsck MANUALLY.
          (i.e. without -a or -p options)
    fsck exited with status code 4
    The root filesystem on /dev/sda1 requires a manual fsck
    
    BusyBox v1.27.2 (Ubuntu 1:1.27.2-2ubuntu3.3) built-in shell (ash)
    ENter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
    
    (initramfs)
    To get the laptop back up and running, I have to boot to a live USB, manually run fsck, fixing the issues it finds and then rebooting. It works fine for a couple to a few hours then, does it again.

    I would assume a hard drive failing, except... My laptop is doing the EXACT same thing now. Both running Ubuntu 18.04, but two different manufacturers - both the laptops and the hard drives (mine is actually an ssd; hers is a physical drive) - yet we are both experiencing the exact same issues starting on the exact same day!

    Is it possible something in an update could have caused this? If not, any other ideas on what I can look for? Any other information you might need, just ask...

  2. #2
    Topsiho's Avatar
    Topsiho is offline Grande Half-n-Half Cinnamon Ubuntu
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Reading your text it appears to me that the fault is not your laptops, so it must be your Ubuntu's which is just the opposite thing I always think first.
    Your suggestion it might be a faulty update might be on spot. If so, probably more people have had this update, and this issue, and might respond here. You could try whether another update resolves your problems. I have experienced this a few times myself (not often, 2 times or so since Dapper in 2006).

    As your computer starts from a live USB-stick, this makes it more probable.

    If another update does not help (soon enough) you might try whether a new install (with 20.04?) might help.

    My two pennies, I wish you luck.

    Topsiho

  3. #3
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    It looks like you experience some I/O error on hard drive access, which causes the filesystem to be remounted in read-only mode. That causes applications to fail. Then you reboot and find filesystem corruption.

    Normally, this sounds like a hard drive problem, but with this happening on two computers at the same time, that's unlikely. Not impossible though, maybe vibrations at your place have just the right frequency to shake loose the hard drive connectors. Check them anyway. Overheating is another possibility. Are you using your computers in an exceptionally hot or dusty environment?

    If this is caused by an update, I expect more people with the same problem. But 18.04 is a bit older and less commonly used (except, maybe, on servers). And maybe this is triggered by a package less commonly installed, but installed on both of your computers. Maybe you can find a package that was upgraded on both computers just before this problem arose. You can find the upgrades in the log files:
    Code:
    grep " upgrade " /var/log/dpkg.log
    grep " upgrade " /var/log/dpkg.log.1
    Filesystem damage must happen at quite a deep level in your system. This is not a faulty application, as applications never access the hard drive directly. A bug in an application can damage a file, but not a filesystem. So if this is a bug, it must be in a filesystem driver or something like that. Have you done anything peculiar with the partitioning of the harddrives? Using LVM, RAID, any filesystems other than ext4?

  4. #4
    Topsiho's Avatar
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    It seems that my wife's laptop, running Ubuntu 18.04 too, has trouble with the latest installed kernel, numbered 151-generic. It refuses to halt in the normal manner, having to be forced to do so, and with determination too.
    In /var/crash are several crash reports, none of them the same, during the last week.
    I now have it start from the previous kernel, 147-generic, and am hoping for the best.
    I guess many computers still run with Ubuntu 18.04, as it runs (usually) quite well, so no reason to upgrade yet.

    Had to report this, in my previous post there was no reason yet.

    Topsiho

  5. #5
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Topsiho View Post
    It seems that my wife's laptop, running Ubuntu 18.04 too, has trouble with the latest installed kernel, numbered 151-generic. It refuses to halt in the normal manner, having to be forced to do so, and with determination too.
    In /var/crash are several crash reports, none of them the same, during the last week.
    I now have it start from the previous kernel, 147-generic, and am hoping for the best.
    I guess many computers still run with Ubuntu 18.04, as it runs (usually) quite well, so no reason to upgrade yet.

    Had to report this, in my previous post there was no reason yet.

    Topsiho
    Now that you mention it... I do remember hers coming up with the "system has detected an error message - report?" box when it comes up and that MAY be after we've had to shut it down for the same reason you mentioned. I forgot about that!

    I'll have to check those logs myself when I get home.

  6. #6
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Impavidus View Post
    It looks like you experience some I/O error on hard drive access, which causes the filesystem to be remounted in read-only mode. That causes applications to fail. Then you reboot and find filesystem corruption.

    Normally, this sounds like a hard drive problem, but with this happening on two computers at the same time, that's unlikely. Not impossible though, maybe vibrations at your place have just the right frequency to shake loose the hard drive connectors. Check them anyway. Overheating is another possibility. Are you using your computers in an exceptionally hot or dusty environment?

    If this is caused by an update, I expect more people with the same problem. But 18.04 is a bit older and less commonly used (except, maybe, on servers). And maybe this is triggered by a package less commonly installed, but installed on both of your computers. Maybe you can find a package that was upgraded on both computers just before this problem arose. You can find the upgrades in the log files:
    Code:
    grep " upgrade " /var/log/dpkg.log
    grep " upgrade " /var/log/dpkg.log.1
    Filesystem damage must happen at quite a deep level in your system. This is not a faulty application, as applications never access the hard drive directly. A bug in an application can damage a file, but not a filesystem. So if this is a bug, it must be in a filesystem driver or something like that. Have you done anything peculiar with the partitioning of the harddrives? Using LVM, RAID, any filesystems other than ext4?
    No... my file system is pretty standard ext4. It is hotter than Hades here right now, but no hotter than usual. This all seems to start just suddenly on both systems. I don't think there are any packages installed on hers at all that don't come built in. So that shouldn't be it...

  7. #7
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Topsiho View Post
    It seems that my wife's laptop, running Ubuntu 18.04 too, has trouble with the latest installed kernel, numbered 151-generic. It refuses to halt in the normal manner, having to be forced to do so, and with determination too.
    In /var/crash are several crash reports, none of them the same, during the last week.
    I now have it start from the previous kernel, 147-generic, and am hoping for the best.
    I guess many computers still run with Ubuntu 18.04, as it runs (usually) quite well, so no reason to upgrade yet.

    Had to report this, in my previous post there was no reason yet.

    Topsiho
    Now my system is just freezing randomly. I can see that the temperature isn't overheating, so that's not it. I do see that my kernel is the same 151-generic as yours. How did you force it to run the 147? Maybe I'll try that...

  8. #8
    Topsiho's Avatar
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Quite easy: choose the other kernel from the grub menu if it is visible when booting the computer.
    If it is hidden (not visible) press Shift several times when booting (Legacy) or Esc (Uefi).
    You'll probably have to try this a few times (to get the knack of it).
    To make the grub menu not hidden at boot you'll have to change (as root, using sudo) the file /etc/default/grub.
    There is a line

    GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=hidden

    in which hidden should be changed to menu

    After saving this file you should do

    sudo update-grub

    and try and restart your computer.

    This will show the menu at boot, and so you can select the other kernel, avoiding the 151 one.

    Hope you have as much success as I did.

    Probably, after the next update, you can revert (bring back) /etc/default/grub to the old situation, just to make the computer as user friendly as possible.

    Topsiho

  9. #9
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Topsiho View Post
    Quite easy: choose the other kernel from the grub menu if it is visible when booting the computer.


    I'll try that now. Thank you. Hopefully this gets taken care of soon!

  10. #10
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    Re: recurring hard drive corruption all of a sudden on two different computers!

    Before assuming it is the kernel, I'd rule out bad hardware issues. Besides having to systems with the same issue, I'd look at the HDD, SSD, and cables to those devices. A bad update _could_ have happened, which would lead to something upstream - like the router/switch introducing corrupted files.

    I'm running 18.04 and haven't seen kernel issues that weren't traced back to hardware problems. It is the HWE kernel:
    Code:
    $ uname -r
    5.4.0-80-generic
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/LTSEn..._Bionic_Beaver

    After you rule out the other hardware issues, only then would I look at software or corruption or kernel issues. Do the easy things first. SMART data should be clear if the storage is having issues. Run long tests, then do a report.

    If your storage has any odd components, say Intel Optane (or whatever they call it), then that would be important to note and search for issues around.

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