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e2fsck advice needed


I have a friend's laptop that was having some strange problems in that
it would start to boot normally and then just stop making any progress
without giving any errors at all.

Since this happens even when booting from a LiveCD, it popped the HD
out and put it into another laptop of mine to do some work on it. I
installed FC5 and yum upgraded it to FC6 and somewhere during that
process it started spewing out bad I/O errors and such so I decided to
boot to a LiveCD and run a fsck on the HD.

Normal e2fsck with no options passed fine. I decided that I should
check for badblocks so I used the double c option (e2fsck -c -c
/dev/hda2). That progressed until about halfway through the disk and
then started going very sloooooow. No errors showing yet though ... it
would update the number once every minute or two whereas the first
half, it was updating it every second or so. Figuring that the -c -c
option was maybe a bit rigorous, I switched to just a single -c and
found the same thing. So I left it over night and was presented with a
bunch of questions this morning that seemed to be coming from phases
of the check beyond the badblocks check.

All of this to lead to my questions ...
What could be causing this massive slowdown on the fsck? There didn't
seem to be any errors popping out during this time but the badblocks
phase seemed to spit out a single number (something in the 500 range).
Is that the number of badblocks that it found?
Is the badblocks info preserved through a format? If I now go and
reinstall FC6 from scratch and choose to format the drive, will it
overwrite that badblocks table?
If it is going to take a long time to run through, I would like to run
fsck overnight. Are the questions that fsck asks set up such that
always answering yes will try to fix the problem and always answering
no will be conservative and do a minimal of fs manipulation?

I know that I should just get another HD at this point (I have already
advised my friend to research the purchase of another laptop and this
is not the only problem with the laptop from what I can gather).
However, I am taking this opportunity to learn about laptop hardware
troubleshooting and if I can ressurect this machine from the dead, it
will save him a few hundred bucks that he doesn't have at the moment.

Thanks for any help that you can offer.


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