[svlug] Files That Will Not Delete

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Sat Nov 1 10:32:27 PST 2014

Michael Eager writes:
> 1) You received an input/output failure while reading the disk.
>     This doesn't have anything to do with whether you formatted the
>     disk with NTFS/EXT4/other.  It's a hardware failure.
[ ... ]
> Run badblocks.

I used to think "I/O error" in dmesg always meant "hardware failure
-- start shopping for a new disk now!"  But then one time I started
getting repeated, numerous I/O errors on a fairly new disk, new
enough to still be in warranty. I took it out of service
immediately and checked the company's website to find out what
sort of info I'd need in order to make a warranty claim, and
ran badblocks and a few other diagnostics to get the info I needed.

Except that none of the diagnostics found anything wrong at all.
I think I even had a Windows partition available at the time, and
ran the company's own diagnostic tool, and it didn't show any
problems either. Everything said the disk was fine.

Since I couldn't make a warranty claim if I couldn't find a single
diagnostic program that could see an error, I reformatted the drive,
wiping out the reiserfs partition that was on it, and replaced it
with the same data but on an ext3 partition. Then I installed the disk
back in the machine it had come out of and went back to using it,
backing up frequently and expecting it to die at any moment.

I used that disk for at least two more years before finally retiring
that machine, and had no further disk problems.

I still don't understand why a filesystem problem would leave I/O
error messages in dmesg; but it can happen.


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