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Hi All, I am in a big mess right now. Twice in a month, it happened to me, that while copying data from a pen drive/usb external harddisk, the internal ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie imranka's Avatar
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    Harddisk crashed while copying data from pendrive twice in a month


    Hi All,

    I am in a big mess right now. Twice in a month, it happened to me, that while copying data from a pen drive/usb external harddisk, the internal harddisk crashed completely.

    First time: I connected a external hd and started copying data of around 6 GB size. Suddenly the system became unresponsive, and then I had no choice other than hard reeboting. While rebooting it didn't find my harddisk. On second try, it gave some
    Code:
    SRST Error Error No=-16
    DRDY Error
    Emask problem
    type of errors.

    Second time: After 2 weeks, while again I was trying to copy around 100 MB of songs from my pendrive, the same thing happened. But this time a terminal was open and I could see the dmesg. It says something like:

    Code:
    too many mount (something like this)
    Read through cache
    some problem with mtab 
    I/O error..
    I don't recollect the errors, but it were something like the above.
    Again, when tried to reboot, the bios didn't find the harddisk, and second time it gave the same error,

    Code:
    SRST Error Error No=-16
    DRDY Error
    Emask problem
    I am using Debian Squeeze for last 2 months. Harddisk crashed 2 times with similar problem.

    Before that I used Debian 5 for 7-8 months. Harddisk crashed once with Emask error, but not just because of copying something.

    Before that I used Kubuntu 8 for ~ 2 years, harddisk crashed twice with the same error as Debian 5.



    At the time of Debian 5 crashing and after the experience with Kubuntu, I doubted that maybe I got some problem with SATA cable and my SMPS. So I changed both and those errors ( at the time of kubuntu/debian5 at any time that emask errors were coming) were gone. But now I am facing this new problem, hard disk crashing while copying from usb disk.

    My question is:

    1. Have you faced anything like this?
    2. Is it anything to do with Linux kernel? Because even after using linux for last 4 years, I have started to seriously doubt something about it. I wish I am wrong.
    3. Can it be a faulty mobo? I don't see how copying something can make a so grave damage such as frying a harddisk.
    4. And sadly but true, when I had used XP I have never faced so big issue with hardware. Like, I can live with minor hitches in the hardware, but frying my harddisk 5 times within last 4 years is for me a great shock. (

    You see as long as I can't get to the crux of this problem, I will always feel my harddisk can blow at any time.

    Please please suggest me something.
    Imran
    Linux User #467555 | Debian Squeeze | Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU 4500 @ 2.20GHz | Gigabyte GA-G41MT-ES2L
    | 2 GB RAM | 320 GB SATA | Kernel: 2.6.32-5-686

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I've had problems writing to a usb pen drive (flash wearing out), but never the other way around. I use RHEL clones (CentOS 5 and now Scientific Linux 6), Ubuntu (9.04 and 10.10), and Gentoo all on different systems. My guess is that it is hardware related. Tell us about your system hardware (make, model, configuration).
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    Linux Newbie imranka's Avatar
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    Rubberman,

    Harddisk: WD Caviar Blue SATA 320 GB
    RAM: DDR2 1 GB
    Motherboard: Biostar (don't remember other spec)
    USB Hub: Belkin 4 point USB hub. Here I connected my external harddisk and pendrive.

    I've had problems writing to a usb pen drive (flash wearing out),
    What type of problem? fried harddrive or something less sinister?
    Imran
    Linux User #467555 | Debian Squeeze | Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU 4500 @ 2.20GHz | Gigabyte GA-G41MT-ES2L
    | 2 GB RAM | 320 GB SATA | Kernel: 2.6.32-5-686

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Most flash devices (sd cards, thumb/pen drives, etc) use what is called MLC (multi-level cell) designs that have a maximum of around 10,000 writes per cell (or less) before they either become unusable (called fading in technical terms). Thumb/pen drives and SD cards are supposed to be designed to remap cells on the fly in order to "wear balance" them, extending the life of the device. However, if you keep writing to a mostly full device, or write big files to them frequently, this obviously will have less beneficial effect as there won't be as many spares to use. This is normal. There are SLC (Single-level Cell) designs that give up to 100,000 write cycles per cell, but they are a LOT more expensive. The average life expectancy of a thumb drive that you don't use more than 25-50% of its capacity should be around 3 years, max. If you keep it fuller than 50%, then that drops significantly.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  6. #5
    Linux Newbie imranka's Avatar
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    Thanks Rubberman for the explanation.

    Now the news is, I was packing my last to WD harddrive to send them for repair/replacement. So I thought, lets give another try, so I plugged the 1st one (which crashed first in my Deb Squeeze just 3-4 weeks ago), and it started working as if nothing at all happened to it. But the 2nd one( the latest crashed one ) gave me lot of errors
    while booting and it could not boot up finally. So, I am sending the last one to the company.

    Now Rubberman, does this fading of flash drive also occur in External USB Harddisk?
    Imran
    Linux User #467555 | Debian Squeeze | Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU 4500 @ 2.20GHz | Gigabyte GA-G41MT-ES2L
    | 2 GB RAM | 320 GB SATA | Kernel: 2.6.32-5-686

  7. #6
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imranka View Post
    Thanks Rubberman for the explanation.

    Now Rubberman, does this fading of flash drive also occur in External USB Harddisk?
    No. Hard drives can get bad sectors over time, but the on-board controller for modern drives have what is call SMART, technology that monitors the health of the drive, and will map bad sectors with replacement ones that it keeps in reserve. This all happens transparently to the user. Modern Linux systems have support to communicate with the drive's SMART controller, so you can see things like how may sectors have been remapped, how hot the drive is running, etc.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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