bad blocks in under 2.5 years! So much for HP ...

Discussion in 'HP' started by milkyway, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. milkyway

    milkyway Guest


    I have a Suse Linux system. I have had a HP Pavilion laptop (zv5000)
    for a little more than 2 years and the hard drive appears to be faulty
    - after only 2 years ;-/

    I have been able to run the Suse Rescue program to get some kind of OS
    up and going:

    Linux Rescue 2.6.4-52 .. i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

    I get the following error:

    reiserfs_read_locked_inode: i/o failure occurred trying to find

    which is exactly like the problem stated in this thread:

    The advice I have been seeing online specifies to get a list of bad
    blocks and then running a command upon them (the bad blocks) as
    specified on this page:

    **My problem: I do not know how to get the outuput of the list of
    "badblocks" to a file.

    **My question is: Is there some way to repair the blocks by using just
    *one* command on the entiere hard disk system? In otherwords, can I do:

    command_name /dev/hda

    and then have *all* the bad blocks repaired?


    is there a way to get this list to a file?


    Is there another way to address this problem?

    I am soooo disappointed with this laptop. I have another laptop from
    Compaq (a 1700) that is *much* older and I never had any problems
    whereas with this HP, it goes out a little after 2 years.

    milkyway, Nov 3, 2005
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  2. The problem might be well related to reiserfs, have seen it
    falling on various systems and tossed it completely. It's just
    not stable enough.

    You did apply all patches, including kernel?
    Michael Heiming, Nov 3, 2005
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  3. In <> Michael Heiming:

    Same here, although I admit there seems to be a lot less complaining about
    reiserfs generally in message traffic I read than just a couple years ago.

    Still, I ask for ext2 or ext3 when I do installs, myself. It's good enough
    for my general purposes, although some folks really swear by reiser. There
    is much to be said for choice, and especially in Linux/FOSS. :)

    But I have had bad luck with hardware on laptop drives specifically, and I
    won't buy another 2.5" IBM Travelstar (etc.). Three of them went bad on me
    for no good reason inside four years. Just a headsup for the OP that there
    may be bad hardware aspects to this, more than simply choosing a FS.

    (Laptops usually run hotter and get bounced around more--hard on any gear)
    Harold Stevens, Nov 3, 2005
  4. milkyway

    Marc Onrust Guest

    Same here. In my other laptop (Dell) I had an IBM drive which went bad within a
    year after purchase.
    Marc Onrust, Nov 3, 2005
  5. milkyway

    Rod Smith Guest

    AFAIK, there's no way to REPAIR bad blocks. The best you can do is to work
    around them by marking them as off limits. In theory, filesystem check
    tools will do that job. For ReiserFS, you'd run reiserfsck, but I honestly
    don't know how well reiserfsck deals with bad blocks. Most hard disks can
    detect and work around a limited number of bad blocks in their firmware;
    it's only when their capacity to do this is exhausted that you begin
    seeing the bad blocks in your OS, so the fact that this is happening means
    that the situation's already pretty bad.

    In the long run, your best bet is to replace the defective hard disk.
    Frequently, once a drive begins developing bad blocks, the damage is
    progressive -- new bad blocks will continue to crop up until the disk is
    so damaged that it can't be used at all. Unfortunately, it's harder to
    work on a laptop's innards than on a desktop's innards, so replacing the
    hard disk could be tricky. It is possible, though; I replaced a bad hard
    disk on a Compaq Presario laptop a year or two ago. The hardest part is
    figuring out how to open the computer up. Of course, you'll also want to
    back everything up. An external USB drive or a network connection may be
    necessary to do this. For a replacement drive, chances are you'll need a
    2.5-inch ATA drive. These are more expensive than 3.5-inch drives, but
    much less expensive than a new computer. Check with big online hard disk
    suppliers like or
    For help opening the computer, consult HP newsgroups and Web sites. (I see
    you posted this to one such group, so maybe you'll get some tips in

    Best of luck fixing your problem!
    Rod Smith, Nov 3, 2005
  6. If it's a large list of genuinely bad sectors, toss the drive.
    It's ready to fail totally. I wouldn't mess with it unless it's
    just one or two sectors, and even then, I wouldn't trust the drive
    very far.

    Most drives have something called SMART built in. It's
    a way of getting low-level diagnostic information. See:

    Disk vendors usually have diagnostics available. They may
    be bootable systems, or may just be a program running under Windoze.

    David Kinsell, Nov 3, 2005
  7. I do not know what grade of hard drive HP put into that machine. It is my
    unpleasant experience that no Maxtor DiamondPlus 9 hard drive passes the
    Linux badblocks test, even brand new out of the box, and this is on 4
    different machines, with different versions of Linux. and about 6 different
    hard drives. These hard drives all seem to work, however, though I feel
    uncomfortable about this.

    I have not had any problems with SCSI drives, although I have used only 6 of
    these, 2 in my old computer that runs 24/7 since early 2000, and 4 in my new
    one that runs 24/7 since March 2004.

    IIRC concumer grade hard drives only last a few years these days. The SCSI
    ones seem to be guaranteed for 5 years, though the MTTF numbers for them is
    considerably longer. There are some non-SCSI hard drives with longer
    warrantees, but who knows if you have one like that.

    I suggest taking a total backup of your machine. Since it is a laptop, you
    might wish to connect it to a LAN where a suitable backup device exists on
    one of the other machines.
    If the blocks are bad, you have to replace or recondition the platters.
    AFAIK, this is not practical and would cost far more than buying a new hard
    man badblocks

    says, in part:

    -o output_file
    Write the list of bad blocks to the specified file. Without
    this option, badblocks displays the list on its standard output.
    The format of this file is suitable for use by the -l option in
    e2fsck(8) or mke2fs(8).
    Older hard drives (e.g., in 1996) seem to last much longer than the newer
    ones. Certainly for ISA hard drives. This is just my impression, and since I
    have had only 11 hard drives in my own machines, and one or two in each of
    my friends' machins, this is hardly a statistically significant sample.
    OTOH, since it is all I have, I will be getting only SCSI hard drives in the
    future. Actually, I prefer SCSI anyway because I do some IO intensive
    database stuff where the ability to run drives simultaneously to avoid seek
    contention and to queue commands is important.
    Jean-David Beyer, Nov 3, 2005
  8. milkyway

    Ben Myers Guest

    Regardless of the make of drive or the operating system in use, bad blocks are a
    symptom of a failing drive, so replace the drive.

    Whether a Linux utility, or Windows sucky scandisk, or a mnufacturer's
    diagnostic utility, bad blocks are NEVER repaired. The best that can be done is
    to scavenge the data from the bad block as best as possible (potentially with
    dropped bits), then assign the block number to a spare block, copying the
    scavenged data to the replacement block.

    I'll leave it to Suse experts to suggest how to back up any important data from
    the failing drive, should you need to do so.

    What brand of drive is it, anyway? I'm still trying to figure out which make of
    notebook drive has respectable reliability, which seems to be sliding downhill
    everyday... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Nov 3, 2005
  9. milkyway

    ray Guest

    That command would be 'magic'.
    redirect output
    Here is one possible solution:
    1) buy an external USB hard drive.
    2) boot a live CD
    3) use 'dd if=/dev/hdan of=backupfileonusbdisk conv=noerror conv=sync'
    when 'n' will be the various partitions you're trying to back up - do this
    for each partition of interest.
    4) you can now mount that backupfile via the loop device and recover the
    data on another computer or new hard disk.
    ray, Nov 3, 2005
  10. milkyway

    milkyway Guest

    Hello all and thanks sooooooooooooo much for responding ;-P

    To the questions:
    I did not apply any patches to the kernel at all. When doing the uname
    -a on the system, what I have written above is what I got. I have been
    using straight what was out of the SuSe Box.

    When I had made the partitions, I thought they were of the fstype of
    ext2 - or something for Linux altogether, I had no idea that this
    reiserfs was involved at all until I had looked at the error messages

    That is what I am in the process of doing. I took it to a shop near
    where I live. The person
    said that they would work on saving the data but I had saved what I
    wanted onto these small
    disks you plug into the USB ports. Anywho, I have 3 of them and I saved
    what I wanted on
    2 of them (duplication). The only I did not save were my database files
    but the DB was
    so small, I think it can be reproduced.

    My concern now is contacting the guy tomorrow and telling him not to
    worry about saving
    the data and to just focus on replacing (successfully) the disk drive.

    I am on the hunt for a new computer just in case the things with this
    laptop don't work.
    I am just looking for something to finish my project with - so - I am
    thinking I will save the SCSI approach for later.

    I don't know the brand. I just took it in today for repair. Again, I
    need to contact the
    guy and just ask him to replace the drive altogether.

    Question: Is there a stable brand of hard disk that I should shoot for?
    Any to
    avoid? ANY type of advice on this point would be great!
    The thing is, I can mount the partitions. I used the Suse Emergency
    Recovery approach and was able to get into a mode where I could mount,
    etc. I was able to mount the partition that was causing me issues. When
    running the "badblocks" command, several blocks were listed.

    Again, I was able to mount the partition though. Could that mean
    something? I had read that if one was able to write to the blocks, then
    somehow the problem would correct itself. There were several blocks.
    Right now, I don't have the system with me - it is at the shop -

    milkyway, Nov 3, 2005
  11. milkyway

    Ben Myers Guest

    Fujitsu and Seagate seem to have the best reputations for 2.5" drive
    reliability. Hitachi's reputation is mixed of late. Toshiba is well regarded
    by some, but I have serious difficulty recommending a drive when the drive
    manufacturer does not even supply diagnostics which you can download and run in
    the field. All the others do, as do the major manufacturers of 3.5" drives.

    Ask the shop doing the repair to give you the failing drive so you can tell us
    what brand it is. Better yet, honestly, this falls into the DIY category of
    repair. Hard drives can be removed easily from nearly all brands of notebooks
    and replaced. They are usually in a small drive carrier attached with 4 tiny
    Philips head screws and often have a little adapter that slides over the pins on
    the drive. All the name brands above are built with the same physical form
    factor and electronic interface, so they are all commodity items... Ben Myers

    Ben Myers, Nov 3, 2005
  12. Reiserfs is all I've used since I started using SuSE in Feb. 2000. I've
    still got the same hdd's I had then and not had one problem ever with it
    (reiserfs). The only reiserfs that's still unstable is the latest version
    Pickled pigs knuckles, Nov 3, 2005
  13. milkyway

    Dewaine Chan Guest


    I really admire your Tech knowledge and willingness to help out all these people.

    It is true it normally it is very easy to replace hard drive in laptops in general. One
    that I really hate to replace Hard Drive or CD ROM in are the Apple G3 IBook & G4
    PowerBook. You won't believe what you have to do to replace a HD or CD in those.

    Dewaine Chan, Nov 4, 2005
  14. milkyway

    Ben Myers Guest

    Sounds like Apple implemented a hardware design to force people to go to those
    Apple-authorized service centers, which charge a bundle for repairs and also
    have to go thru a stringent certification with payments to Apple.

    By comparison, I am sure not Dell-certified, HP-certified, or
    IBM/Lenovo-certified, but that does not stop me from tearing apart any desktop,
    any tower, and most notebooks, and putting back together again correctly.

    I have done very little with Apple boxes, and nothing inside a PowerBook. Sound
    like my good fortune to have never been confronted with a PowerBook repair.
    I'll probably try to keep it that way... Ben
    Ben Myers, Nov 4, 2005
  15. milkyway

    milkyway Guest

    Thanks for the pointers. At least I know what to shoot for. I don't
    want to repeat this in another 2 years ;-/
    I have been hearing that working with notebooks was a little tricky
    of one having to actually get inside it. Also, in the past, I had a bad
    experience with changing something other than RAM so now I take it in
    if I need to have a service done.

    Thanks again for the suggestions!
    milkyway, Nov 4, 2005
  16. milkyway

    milkyway Guest

    OK - got the disk back - it is Toshiba 04194S if that means anything to
    anyone - avoid this like the plague.
    milkyway, Nov 4, 2005
  17. milkyway

    Ben Myers Guest

    Yep. I've encountered a fair number of failed Toshiba 2.5" drives. Thank
    you... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Nov 4, 2005
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