Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by James Kufrovi » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 11:43:46



Hi, all.

        Twice recently, my machine (Mandrake 8.0) horked like there was a
problem with the hard drive, but I'm not sure, and I'm wondering if
anybody could think of any non-hardware problems that could cause these.

        Anyway, once recently, I came back to the machine to find my
screensaver (it was qix (the bouncy, color-changing lines) at the time)
completely frozen, and the hard drive access light was flashing rather
quickly.  The machine wouldn't respond to the mouse or any keypresses, and
I had to hit the reset button to get the machine working again.

        Then, just today, the machine froze completely when I tried to
mount my second hard drive.  I have a 20G drive as the primary slave, but
it's in a hot-swappable cart.  I use the drive mainly to keep backups of
my primary drive.  This drive has one bigass ext2 partition on it, which
is what I tried to mount (I made sure the drive was connected an' 'at),
and it froze completely.  Again, I had to reset.

        Anyway, could both of these problems indicate a problem with the
primary hard drive?  I hope it isn't, as I don't really wanna go through
the whole replacement routine.  Could there be a problem in my Linux
config that would cause errors such as these. (I checked several logfiles,
and there's nothing at all about any errors.)  If I have to replace the
drive, I will, but I wanna rule out any software problems, first. Anybody?  
Thanks.

Jamie

--
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(when replying, please use this address, not the one in the header

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Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by MrZammle » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 17:03:26



Quote:> Hi, all.

> Twice recently, my machine (Mandrake 8.0) horked like there was a
> problem with the hard drive, but I'm not sure, and I'm wondering if
> anybody could think of any non-hardware problems that could cause these.

> Anyway, once recently, I came back to the machine to find my
> screensaver (it was qix (the bouncy, color-changing lines) at the time)
> completely frozen, and the hard drive access light was flashing rather
> quickly.  The machine wouldn't respond to the mouse or any keypresses, and
> I had to hit the reset button to get the machine working again.

Yeap, it happens on my RH7.2 box too. Dont worry, its just some periodic
work that needs to be done by linux. In my box it happens a few minutes
after I turn on the machine; the hard drive works like mad, and almost
everything comes to a halt. Just wait a few minutes, and it should clear.
I'm sure that some linux guru can explain what exactly goes on then.

Quote:> Then, just today, the machine froze completely when I tried to
> mount my second hard drive.  I have a 20G drive as the primary slave, but
> it's in a hot-swappable cart.  I use the drive mainly to keep backups of
> my primary drive.  This drive has one bigass ext2 partition on it, which
> is what I tried to mount (I made sure the drive was connected an' 'at),

I dont understand this
^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I hope the drive was connected when you powered on the computer. Check some
cabling, jumpers etc. I know that these hot-swap drive things have problems.
Make surte that when you insert the drive is is firmly in place.

Quote:> and it froze completely.  Again, I had to reset.

this is what happens when you plug in a drive when the machine is powered.
As soon as you attach power to the drive the whole computer freezes.

Quote:> Anyway, could both of these problems indicate a problem with the
> primary hard drive?  I hope it isn't, as I don't really wanna go through
> the whole replacement routine.  Could there be a problem in my Linux
> config that would cause errors such as these. (I checked several logfiles,
> and there's nothing at all about any errors.)  If I have to replace the
> drive, I will, but I wanna rule out any software problems, first. Anybody?
> Thanks.

I dont think so.

Quote:> Jamie

MrZammler

 
 
 

Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by Estrie » Thu, 18 Apr 2002 22:07:04


Snip

Quote:> Hi, all.

> Twice recently, my machine (Mandrake 8.0) horked like there was a
> problem with the hard drive, but I'm not sure, and I'm wondering if
> anybody could think of any non-hardware problems that could cause these.

I have had a similiar problem with symbios scsi cards the only cure was to
throw the card out put in a replacment adaptec.
 
 
 

Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by Richard Pit » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 01:30:58


This may be the 'slocate' system rebuilding its database (or any other
cron scheduled event whose time has passed while your system was off)

in order for you to be able to type "locate xxx" the system builds a
database of all the files on the system - and updates it once per day.

cron - the background scheduler - checks for stuff that needs running -
and runs anything that was scheduled but not run since the last time you
turned off the system.

If you have either a slow disk system, or not enough RAM (causing
swapping/paging) the system will appear to be too busy to do anything. It
should respond eventually.

As soon as you boot, log on and run "vmstat 1" and watch the output. You
should get one line per second with various headings - watch the "free"
column and the "buff" column to see how much RAM is free and how much is
being used as disk buffer. If the buffer falls to very low numbers and
you see numbers in the "si" and "so" (swap in and swap out) columns, then
your system doesn't have enough RAM.

Same info can be seen using "top" and it will show you what process is
doing the hogging of CPU.

richard




>> Hi, all.

>> Twice recently, my machine (Mandrake 8.0) horked like there was a
>> problem with the hard drive, but I'm not sure, and I'm wondering if
>> anybody could think of any non-hardware problems that could cause
>> these.

>> Anyway, once recently, I came back to the machine to find my
>> screensaver (it was qix (the bouncy, color-changing lines) at the time)
>> completely frozen, and the hard drive access light was flashing rather
>> quickly.  The machine wouldn't respond to the mouse or any keypresses,
>> and I had to hit the reset button to get the machine working again.

> Yeap, it happens on my RH7.2 box too. Dont worry, its just some periodic
> work that needs to be done by linux. In my box it happens a few minutes
> after I turn on the machine; the hard drive works like mad, and almost
> everything comes to a halt. Just wait a few minutes, and it should
> clear. I'm sure that some linux guru can explain what exactly goes on
> then.

>> Then, just today, the machine froze completely when I tried to mount my
>> second hard drive.  I have a 20G drive as the primary slave, but it's
>> in a hot-swappable cart.  I use the drive mainly to keep backups of my
>> primary drive.  This drive has one bigass ext2 partition on it, which
>> is what I tried to mount (I made sure the drive was connected an' 'at),

> I dont understand this
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

> I hope the drive was connected when you powered on the computer. Check
> some cabling, jumpers etc. I know that these hot-swap drive things have
> problems. Make surte that when you insert the drive is is firmly in
> place.

>> and it froze completely.  Again, I had to reset.

> this is what happens when you plug in a drive when the machine is
> powered. As soon as you attach power to the drive the whole computer
> freezes.

>> Anyway, could both of these problems indicate a problem with the
>> primary hard drive?  I hope it isn't, as I don't really wanna go
>> through the whole replacement routine.  Could there be a problem in my
>> Linux config that would cause errors such as these. (I checked several
>> logfiles, and there's nothing at all about any errors.)  If I have to
>> replace the drive, I will, but I wanna rule out any software problems,
>> first. Anybody? Thanks.

> I dont think so.

>> Jamie

> MrZammler

--
Richard C. Pitt                 C.E.O. Belcarra Messaging Corp.

Embedded Linux Systems: Design, Creation, Integration
Proud sponsor of www.cd-linux.org
 
 
 

Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by James Kufrovi » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 03:10:53





>> Then, just today, the machine froze completely when I tried to
>> mount my second hard drive.  I have a 20G drive as the primary slave, but
>> it's in a hot-swappable cart.  I use the drive mainly to keep backups of
>> my primary drive.  This drive has one bigass ext2 partition on it, which
>> is what I tried to mount (I made sure the drive was connected an' 'at),

>I dont understand this
>^^^^^^^^^^^^^

>I hope the drive was connected when you powered on the computer. Check some
>cabling, jumpers etc. I know that these hot-swap drive things have problems.
>Make surte that when you insert the drive is is firmly in place.

        OK, I'll try to explain things in more detail.

        Memory? I have 256M.  It never did this back when I had 128M or
less, fwiw.

        Secondly. my drives are IDE, so the problem can't very well be a
SCSI adapter. :-/ My primary master is jumpered to "master," and the slave
to "slave."  Both are connected when I start the machine. If the slave
isn't connected, but BIOS complains that it can't even detect the master,
probably since it's jumpered as 'master" but there's only one drive
connected. So, yes, they're both connected at boot.  It won't boot
otherwise.  I usually disconnect the slave after bootup unless I'm doing a
backup.  If something were to happen to the machine in general, it would
be rather bad if the backup drive were connected at the time, no?

        The rack that holds the removable drive has a lock on it, that
disconnects the data and power to the cart that holds the drive so that it's
electronically disconnected when the drive is inserted or removed, and
the drive can't be removed if there are electrons (in any form) running
though it.

        One time, I disconnected the swappable drive, but I had forgotten
to unmount its partition. This caused all sorts of read errors when
slocate ran that night, and filled my logs with about 200 000 lines of the
same message over and over.  Good thing I have separate filesystems, no?  
No lockup, though.  I just cleaned up the logs, and all was well.

        Anyway, the problems that I just mentioned (the lockups) all
happened after this incident where I disconnected the mounted partition.  
Maybe that somehow horked the primary drive, or the system in general?

        Oh, and the slocate cron job (along with all the other utilities)
is scheduled to run at 4am, when the machine is otherwise idle.

        I'll give that vmstat thing a whirl, next time I reboot.  

        Thanks to all who replied.

Jamie

--
Egg, eggie (at) sunlink (dot) net
(when replying, please use this address, not the one in the header

*Code:                      | Perl Geek Code, version .01:
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Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by Jean-David Beye » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 04:03:07


James Kufrovich wrote (in part):
Quote:

>         Oh, and the slocate cron job (along with all the other utilities)
> is scheduled to run at 4am, when the machine is otherwise idle.

>         I'll give that vmstat thing a whirl, next time I reboot.

One think you might check is that some distributions, such as later
versions of Red Hat, have thought to help users who do not keep their
machines up 24/7: it automatically runs all those cron jobs right away
(IIRC, or pretty soon) when you boot if you are overdue for running
them. I managed to turn that off as it annoyed me. I think it is
called "anacron."

--
 .~.  Jean-David Beyer           Registered Linux User 85642.
 /V\                             Registered Machine    73926.
/( )\ Shrewsbury, New Jersey     http://counter.li.org
^^-^^ 3:00pm up 21 days, 3:15, 4 users, load average: 5.03, 4.92, 4.54

 
 
 

Is this a hardware problem or a Linux problem?

Post by Dave Bro » Fri, 19 Apr 2002 04:55:56



> I have had a similiar problem with symbios scsi cards the only cure was to
> throw the card out put in a replacment adaptec.

How many symbios scsi cards did you replace with that replacement adaptec.
If it's one, then don't recommend changing brands/chipsets just based on
your experience of one.  I use Tekram's, which use the Symbios chip;
quite reliable and better value than Adaptec as far as I can see.

--
Dave Brown  Austin, TX

 
 
 

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