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My device started getting really slow and hanged even with roughly 4 GB ram remaining(Total is 8 GiB). I checked lsof and could see an unusually high number of open files. This raised suspicions about file read/write fails and I found following error being repeated in dmesg every second:

[ 2392.873599] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[ 2392.873608] ata1.00: irq_stat 0x40000001
[ 2392.873617] ata1.00: failed command: READ DMA EXT
[ 2392.873633] ata1.00: cmd 25/00:08:58:4a:af/00:00:15:00:00/e0 tag 26 dma 4096 in
                        res 51/40:00:58:4a:af/00:00:15:00:00/00 Emask 0x9 (media error)
[ 2392.873641] ata1.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
[ 2392.873646] ata1.00: error: { UNC }
[ 2393.006728] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/133
[ 2393.006748] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#26 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
[ 2393.006752] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#26 Sense Key : Medium Error [current] 
[ 2393.006756] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#26 Add. Sense: Unrecovered read error - auto reallocate failed
[ 2393.006760] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#26 CDB: Read(10) 28 00 15 af 4a 58 00 00 08 00
[ 2393.006763] print_req_error: I/O error, dev sda, sector 363809368
[ 2393.006800] ata1: EH complete

Some folks suggested I install smartmontools and see what's going on with the main drive. So after running the following command:

smartctl -a /dev/sda

I got the following output:

smartctl 6.5 2016-01-24 r4214 [x86_64-linux-4.15.0-32-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-16, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Laptop Thin HDD
Device Model:     ST500LT012-9WS142
Serial Number:    S0V3G9Y7
LU WWN Device Id: 5 000c50 05bd9fc9c
Firmware Version: 0001LVM1
User Capacity:    500,107,862,016 bytes [500 GB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Rotation Rate:    5400 rpm
Form Factor:      2.5 inches
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 4
SATA Version is:  SATA 2.6, 3.0 Gb/s (current: 1.5 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Tue Aug 21 18:14:07 2018 IST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
See vendor-specific Attribute list for marginal Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82) Offline data collection activity
                    was completed without error.
                    Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                    without error or no self-test has ever 
                    been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:        (    0) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:            (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                    Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                    Suspend Offline collection upon new
                    command.
                    Offline surface scan supported.
                    Self-test supported.
                    Conveyance Self-test supported.
                    Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                    power-saving mode.
                    Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                    General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:    (   1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:    ( 115) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:    (   2) minutes.
SCT capabilities:          (0x1031) SCT Status supported.
                    SCT Feature Control supported.
                    SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   081   081   034    Pre-fail  Always       -       93541778
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   099   099   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   090   090   020    Old_age   Always       -       10274
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       24
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   068   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       94638669551
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   095   095   000    Old_age   Always       -       4497 (86 165 0)
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   098   098   020    Old_age   Always       -       2082
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0032   100   100   099    Old_age   Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       2819
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   095   000    Old_age   Always       -       65546
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   058   040   045    Old_age   Always   In_the_past 42 (Min/Max 42/43 #88)
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       1218
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       186
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   069   069   000    Old_age   Always       -       62570
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   042   060   000    Old_age   Always       -       42 (0 13 0 0 0)
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x000f   096   096   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       4224 (46039 0)
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       32
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   099   099   000    Old_age   Offline      -       32
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       3
254 Free_Fall_Sensor        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 3027 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
    CR = Command Register [HEX]
    FR = Features Register [HEX]
    SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
    SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
    CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
    CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
    DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
    DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
    ER = Error register [HEX]
    ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 3027 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 4497 hours (187 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 00 08 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:12.975  READ DMA EXT
  35 00 b0 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:12.974  WRITE DMA EXT
  b0 d5 01 00 4f c2 00 00      01:01:12.973  SMART READ LOG
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      01:01:12.973  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      01:01:12.973  IDENTIFY DEVICE

Error 3026 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 4497 hours (187 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 00 08 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:10.285  READ DMA EXT
  35 00 28 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:10.285  WRITE DMA EXT
  35 00 28 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:10.284  WRITE DMA EXT
  ea 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      01:01:10.284  FLUSH CACHE EXT
  b0 da 00 00 4f c2 00 00      01:01:10.229  SMART RETURN STATUS

Error 3025 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 4497 hours (187 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 00 08 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:07.518  READ DMA EXT
  35 00 10 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:07.517  WRITE DMA EXT
  35 00 38 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:07.517  WRITE DMA EXT
  35 00 40 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:07.517  WRITE DMA EXT
  35 00 08 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:07.516  WRITE DMA EXT

Error 3024 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 4497 hours (187 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 00 08 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:04.826  READ DMA EXT
  35 00 48 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:04.825  WRITE DMA EXT
  b0 d0 01 00 4f c2 00 00      01:01:04.777  SMART READ DATA
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      01:01:04.777  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      01:01:04.776  IDENTIFY DEVICE

Error 3023 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 4497 hours (187 days + 9 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 00 ff ff ff 0f  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x0fffffff = 268435455

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  25 00 08 ff ff ff ef 00      01:01:02.110  READ DMA EXT
  ea 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      01:01:02.104  FLUSH CACHE EXT
  ec 00 01 00 00 00 00 00      01:01:02.103  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      01:01:02.103  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      01:01:02.102  IDENTIFY DEVICE

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

Another answer suggested my drive could be dead, but I think its too early to conclude that. Can anyone make sense of what could be going on here?

0

Your device have some bad sectors. Bad sectors could be caused by unexpected power down, bad cable or impact.

So some sectors cannot be readed. There is not much of them, so you may try to repair it. It requires read all disk sectors, find which is bad, and just write to bad sectors. There is some programs to do it like: MHDD or Victoria for DOS, Hdrecover or WHDD for Linux.

Most important Smart parameters here. After badblock test it should change. In good case Current_Pending_Sector become 0.

5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct = 24 -- Was repaired earler

197 Current_Pending_Sector = 32 -- Currently unreadable

  • I guess that was so. My drive was dying in this case and I eventually got a new one. – Divij Sehgal Feb 28 '19 at 17:43

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