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My Ubuntu has been acting weird lately. Yesterday, it wouldn't boot normally, so I had to do a 'recovery mode' boot. It said I had to do an fsck manually, which I did using a live CD. After this, I was already able to boot to the desktop but everything is so sluggish. Apps would turn gray for seconds. Sometimes other apps wont start at all. In other instances it it saying that the filesystem is in read-only mode.

This is part of what I've been getting:

Oct 26 21:23:56  kernel: [ 1900.960506] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Add. Sense: Unrecovered read error - auto reallocate failed
Oct 26 21:23:56  kernel: [ 1900.960533] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 63206544
Oct 26 21:23:56  kernel: [ 1900.960541] Buffer I/O error on device sda1, logical block 7900562
Oct 26 21:24:00  kernel: [ 1904.146683]          res 51/40:00:90:74:c4/00:00:00:00:00/03 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:00  kernel: [ 1904.146692] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:24:03  kernel: [ 1907.351844]          res 51/40:00:90:74:c4/00:00:00:00:00/03 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:03  kernel: [ 1907.351853] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:24:06  kernel: [ 1910.482152]          res 51/40:00:90:74:c4/00:00:00:00:00/03 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:06  kernel: [ 1910.482161] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:24:09  kernel: [ 1913.604742]          res 51/40:00:90:74:c4/00:00:00:00:00/03 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:09  kernel: [ 1913.604751] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:24:12  kernel: [ 1916.792646]          res 51/40:00:90:74:c4/00:00:00:00:00/03 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:12  kernel: [ 1916.792656] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:24:15  kernel: [ 1919.922855]          res 51/40:00:90:74:c4/00:00:00:00:00/03 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:15  kernel: [ 1919.922864] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:24:16  kernel: [ 1920.056506] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Add. Sense: Unrecovered read error - auto reallocate failed
Oct 26 21:24:16  kernel: [ 1920.056533] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 63206544
Oct 26 21:24:16  kernel: [ 1920.056540] Buffer I/O error on device sda1, logical block 7900562
Oct 26 21:24:55  kernel: [ 1959.134566]          res 51/40:00:e0:28:44/00:00:00:00:00/04 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:24:55  kernel: [ 1959.134575] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:25:05  kernel: [ 1969.674292]          res 51/40:00:b2:4c:44/00:00:00:00:00/04 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:25:05  kernel: [ 1969.674301] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:25:08  kernel: [ 1972.887782]          res 51/40:00:b2:4c:44/00:00:00:00:00/04 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:25:08  kernel: [ 1972.887791] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:25:12  kernel: [ 1976.059674]          res 51/40:00:b2:4c:44/00:00:00:00:00/04 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:25:12  kernel: [ 1976.059683] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
Oct 26 21:25:15  kernel: [ 1979.206592]          res 51/40:00:b2:4c:44/00:00:00:00:00/04 Emask 0x9 (media error)
Oct 26 21:25:15  kernel: [ 1979.206601] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
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2 Answers 2

Your first hard drive (sda) is in the process of aggressively failing.

Power it off immediately, get a new boot drive, install a new OS on the new boot drive. Once that is working, plug in the failing drive, mount it "read only" and you might be able to extract data from it.

Of course, like most people you have complete and current back-ups, right? ;)

added in response to comment

"Infant failures" are so common in hardware engineering that there is a term for them. In general, a device will fail very early or run for a goodly while. If you' are having repeated failures you are either:

  1. buying cheap disks (I've personally had more trouble with Brand Foo drives than I can count (but my personal experience can't be used to make a general statement about a manufacturer which is why I didn't write "Maxtor")).
  2. having some really bad luck. The same could happen with lightbulbs: there is going to be some guy who has the next two lightbulbs he buys fail in a week. Them's statistics for you and you might just be "that guy" with the drives.
  3. you actually have a bad drive controller that is burning up the drive electronics. For example, there can be an out-of-spec resistor on a drive control line and it will fry every drive you attach to it.

I think those three possibilities are far, far more likely than you uncovering a fatal flaw in EXT4; it's just been beaten on too hard. Then again, demonic possession could be at play, consult the clergy of your choice and good luck.

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Never a comment too many when pointing to the importance of backups. –  Takkat Oct 26 '10 at 14:50
    
Technically it could be a loose cable (or even a loose jumper), so check for that if you've shaken up your computer recently. But in any case this is a hardware failure, and the disk is the most likely culprit. –  Gilles Oct 26 '10 at 20:22
    
Oh noes! :( This is pretty much a new disk. It's not even 3-mos old. How could this happen? While my other SATA drive is over 2 years old used by my Windows XP - NTFS partitions and it is very healthy. I swear something is wrong with EXT4 FS. I have had 2 IDE drives before this one crash too. –  Marky Oct 27 '10 at 0:38
    
@Markey: see "added" above" –  msw Oct 27 '10 at 3:31
    
I've been a big fan of SeaGate since then. My NTFS drive is a 2yr old Barracuda and it's as healthy since I first bought it. This newer drive is also a SeaGate. (1) Any suggestions on a better drive? WD is not an option. I don't think it's available in my region. (2) It can't be a bad controller, my NTFS drive would have been fried too. (3) For what it's worth, I'll go for bad luck. LOL! :) –  Marky Oct 27 '10 at 10:25

You can check the health of your hard disk by using the Disk Utility Tool. Click on System/Administration/Disk Utility, locate your hard disk in the window on the left and click on it, click on the "SMART Data" button on the right. Take a look at the assessment for each item, as well as the Overall assessment at the top. If it's not green, your disk is definitely failing.

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1  
This is needless as the log already demonstrates that it is failing. Keeping the drive powered on any longer than absolutely necessary increases the chance of additional loss. –  msw Oct 26 '10 at 16:03
1  
even riskier than just power on is the head movements from checking disk integrity. These are all things that can be played with after data recovery, which is priority 1 now. –  Takkat Oct 26 '10 at 18:25
    
Normally Marky should have had warnings about this already when using a Desktop install with Disk Utility installed, right? –  JanC Oct 26 '10 at 21:36
    
No this just happened all of a sudden without any clear warnings. Naturally, since the disk is relatively new, I didn't expect this. The SMART test says it passed but notes there are a few bad sectors. The color is still green by the way. How long do you think should the disk be still usable? –  Marky Oct 27 '10 at 0:42
    
How long should it be usable? Our language is bad at expressing negative durations: the disk is already dead. –  msw Oct 27 '10 at 3:33

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