[nSLUG] Re: e2fsck and "System Maintainance Mode" (Help?)

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Sat Nov 11 00:33:18 AST 2017

Good news is that I took Douglas' advice, booted from an install DVD
and ran e2fsck.  The details of what it did scrolled away too fast for
me to read but it appears to have "fixed" the problem. (Posting now
from that box.)

me> When fsck offers to go into "System Maintainance Mode" at boot
me> time after finding a HD problem on hda4, mount reports that hda4
me> is
me>               /dev/hda4 on / type ext2 (rw)
me> fsck also suggests trying "e2fsck -v -y /dev/hda4".
me> But man fsck says it's dangerous to use fsck on a mounted file system.
me> Is "System Maintainance Mode" special in some way?

Douglas Guptill <dguptill at accesswave.ca> wrote:

> Yes.  The boot is not complete.

Well, yeah.  The / fs on /hda4 had "errors" yet appeared to be
mounted.  Mount(1) also reported /dev/hda3 as mounted yet umount said
it wasn't.  So "not complete" doesn't illuminate what's going on --
responses are contradictory. Is the kernel reading from the HD fs when
it's not mounted but pretending that it is?  Don't get it.

> I would try booting from a different system (live CD, rescue disk,
> i.e. NOT the system on /dev/hda4.  Then try the fsck command.

Did that.  All appears to be well.  I wish I could have seen which
files' inodes were improperly sharing a block.  Now I don't know what
fsck did to "fix" it.

Then  "George N. White III" <gnwiii at gmail.com> wrote:

> The first step is to determine if the drive is unhealthy.  It is
> pointless to spend time trying to extend the life of a failing disk.

The HD isn't as old as the machine.  But perhaps it's time to swap in
the little-used IDE drive I have here.  Also don't know what triggered
an unattended reboot overnight.  There have been no new weirdnesses

There is a curiosity that I've posted about before and no one knew much
about it, probably an idiosyncrasy of this particular release of

Machine came with an IDE HD, had mobo plugs for SATA.  When the
previous HD had problems, I took George's approach and replaced it but
all I could get quickly was a used SATA drive.  It all worked as
expected except for two anomalies:

   + Copying from a USB device to the HD has some kind of buffering
     problem.  Large transfers bog the CPU down so that things like
     mouse response is 10s of seconds until the transfer is complete. 

   + Playing a DVD video causes the clock to lose time, ca. 10 minutes
     for a typical feature length movie.

None of those was the case with the IDE drive.  I'm guessing something
weird about the IBM mobo hack to support the then-new SATA that wasn't
as fully tested as it should have been.

All seems well for the moment but I'll put setting up the newish IDE
drive on the front burner.

- Mike

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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