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I'm a bit new to Ubuntu, having installed 14.10 a couple of weeks ago in a dual boot on my 6 year-old HP notebook previously running just Vista. Ubuntu was an absolutely amazing breath of fresh air, so much faster than Vista in every way and more functional into the bargain! I was therefore rather sad at the beginning of this week when Ubuntu just stopped booting, instead flashing up an error message about a

buffer I/O error on device sda5, logical block

I am no computer whiz but on my friend's advice booted Ubuntu from the live USB stick I installed it with and then downloaded and ran boot repair. It said it had worked successfully however the problem remains.

Can anyone tell me what I might have done to Ubuntu or to my laptop to make it so unhappy and how I can fix it? As I say all that happened was I turned it off one night working perfectly fine and the next morning suddenly I have a buffer I/O error.

Any help or info would be hugely appreciated.

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Probably a hard drive failure as discussed on this Arch Linux forum thread

Normally, errors say what's wrong ergo buffer I/O error on device sda5, logical block

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I too have an older HP laptop, a DV9000 if it matters, and I agree it's a good match for Ubuntu. I'm sorry to hear you've run into difficulty, and even more sorry to say I suspect I know what the problem might be, and that it might be terminal. The best way to find out is to see if it boot's to a live CD. If it does, then that's very good news. If it does not, as I fear, then your laptop may have succumbed to a problem common to many laptops regardless of brand but particularly common to HP laptops which were the subject of a recall some years ago.

Many HP laptops contain high performance graphics chipsets which are prone to overheating. It is my impression that this feature is compounded by the performance increase ubuntu offers. As windows tends to essentially run about half as well on PCs as compared to Linux, the graphics in turn run slower. Double the speed and, well, double the heat.

The good news is that if your laptop is one of the recalled models then it is very possible you can still cash in on the recall and get the entire unit replaced free of charge!

Let me know how the live cd boot goes and we'll take it from there.

  • I am hoping that neither of the above are true! I have successfully managed to boot from a liveUSB and also can still boot windows successfully (I installed ubuntu as a dual boot). Am I right in thinking that therefore it isn't either hard drive failure or graphics chipset burnout? – D00nad Dec 22 '14 at 16:44
  • No, not right, necessarily. Remember I said let me know how the live cd boot goes? I requested that so that I could take you to the next step. With your computer booted to the live CD, please open "disk utility" and hind your hard drive in the report. If the drive supports SMART, the disk utility will show you what the SMART report knows of its condition. It could be dying, or it could be something you did which disable Ubuntu, which seems unlikely but is not impossible, OR you could be the first person I've ever met to get a virus on Ubuntu. I suppose there's a first time for everything – gyropyge Dec 23 '14 at 3:15
  • Sorry for taking so long to reply and thanks for the help (I've been away for a few weeks). I've just run the disk utility and my hard drive passes the SMART report, so I'm not quite sure where to go from here? Would it be sensible to just try re-installing ubuntu and seeing if it starts to work again? If would there be any possibility you could tell me how to format the ubuntu partition (I installed it as a dual boot with windows) so I can install over it again? Sorry I would imagine that is quite a simple question but my ubuntu literacy is very limited! Thanks again – D00nad Jan 29 '15 at 23:34

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