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What to do? Error:(Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read) while doing inode scan.)



Hi folks, I have come sort of corruption on my hard disk, but it is
difficult to find documentation on how to deal with it.

The system is an old AMD K6/400 running Redhat 7.2 with 2.4.9.  Disk is
clipped to 33Mb due to old disk controller, and is running ext3.

Some time back I suffered a number of cases where the machine hard locked up
and I had to power cycle it to get control back.  However, I recently
suspect disk corruption and did a manual fsck in single user mode.  What
this came back with was a number of errors as shown below (possibly one per
hard reboot....?)

Pass 1: Checking inodes, block, and sizes
Error reading block xxxxxxx (Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted
in short read) while doing inode scan.

I don't recall the exact block numbers (seem to have misplaced my notes
where I wrote them down...).  However, they were reproducible every time I
ran fsck

So the question is how do I take this forward?  I assume that it means a
dead sector?  Is there any way to find out which files occupy that sector so
that I can be suspicious of their quality?  Can I mark the sector as bad and
recover any of the data?  Is this definitely a symptom of a failing disk?
(seem unlikely bearing in mind the age and history of the disk).  fsck
simply ignored the problem and it wasn't obvious that there was any way to
make it correct the problem (I'm running manually, not with -y)

The only hint I really have that something is wrong is my backup via tar
always ends with:

          tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors

(As an aside is tar a satisfactory method of doing a full backup of an ext3
filesystem?)

Pointers and preferably notes as to what to be careful not to do would be
really appreciated (this is a live system and I would rather not need to
test my backups).

Thanks all

Ed W








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