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I have an 8-year-old dual boot laptop, but it won't start Ubuntu or Windows. When selecting Ubuntu, I get a BusyBox, that mostly says:

failed command: READ FPDMA QUEUED
blk_update_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 552058008

enter image description here

Are there any software solutions or is this machine doomed?

I tried for example:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sda

but it didn't have any effect.

I don't care if I lose all my data, I just want it to be alive again.


I did the smart check via a live CD, and when I first visited the Disks, the /dev/sda was OK, with 57 bad sectors. After running a short and a conveyance, the test failed:

enter image description here

Does that mean that me disk is dead?

All the attributes have an OK assessment in the smart test, so there might be hope. Moreover, if I choose "Check disc for defects" from the live CD, it completes, with no errors found.

marked as duplicate by karel, Zanna, David Foerster, Thomas, K7AAY Sep 27 '18 at 23:56

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • It's not necessarily that the hard drive is dead. It could also be that the filesystem got corrupted. I would boot into a live system and investigate the state of the hard drive, e.g., using SMART tools and the like. At any rate, even if the hard drive is dead, this does not mean that the laptop is dead. You can always put another hard drive in there. :) – Malte Skoruppa Sep 24 '18 at 9:15
  • @MalteSkoruppa for such an old laptop, I am not sure if it's worth. I don't mind losing all my data, can you suggest a smart plan for me to apply? – gsamaras Sep 24 '18 at 9:19
  • It can also be the connector to the hard disk. – Rinzwind Sep 24 '18 at 9:20
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    @gsamaras I would suggest to boot a system from a live USB stick or DVD. From there, have a look at the SMART data of your hard drive. See here for example: askubuntu.com/questions/528072/…. – Malte Skoruppa Sep 24 '18 at 9:26
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    @gsamaras As noted in the answers, your disk is likely to be dying. In case you would like to rescue some data from it (I know you said you don't mind losing the data, but perhaps you would like to have a look), there may still be a chance to recover at least some of the data. I see on the photo that you have a Windows partition, as well as two Linux (ext4) partitions. You can try to mount them from a live system and try and copy over the data that you are interested to an external hard drive or stick. For some files I/O errors may occur, others may be intact. – Malte Skoruppa Sep 24 '18 at 19:17
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I did the smart check via a live CD, and when I first visited the Disks, the /dev/sda was OK, with 57 bad sectors. After running a short and a conveyance, the test failed:

In this case the disk is not ok. It's at best dying, and depending on where the sectors are they may effectively make the disk unlikely. The bad sector count will not go down; it will only increase - often relatively fast.

  • I am afraid you are right. I run badblocks and got several blocks as an output, which is bad, I think, right? Formatting the disk is not a good idea, right? – gsamaras Sep 24 '18 at 18:15
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    It's not an bad idea either. It may temporarily fix the problem - for a week or three. But it's not a permanent solution that will fix your disk in any way. – vidarlo Sep 24 '18 at 18:34
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The disk is likely beginning to fail. The SMART test has failed in many ways and the system is reporting IO errors in kernel panics, etc.

Also, this is not a safe command to run:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sda

That command will read every byte from the disk and write it back to the disk, which is at best useless and at worst destructive.

Another command you can run to likely verify the disk is broken is:

sudo apt install debsums
sudo debsums -s

If anything is printed by the debsums command it means that system files on disk have been corrupted.

Also see this existing question for evaluating the health of your disk:

https://superuser.com/questions/171195/how-to-check-the-health-of-a-hard-drive

Another "easy" way to test is to create a file with random contents, hash it, then copy the file multiple times and observe if any of the copied files have the wrong hash:

dd if=/dev/urandom of=data.bin bs=1G count=1
cp data.bin copy1.bin
cp data.bin copy2.bin
cp data.bin copy3.bin
sha256sum *.bin

If any of the hashes are different the disk has problems storing 4G worth of data. You can increase the sizes to keep testing. Also beware that stressing an already failing disk drastically increases the chances of it having permanent failure.

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    The following is incorrect: "That command will read every byte from the disk and write it back to the disk, which is at best useless and at worst destructive." When a disk sector is damaged and can't be written to successfully, writing to it has the SMART hardware replace it with a spare sector. This command on an unmounted partition should replace all bad (as far as writing, at least) sectors with spare sectors if that's possible. – Chai T. Rex Sep 24 '18 at 17:50
  • It doesn't connect to the internet, no debsums. I used badblocks, and its output listed many sectors. I suppose they are the bad sectors, thus my disk is dead, right? – gsamaras Sep 24 '18 at 18:13

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