[svlug] Massive disk corruption under 2.2.16-3?

Jim Mason jmason at ibinx.com
Thu Dec 6 13:51:01 PST 2001

I encountered a really strange disk corruption problem yesterday and
wanted to see if anyone has run across anything like it or has any ideas
what might be the culprit.  Two partitions on an IDE drive were
overwritten with seemingly random binary data.  One partition was ext2
(my root filesystem no less) and the other was a VFAT filesystem.  The
filesystems in the other partitions on the disk fsck clean.  "od" on the
overwritten partitions doesn't reveal any structure one would expect
from a filesystem, just binary data.  Not just a few blocks of bogus
looking data, but megabytes of it.

I was running RH 6.2 with a 2.2.16-3 kernel.  System is dual boot to
Win98, but haven't booted to Win98 for months.  The disk was partitioned
almost 2 years ago, and nothing substantial has changed recently (with
the exception of an upgrade to KDE 2.1 last week).  System had been
booted and running for +/-10 hours when I found I could not reply to an
e-mail.  Nothing unusual was running at the time except for Netscape
Navigator 4.72 and a couple of shell windows (plus all the KDE kruft).
Could not open a new shell window.  Tried "ps" and "df" in an open
shell; both gave "bus error".  "init 6" returned some obtuse message
about missing symbols in a shared library.  Hard reset; POST succeeded.
Would not load boot manager (as it was clobbered).

Here is the partition table.  hda1 and hda5 are the corrupted
partitions.  No bad sectors or disk read errors.  Everything else looks
OK.  Cylinders 3 up to 1866 look to be the ones affected.

/dev/hda:  255 heads, 63 sectors, 3328 cylinders
           Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes

   Device   Boot  Start      End      Blocks    ID    System
/dev/hda1    *        3     1671    13406211     c    Win95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/hda2          1672     3328    13309852     f    Win95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/hda3             1        2       16033    83    Linux
/dev/hda5          1672     1866     1566306    83    Linux
/dev/hda6          1867     1899      265041    82    Linux Swap
/dev/hda7          1900     2793     7181023    83    Linux
/dev/hda8          2794     3328     4297356    83    Linux


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