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I have an Inspiron 3521 that came pre-installed with Windows 8.1. I decided to dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu, and it was working good. But, when using Ubuntu, I heard a lot of noise from my laptop while on using Windows, it was almost silent. Also, after about 2-3 weeks of using Ubuntu, I was unable to use Windows as it had become very slow. Now I am getting my HDD replaced as it is failing. So, is installing Ubuntu and using it destroying my HDD? Because before installing it, Windows was running well but after it, it has become almost unusable. So, should I install Ubuntu on my new disk or should I refrain from it. Please help because I like Ubuntu more than Windows, but I can't risk buying new HDDs over and over again. Also, completely removing Windows is not a choice.

Please let me know if I should install Ubuntu alongside?

Output of : smartctl -a /dev/sda :

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     ST500LT012-1DG142
Serial Number:    W3P8Y9MR
LU WWN Device Id: 5 000c50 07c643db0
Firmware Version: 0001SDM1
User Capacity:    500,107,862,016 bytes [500 GB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Rotation Rate:    5400 rpm
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 4
SATA Version is:  SATA 3.0, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 6.0 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Tue Feb 17 15:58:15 2015 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

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:    (  97) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:    (   2) minutes.
SCT capabilities:          (0x1035) 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   117   080   006    Pre-fail  Always       -       158207928
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   099   099   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       414
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       16
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   064   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       38678857862
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       772 (87 233 0)
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       384
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0032   100   100   099    Old_age   Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       1465
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   059   052   045    Old_age   Always       -       41 (Min/Max 29/43)
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       195
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       14
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   096   096   000    Old_age   Always       -       8566
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   041   048   000    Old_age   Always       -       41 (0 17 0 0 0)
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       8
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       8
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x0000   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       276333900858102
241 Total_LBAs_Written      0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       2960885917
242 Total_LBAs_Read         0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       5374462826
254 Free_Fall_Sensor        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 2175 (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 2175 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 758 hours (31 days + 14 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 20 19 56 00  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x00561920 = 5642528

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 00 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:34.369  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 68 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:34.369  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 10 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:34.369  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 20 19 56 40 00      00:15:34.368  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 40 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:34.368  READ FPDMA QUEUED

Error 2174 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 758 hours (31 days + 14 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 20 19 56 00  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x00561920 = 5642528

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 08 20 19 56 40 00      00:15:31.814  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 20 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:31.814  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:31.813  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  ea 00 00 00 00 00 a0 00      00:15:31.813  FLUSH CACHE EXT
  27 00 00 00 00 00 e0 00      00:15:31.787  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS EXT [OBS-ACS-3]

Error 2173 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 758 hours (31 days + 14 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 20 19 56 00  Error: WP at LBA = 0x00561920 = 5642528

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  61 00 10 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:29.177  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:29.177  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:29.177  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 20 19 56 40 00      00:15:29.176  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:29.176  READ FPDMA QUEUED

Error 2172 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 758 hours (31 days + 14 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 20 19 56 00  Error: WP at LBA = 0x00561920 = 5642528

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  61 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:26.514  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 18 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:26.513  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 20 19 56 40 00      00:15:26.513  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 40 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:26.513  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  61 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:26.513  WRITE FPDMA QUEUED

Error 2171 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 758 hours (31 days + 14 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 20 19 56 00  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x00561920 = 5642528

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 00 40 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:18.647  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 20 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:18.641  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 08 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:18.629  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 20 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:18.619  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 00 20 ff ff ff 4f 00      00:15:18.607  READ FPDMA QUEUED

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       760         5642528
# 2  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       759         5642528
# 3  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       759         5642528
# 4  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       758         5642528
# 5  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       756         5642528
# 6  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       752         5642528
# 7  Extended offline    Completed: read failure       90%       752         5642528
# 8  Short offline       Completed: read failure       90%       752         5642528

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.

Note: The above test is from the old HDD, which I think was destroyed by coincidence while running Ubuntu.

Output of sudo parted --list:

Model: ATA ST500LT012-1DG14 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 500GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End    Size    File system     Name                          Flags
 1      1049kB  316MB  315MB   ntfs            Basic data partition          hidden, diag
 2      316MB   419MB  104MB   fat32           EFI system partition          boot
 3      419MB   554MB  134MB                   Microsoft reserved partition  msftres
 4      554MB   237GB  236GB   ntfs            Basic data partition          msftdata
10      237GB   289GB  52.4GB  ext4
 7      289GB   293GB  4096MB  linux-swap(v1)
 8      293GB   314GB  20.5GB  ext4
 9      314GB   342GB  27.9GB  ext4
 5      342GB   395GB  53.7GB  ntfs            Basic data partition          msftdata
 6      395GB   500GB  105GB   ntfs            Basic data partition          msftdata
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – fossfreedom Feb 18 '15 at 18:22
  • At my school, I help fix broken seventh-grade laptops, as my school gave the entire seventh grade laptops this year. The other day, I saw a broken laptop that had been dropped and the HDD damaged. It still worked (sort of), but it took like literally 20 minutes to boot up and log in. Once Task Manager finally opened five minutes after pressing [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Esc], I could see that the disk usage was constantly at 100%. The processor and memory use were all normal. Then, I shut the computer down (the improper way) and went into Lenovo Diagnostics. It showed that there were several bad sectors. – Hitechcomputergeek May 18 '15 at 3:41
  • @Hitechcomputergeek, I never dropped my laptop. Not even slightly. – LakshyaAg May 22 '15 at 10:51
  • @XZYoda12 I was illustrating how a damaged hard drive could fail by being very slow (or something else weird like that), rather than something more obvious like a BIOS message saying "CRITICAL: HARD DRIVE FAILURE". Actually, I would guess that your computer came with a defective hard drive, if it came with Windows 8.1 on it. – Hitechcomputergeek May 22 '15 at 22:21
78

HDDs die a slow, painful death like cancer, whereas SSDs just suddenly stop working like a heart attack : you can diagnose both by using SMART technology.

Why you heard the noises under Ubuntu and not under Windows is because Windows was installed first, so it resides on the inner side of your hard drive in the denser packed region, whereas Ubuntu was installed on the outer regions where the noises are more pronounced due to seeking.

And I can infer all this just from your description of the symptoms without having looked at your hard disk's partition table nor knowing how you installed your system...


So the short answer is:

No, Ubuntu is not destroying your HDD! :-)

  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – fossfreedom Feb 18 '15 at 18:22
  • Windows is unlikely to have been installed in the inner side of the plates because it was the first, thus most likely at the lower logical block addresses (LBAs). Lower LBAs on HDDs usually correspond to the outer part, because there the linear speed of the surface is higher, and thus speed of reading/writing is higher (so that new HDD performs faster). Furthermore, modern HDDs don't have higher data density in the inner part than in the outer — and this is the reason for speedup at lower LBAs. See this question for related discussion of HDD layout. – Ruslan Jun 29 '15 at 13:04
  • @Ruslan: thanks for the link! – Fabby Jun 29 '15 at 14:20
4

What kind of sound does it make? If it's clicking you hear, then your OS MIGHT ACTUALLY BE DESTROYING YOUR HDD. The problem is ages old and involves Advanced Power Management feature parking/unparking the disk too aggressively. Try using hdparm to check the APM value (-B param). If it's less then 254, set it to 254 and check if it helps with the noise. If it does, make sure the value stays 254 at all times. One good way to ensure this under Linux is to use tlp. For the record, I've seen this problem occur in Windows as well with certain laptop models, but it's way more common in Linux.

  • Setting it to 254 didn't help. I tried that on my previous HDD but it still died. – LakshyaAg Feb 18 '15 at 14:37
  • 1
    Ok, that rules out the parking/unparking problem. I guess you just had a faulty HDD then... – kaqqao Feb 18 '15 at 14:41
  • Well, I'll see if this HDD lives. :) – LakshyaAg Feb 18 '15 at 14:43
2

You have (at least) one bad block (LBA 5642528) that's causing repeated errors. You can try to:

  1. backup your entire hard disk
  2. reformat/repartition your disk using the LONG method to try and make it map out the bad block(s). This could take many hours to complete.
  3. restore your hard disk

or

  1. replace the hard disk
  • Any idea as to what caused that bad block? – LakshyaAg Feb 25 '15 at 11:41
  • Bad blocks occur naturally on ALL hard disks. Large numbers of bad blocks indicate a possible head crash. Until you do a WRITE test to the entire surface of the disk, you won't know which problem you have. You have READ errors, and bad blocks only get marked bad permanently if it's a WRITE error, hence the testing. – heynnema Feb 26 '15 at 16:15
  • 1
    Also, DO NOT TRY TO USE a failing drive, if the hard drive is indeed damaged. Back up your stuff immediately. – Hitechcomputergeek May 18 '15 at 3:48

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