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I've had an acer aspire laptop for a little over a year now. For the most part it works great, however once every couple of weeks or so it starts acting up and I need to do a hard re-boot.

It's running Ubuntu 11.10 amd64, but the same situation occurred prior to the update when I was running Ubuntu 10.01 x86.

I'll be running multiple apps for work, web browser, thunderbird, sql monitor, terminal, etc. And a program will crash, basically just stop running and disappear. Then when I try to interact with any other programs they are unresponsive or they also crash.

When I try to logout or restart from the unity panel it does nothing. When I go into a virtual console to attempt a reboot as the root user I get a laundry list of errors stating 'bad sector' information. And the prompt to login is presented again.

This ultimately leads to me power cycling the box.

I'm wondering if anyone has had this happen to them? I've reviewed the hard disk thinking that had something to do with it and the smart tools monitoring doesn't indicate that's the issue. Then I started thinking maybe my ram is bad. Is there any method of testing the machines RAM to verify it isn't corrupt.

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Use memtest to test the RAM, usually the third boot option in Ubuntu's Grub menu. –  mikewhatever Nov 14 '11 at 21:05
    
...and for the GRUB menu to show up, you've to hold SHIFT after the BIOS (but before GRUB or Ubuntu loads) –  Lekensteyn Nov 14 '11 at 22:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's most likely your hard disk dying.

Firstly, make sure you have a backup of your important files, then have a closer look at what's smartmontools is telling you. I had a similar problem recently, and as I remember SMART status of the drive was "good" long after I started having those errors - I had to schedule a full drive self-test to make the status to change.

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Did the extended and half way through got a Completed with Read Failure notice. Is there a way to fix this or get more information about it? –  Aglystas Nov 16 '11 at 19:31
    
What kind of information do you need? Get a new disk - there's nothing you can do to fix this one. It's only going to get worse. –  Sergey Nov 16 '11 at 20:55

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