Hard drive errors

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004 at 6:15 pm

Doing duty as my media storage and backup box is Preston, one of the two boxes that is always on. In it are four 80GB drives, one Western Digital WD800JB and three Seagate Barracuda IV‘s. The three seagates are combined into a single logical volume using LVM.

On the weekend as I was copying music across to Shaun in order to back it all up on to DVD’s I noticed it pause a couple of times during copying. Further investigation led me to discover a large number of instances of the following two lines in the kernel log:

hdc: dmaintr: error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=42315658, sector=42315480
hdc: dma
intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }

I was able to tell from the transfer log which files had paused and I was able to verify that they were corrupt and the errors appeared in the kernel log.

While the three drives in the logical volume are the same model one does have a couple of differences:

  • It is mounted differently in the case which means it runs hotter as there is not as much airflow as over the other two
  • It is connected via the motherboard IDE controller rather than the Promise card
  • It is around about 4 months older than the other drives
  • It was used as the boot drive in Shaun before moving into Preston

Another thing the kernel log shows is that the previous occurances of these errors was back at the start of October, the same day that I transferred a copy of most of the data across to a friend’s box. This indicates that the error has been there for a while but it hasn’t been evident as I rarely access those particular files.

Fortunately only one of the three drives has experienced the errors, the one that is different as explained above. I seriously doubt that the issue is with the onboard IDE controller as the boot drive is operating fine. Googling around brings me to the conclusion that this drive has developed a fault and I should replace it…

But with what? Do I spend AU$99 on a replacement 80GB? What about spending AU$278 on a pair of new 160GB drives? This last option does have the advantage of giving me an additional 80GB capacity with one fewer harddrive to mount and keep cool. Then what do I do with the two perfectly good 80GB drives?

There is even the option of replacing the faulty drive with a 160GB. This gives me the additional capacity but has the much more tricky task of rearranging the data on the drives rather than copying from the old volume to the new volume.

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