Hard drive errors
I'm sitting with an old laptop which started acting up about 5 months ago, Ubuntu complained about not being able to read parts of the hard drive and decided to crash. Trying to reinstall ubuntu failed due to failed attempts to partition.
I'd forgotten about this laptop until today when I tried to install Zenwalk with one big primary drive and then 2 gb of swap. Everything installed correctly until near the end when the installer started complaining about xfs not being able to read from the swap. So I decided to take away those 2 gb(and some more) and leave that extra storage unpartitioned.
This resulted in me being able to install properly and everything is working fine.
Now, for my question, I'd like to know if you all think its "safe" to continue using this computer or should I be expecting further hard drive-failures? Or have I dodged the bullet?
Your drive is probably starting to go belly up. However, there are a couple of things you can do to lengthen its life a bit.
1. Do a low-level format of the drive. This will allow the drive controller to map out bad (unrecoverable) sectors at the hardware level.
2. When you format the drive with mkfs, use the -c option to force it to scan the drive again for bad blocks. It will do that before building the file system so any newly found bad blocks will be recorded and mapped out by the file system.