Thursday, 8 September 2011

09:47 – My main office system started making a bad sound yesterday afternoon. I hoped it was a fan bearing failing, but I feared it was one of the hard drives. This system is a quad-core that we built a few years ago, and it still has the original main hard drive, a 750 GB Seagate Barracuda. It also has two other hard drives that we installed later, both 1.5 TB Barracudas. Those drives were installed before the 1.5 TB Barracuda was officially released, which should give you some idea of the age of this system.

At any rate, it turned out it was one of the hard drives, of course. It was one of the 1.5 TB drives, which I use for on-line backup. Here’s what happened when I unmounted it and ran jfs_fsck on it.

thompson@darwin:~$ sudo jfs_fsck -a /dev/sdb5
jfs_fsck version 1.1.12, 24-Aug-2007
processing started: 9/8/2011 8.58.17
The current device is: /dev/sdb5
ujfs_rw_diskblocks: read 0 of 4096 bytes at offset 32768
ujfs_rw_diskblocks: read 0 of 4096 bytes at offset 61440
Superblock is corrupt and cannot be repaired
since both primary and secondary copies are corrupt.

CANNOT CONTINUE.
thompson@darwin:~$

Fortunately, the entire contents of the failed hard drive are replicated on the other 1.5 TB drive. I didn’t want to tear down this system to replace the drive, so I stuck a new 2 TB Barracuda in an external USB drive frame and formatted it jfs. I’m now copying about a third of a million files totaling about 1,300 GB from the working 1.5 TB drive to the external 2 TB drive. At USB 2.0 speeds of about 25 MB/s, that’s going to take 13 or 14 hours to complete.

I really do need to take the time to get our computer situation straightened out. Right now, Barbara has a 6-core Core i7 system with 6 TB of disk space in her office, which is gross overkill. She has that system, which was to be my new desktop system, because it was the only one ready to hand when her old system started having problems. She uses her system only for email, web browsing, and so on, so I think what I’ll do is build her a new system around an Intel Atom motherboard much like the one I’m currently using in my den system. Or I may just swap my den system into her office and replace it with another Atom system. At that point, I can strip down and discard my current main office system, which is nearing the end of its design life. Heck, I’m still running Ubuntu 9.04 on it, which has been unsupported for a year now. But all of that takes time, which is in very short supply right now.