[SATLUG] Back to Basics

Don Wright satlug at sbcglobal.net
Fri Dec 26 13:58:01 CST 2008

Got another hard drive at the last computer show to upgrade an older box
that had been running well, but needed more room for CD and DVD images. (The
experienced will recognize the foreshadowing of impending doom.)

Did the usual rolling upgrade: tested new drive with smartmon tools, copied
the existing data partition (80G) to the new disk, the existing / and /home
(20G) to the previous 80G, made sure the jumpers were correct, and fired it
up. Oopsie! Got out the Debian rescue disk and reinstalled GRUB to the MBR.
Success! System is happy with much more room to play in. Download a few more
disk images for the SATLUG booth.

Next morning, SETI at home monitor says it isn't there anymore. Won't respond
to SSH remote login. Walk out to the garage and see the dreaded yellow light
stuck on solid. Hard drive I/O failure - big time. Push reset and Linux
can't mount the new drive. Power off, unplug and check, replug. Drive comes
up, fsck good, all happy again. (Yeah, sure.)

Next morning - deja vu all over again. Go through the dance to bring it back
up and begin planning how to migrate back to the previous drives. Finally
think about the cable I've been pulling and pushing for so many days. Swap
the IDE cable for another that happens to be nearby. So far so good.

It's now been enough days that I think the problem is fixed. For now,

The moral of the story: Check the basics, especially the cheap basics,
first. Cables are cheap, and prone to failure in strange ways.

May your new year be a happy one.  --Don

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