23 June, 2009

Περί ελέγχου του σκληρού δίσκου

This is a post documenting efforts to recover data from a failed hard drive. The drive had a reiserfs filesystem and failed suddenly. I can't mount it or in any other way access my data, so I will be documenting here the investigations…

Smartmon Tools:

It is possible to use the smartmon tools to check the health of the hard drive…

  1. Check the health of the drive

    smartctl –H –d ata /dev/sda (if PASSED this is a good indication)

  2. One can do more elaborate tests

    smartctl -t short –d ata /dev/sda (or)

    smartctl -t long –d ata /dev/sda

      smartctl -l selftest –d ata /dev/sda (to display results)


  1. And can also display the following

    smartctl -a /dev/sda

    smartctl -A /dev/sda

Gives read failures by going for short and extended periods offline. Not good.


    reiserfsck –check /dev/sda

This gives out a warning that there is some sort of hardware failure. (Will get back to this later)


Now I moved it over to windows and tried tools offered by Seagate (it turns out that some of their drives are shipped with buggy firmware and this can cause an unexpected crash. The idea is to run their diagnostic tests and see if they pass. Tried with the Seagate web-site and it turns out that for my serial no firmware update is required. I run the updater utility (to update the firmware on my other drive) and it also updated the firmware in the messed up one as well. Some of the status messages changed but no change whatsoever on the drive accessibility. I do get errors with all their diagnostic tests (long/short dst, generic dst).


After looking around a little it seems that for people having problems with their drives one way to fix them is to replace their PCB boards. This is probably not an option for me as it seems that this is necessary when the drives are destroyed by a power surge or some anomaly. In my case the drive works "perfectly" (i.e. rotates) and the filesystems are recognized.


It is now time to investigate into bad blocks and the potential of, at least, partially recovering some data.


  1. Smartmon Tools
  2. Linux Journal Article
  3. Ubuntu Data Recovery


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