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Hello everyone, About a month and a half ago I purchased two new 500GB serial ATA hard drives from Best Buy to replace my other, very old 186GB SATA hard ...
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  1. #1
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    Linux Doesn't Like This Hard Drive


    Hello everyone,

    About a month and a half ago I purchased two new 500GB serial ATA hard drives from Best Buy to replace my other, very old 186GB SATA hard drive. Since then I've had issues with Linux. Sometimes when it's booting it gives a bunch of error messages, such as "failed to set xfermode," and then it boots. Other times, after INIT has started, I get ext3 errors about failing to read an inode block, then "cannot start /sbin/agetty" and "ID c5 respawning too fast," and at this point booting fails altogether. These errors seem to happen randomly. However, once the system has booted, everything seems to work fine, and there are no further issues.

    I know it's not a faulty hard drive or filesystem because I've tried Linux on both hard drives numerous times, and I've reformatted many times, one time I even tried erasing one of the hard drives byte for byte and then formatting it, and still had issues.

    I've tried Arch Linux, Gentoo, VectorLinux, and openSUSE, and all of them have given me these problems. The live CD's for Ubuntu 10.04, Clonezilla, and GParted all have trouble partitioning/cloning/installing to these hard drives. At this point, it's obvious to me that there is a universal problem with this particular model.

    GRUB and Syslinux both work fine, and Windows XP works fine too. It's only Linux that's giving me issues.

    I would rather not buy a new hard drive if I can help it, seeing as these two are almost brand new. Is there some BIOS setting that could be causing these problems? Is it some unsupported feature in the hard drives? Is it a bug in the Linux kernel?

    The hard drive model is WD5000AADS. Both hard drives are this same model. My motherboard is an NForce 680i SLI.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    EDIT: I've tried ext2/3, ReiserFS, and XFS, and all of them do this, so I don't think it's a filesystem issue.

  2. #2
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    My first thought is that the disk controller may be incompatible with your drives. Any chance you can try the disks in another system? I'm sure you googled the errors you got, so I won't bother. Have you seen any more in dmesg or /var/log/messages? My gut says you should buy a SATA card ($25), and try hanging the drives off of that.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru Lakshmipathi's Avatar
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    Did you try hdparm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia to check your hard drive health status. Be sure to check its man page before running it.
    First they ignore you,Then they laugh at you,Then they fight with you,Then you win. - M.K.Gandhi
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    I typed dmesg and received a large log of messages. These are the same messages I see sometimes when I boot the system:

    Code:
    ata3: EH in SWNCQ mode,QC:qc_active 0x3 sactive 0x3
    ata3: SWNCQ:qc_active 0x1 defer_bits 0x2 last_issue_tag 0x0
      dhfis 0x0 dmafis 0x0 sdbfis 0x0
    ata3: ATA_REG 0x51 ERR_REG 0x84
    ata3: tag : dhfis dmafis sdbfis sacitve
    ata3: tag 0x0: 0 0 0 1  
    ata3.00: exception Emask 0x1 SAct 0x3 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
    ata3.00: Ata error. fis:0x41
    ata3.00: failed command: READ FPDMA QUEUED
    ata3.00: cmd 60/48:00:8f:6e:d3/00:00:06:00:00/40 tag 0 ncq 36864 in
             res 51/84:00:00:00:00/84:1c:6f:6e:d3/00 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
    ata3.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
    ata3.00: error: { ICRC ABRT }
    ata3.00: failed command: READ FPDMA QUEUED
    ata3.00: cmd 60/08:08:17:96:79/00:00:06:00:00/40 tag 1 ncq 4096 in
             res 51/84:00:00:00:00/84:1c:6f:6e:d3/00 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
    ata3.00: status: { DRDY ERR }
    ata3.00: error: { ICRC ABRT }
    ata3: hard resetting link
    ata3: nv: skipping hardreset on occupied port
    I'll see if I can find another computer with a SATA port and boot these disks from that. I'll get back to you guys when I have a result.

  5. #5
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    your logic is flawed, you think it isn't the disk, yet it doesn't work/is flaky in any major distro, this indicates that it is in fact the disk or the sata controller for the disk that is malfunctioning

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    OK, I just tried this hard drive on two other machines, and they both do the same thing.

    Code:
    :: Loading Initramfs
    :: Starting udevd...
    done.
    Waiting 10 seconds for device /dev/disk/by-uuid/08765bf8-e24c-449b-a483-04a498c2d7de ...
    ERROR: Unable to determine major/minor number of root device '/dev/disk/by-uuid/08765bf8-e24c-449b-a483-04a498c2d7de'.
    You are being dropped to a recovery shell
        Type 'exit' to try and continue booting
    /bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off
    [ramfs /]#
    So I type ls /dev/[hs]d* and get nothing. It seems the initramfs for Arch Linux doesn't have the drivers needed to work on other computers.

    I tried my openSUSE disk (which is identical to the Arch Linux disk) and it booted four times without any errors. I think neildomo is right, there's a compatibility issue between my hard drive and my SATA controller. Would you like to recommend a controller that will work with this disk?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleEdwards View Post
    Would you like to recommend a controller that will work with this disk?
    Any suggestions?

  8. #8
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    are you saying the arch disk is identical to the suse disk, and the suse disk boots in the target machine but the arch disk doesn't?

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    Quote Originally Posted by coopstah13 View Post
    are you saying the arch disk is identical to the suse disk, and the suse disk boots in the target machine but the arch disk doesn't?
    I'm saying the arch disk's initramfs/kernel isn't configured for the other computer, otherwise I suspect it would boot just fine. As for the SUSE disk, it seems to work fine in the new machine.

    If you can tell me how to change Arch's initramfs/kernel to include drivers needed for the new machine, I'll do that and post the results.

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