I have been having or associated with an unusual number of computer
failures lately. My increased interest in Linux is partly due to the
failures, partly because live CDs offered a way to test machines, I
wanted to try some recovery tools, and because I didn't want to pay Mr.
Gates to activate his OS on machines that might very well be junk. My
real interest in Linux is strategic: I hope to escape from Windows at
some point in the future, and Linux seems the likely landing zone.
But for now, back to the hardware. One system that I would really like
to keep in service is an older (1.8GHz) P4 that came to me after an
apparent disk failure. It turned out to have a bad memory stick that I
replaced with a stick from another junker; the problem followed the
suspect module and memory tests passed after the switch.
I put an 80 GB drive from yet another failed box (my friends know where
to go to dump old computers), and promptly built an Ubuntu system on the
resulting Frankensteinware. It ran great for a week or so, and then
started barking about a file system problem. The motherboard could be
bad, or the drive could have failed. I threw an even older 20GB drive
in it, and spent a whole lot less time configuring Ubuntu, and will give
it some exercise. An actual _new_ hard disk is on the way from newegg,
along with a couple of DVD burners; given my luck lately, I plan to make
lots of backups.
So what's the question? I am wondering whether Ubuntu's live CD spends
too much effort trying to mount installed drives. Let's say it does not
boot reliably. Would that point to a certain hardware problem (either
the motherboard or disk), or would logical damage to the file system
throw Ubuntu into hysterics? Or, is Ubuntu so solid in your mind that
any hint of trouble suggests defective hardware?
Knoppix is also in my bag of tricks, but I do not have a CD handy, and
it would be just as quick to wait until tomorrow to burn one at work vs.
downloading it tonight. The 80 GB drive has little of value on it,
though I am curious whether the damage is physical or logical, and of
course about the health of the machine.
Wilhelm K. Schwab, Ph.D.
University of Florida
Department of Anesthesiology
PO Box 100254
Gainesville, FL 32610-0254
Email: [log in to unmask]
Tel: (352) 846-1285
FAX: (352) 392-7029