hard drive replacement questions

Henry Yen blinux-mail at AegisInfoSys.com
Tue Oct 2 03:58:51 UTC 2012

On Tue, Oct 02, 2012 at 00:21:26AM +0000, Jason White wrote:
> >hdparm might not be installed, whereas dmesg will always be installed.

> I use smartmontools to check hard drives. More specifically, I run the daemon
> so that any detected failures will be reported, and I can also use smartctl to
> obtain reports from individual drives.

smartmon/smartctl are also wonderful tools. They are, however, also not
installed by default on some popular distros. And, since they use a
database of hard drives, newer drives are often missing, and so only raw
data is presented; there is a bit of confusion reported as to what some of
the smartctl-reported data values mean (e.g. sometimes the higher the better,
but sometimes the lower the better).

> The Serial Attached SCSI drives on my workstation are behind a controller that
> makes them appear as a single drive.

Most specialized drive controllers are proprietary to the extent that Linux
will just reflect however the controller has been instructed to show, and the
"true" configuration is hidden from Linux. Again, to focus on the OP's problem
(laptop, 60GB probably-IDE dual-boot drive, with some unknown although hopefully
small number of bad spots developed), my suggestions are aimed at scraping
whatever data is possible from the failing drive, as quickly as possible,
because once a drive begins to exhibit such behavior, the OP is likely to
be living on borrowed time at that point.

> However, it's possible to load the sg
> kernel module (e.g., in /etc/modules or manually with modprobe)

My experience with sg/sgmod is with SCSI tape backup systems. This is an
area where Linux seems relatively primitive. It does work, mostly, but
there is lots of voodoo in terms of timing and waiting long enough for
asynchronous "stuff" to finish...

By the way, anyone using SCSI ought to have the "sg3-utils" package
installed -- that's a pretty complete swiss-army knife toolset.

> Fortunately I don't have to deal with Microsoft Windows at all, on any of my
> machines, so I haven't had any experience of installing or copying it.

Lucky you.

Henry Yen                                       Aegis Information Systems, Inc.
Senior Systems Programmer                       Hicksville, New York

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