I am using Ubuntu 10.04LTS (Lucid Lynx) and have a 250 GB Hard Disk (ATA TOSHIBA MK2555GSX). It is mounted on a single device /dev/sda and use Master Boot Record Partitioning. When I am doing S.M.A.R.T. data and running self-test (through System → Administration → Disk Utility), I am getting SMART Status: Disk has a few bad sectors.

I have been digging through the errors and most of the sites suggested to back up the drive and if possible re-format. Since I have an external hard drive for back up and have bad sectors in my hard disk, I want to know if File Back Up would be the ideal choice rather than Disk Imaging, File Synchronization or other back up choices. I am confused about the exact procedure that I follow without corrupting the back up and ensuring safe restore. Can anybody suggest me the safest and fast-restoring back up method that is available?

Please note that I have several apps installed including Hadoop, Hive, Hbase, Python NumPy, Scipy and Matplotlib packages. I need to reuse them after restore from back up.

Any quick suggestion will be highly appreciated.

NOTE: Also, it has happened that when I am trying to restart my linux, I am getting

Reallocated Sector Count Normalized: 100 Worst: 100 Threshold: 10 Value: 1 sector

Current Pending Sector Count Normalized: 100 Worst: 100 Threshold: 0 Value: 3 sectors

When I am restarting my system I am getting the following message:

fsck from util-linux-ng 2.17.2


closed as off-topic by dobey, user117103, Kevin Bowen, Seth, psusi Oct 16 '13 at 4:06

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  • 10.04 is no longer supported on the desktop. You need to replace the failing drive, and install 12.04 or 13.10, after backing up any important files. – psusi Oct 16 '13 at 4:07

Easiest and fastest approach is copying over the complete hard drive bit-by-bit:

  1. Install a the new hard drive. Make sure its size is exact the same or bigger than the one you're using now.

  2. Boot from a live CD/USB system.

  3. Copy over the disk bit-by-bit using dd:

    • Identify the original and new hard drive by their names. I assume here /dev/sda is the old and /dev/sdb is the new one, but check for the names in your case!

    • Run the following command to copy the whole drive from sda to sdb:

      sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb

      Note: it will destroy all data on sdb!

      This will take quite a long time. Get some coffee, go out and have a walk.

  4. Now the drives are completely identical. Take out the old drive and simply use the new one.

It's easy because you don't have to worry about bootloader configuration, partition tables, etc.

  • @qertvdijk: I don't have a live CD but tried booting from USB drive (used Universal USB installer and source: ubuntu-10.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso). But I am not being able to change the boot order using grub which is built-in in 10.04 – somnathchakrabarti Oct 13 '13 at 23:36
  • @qertvdijk: also, since I have some bad sectors in my hard disk remapped, do you think it will be a wise idea to do disk imaging over file back up? I mean if it is a bit-by-byte copy, it can corrupt my back up, isn't? – somnathchakrabarti Oct 13 '13 at 23:38
  • 1
    @somnathchakrabarti Don't worry about the errors of a bit-by-bit copy. you can fsck them away later. But it's very important that you copy the bytes away from the old disk before the bit-rot eats even more of your data. – MadMike Oct 14 '13 at 13:54
  • I copied the ubuntu-10.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso using Universal USB installer from Windows. It's in W95 FAT32 format. When I am running fdisk /dev/sdc1 (got the device# from fdisk -l), there is a warning: DOS-compatible mode is deprecated. Any idea of how to remove the dos-compatibility and will I run into some problem while trying to boot from this device? – somnathchakrabarti Oct 15 '13 at 20:57
  • @somnathchakrabarti What are you doing? If you have another question about partitions, then ask a NEW question. You should not have to worry about partitions for this concerning your question... – gertvdijk Oct 15 '13 at 23:08

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