May 08, 2012

RIP Arcturus?

I think that Arcturus, my torrent machine, is dying. Ten days ago Deneb, the Windows Home Server, complained that it couldn't back up Arcturus because of disk problems.

At the time I assumed it was just a file that was busy, so I deactivated the error, assuming it would get fixed the next day. But this afternoon I was logged into Deneb, and it said that it had been ten days since it had been able to back up Arcturus.

So per its recommendation, I tried doing a disk check. And it told me it couldn't be completed. I did some messing around and finally figured out how to get it into safe mode, but even there the disk check couldn't completely. Finally I figured out that after it fails, if you tell it again to do one, it will schedule a disk check during the next boot.

Well, it found some bad sectors. And fixed some things. And then it rebooted, so I tried another disk check from within WinXP -- which failed again. Another reboot and disk check there, it fixed some other stuff. And after XP came up, disk check still failed.

As I write this it's trying yet again. This time, though, I told it to look for bad sectors.

This isn't a catastrophe. There isn't anything on that computer I care about -- except my torrent program, and all the records about which torrents it is currently supporting. I don't have the slightest idea where uTorrent puts that. (For all I know it's in the registry.)

But it probably means that the HD is dying, and I'm going to have to get a replacement.

Or maybe not: this check isn't over yet, but it hasn't found anything wrong so far. Maybe, just maybe, this time it'll get it right.

UPDATE: Man, a bad-block scan sure does take along time. 72% and still going. But it's stage 4 of 5, and it hasn't complained about anything yet, so that's a good thing.

UPDATE: Four hours it took to complete an absolutely full disk check. And after the reboot, the XP disk check said the drive was fine.

So I tried the backup again, and it failed again. Looks like I need to get a new computer.

UPDATE: This isn't really a disaster. If I was going to pick one piece of equipment around here to be the one to die, that's the one I'd choose.

UPDATE: Order placed for a replacement machine.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 02:31 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 418 words, total size 2 kb.

1 I had a drive die slowly once. It was in TiVo. Symptoms were pretty similar, although by the time I caught it overran replacement lists and the bad blocks became visible. Rescuing it was next to impossible due to any kind of read causing too many parasitic reads for remapped sectors and recalibrations. Took a day to read a gigabyte.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at May 08, 2012 05:59 PM (5OBKC)


Well, there's nothing on it that I care about, and in any case it was fully backed up ten days ago. The only things that have changed since then are uTorrent's records, and big deal.

It doesn't even store the files I download or the ones I'm seeding. Those are all on Deneb, the WHS.

If it outright dies, all that it means is that I don't have the ability to seed for a while.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 08, 2012 07:09 PM (+rSRq)

3 Mother of god, this is cheap.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at May 08, 2012 08:37 PM (5OBKC)

4 I've been looking at getting a $500 HP notebook just to have a spare.  They deliver more than you would have got for three times the price three years ago.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at May 08, 2012 09:45 PM (PiXy!)


As soon as I saw this one and read the specs, I didn't really read much further. It's not like this is a very challenging assignment.

The existing machine is a single-CPU, something called a "Turion", running about 1.6 GHz, with 900 megabytes of RAM. The new machine will be very pleasant by comparison.

But I need to come up with a name for it. Maybe another star from the Pleiades...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 08, 2012 09:59 PM (+rSRq)

6 Replacing the whole machine?  Why not just reformat the drive and restore from backup?

Posted by: Mauser at May 08, 2012 11:08 PM (cZPoz)

7 uTorrent puts all your stats into some .dat files in its own folder. If you copy the entire uTorrent folder and all your torrent files it should have no problem running on your new machine.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at May 08, 2012 11:31 PM (AJZdn)

8 Mauser, the physical HD is beginning to fail. Reformatting won't repair that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 09, 2012 05:03 AM (+rSRq)

9 The new computer will be delivered on Monday.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 09, 2012 10:22 PM (+rSRq)

10 Well, I suppose you could stick another drive in it and use it for some other non-mission critical thing.

Posted by: Mauser at May 10, 2012 02:15 AM (cZPoz)

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