Been liking my new setup after fixing things when my hard drive began to go down. When I installed Arch on this computer, I began to notice problems right away that I couldn’t explain. For instances, it would hang badly. During compiles and heavy-ish workload it would stutter and freeze for most of the time. I originally attributed this to the older ATi card (a ATi Mobility Radeon IGP 345M with 64MB Shared memory) that I had a little trouble setting up. I wasn’t sure if the trouble came from an incorrect configuration or if this legacy-ish card just couldn’t handle the load. When these hangs occurred they would last about five seconds and normally responsive tasks like moving the scrollbar, became unresponsive. I considered that this might also have to do with KDE 4, thinking that this was just too much of a workload for a Pentium 4 2.66 GHz computer with 500 MB. One day, when I went to change my password:
usermod -p secret-password root
and got this interesting response:
usermod: cannot lock /etc/shadow; try again later.
I knew something wasn’t quite right ;). I rebooted into the Parted Magic CD and did an extended S.M.A.R.T. test:
smartctl -t long /dev/sda
And when I looked at the results an hour later:
smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda
I discovered that their were 48 errors that began to start two weeks ago. Thats not good by any stretch of the imagination :). I did a backup right then (that failed) and ordered a new hard drive. The new drive is running great (also did a smartctl test on it when I first got it) and no more hangs and glitches. Turns out that faulty hardware can cause all types of input/output problems through the motherboard. The new drive (I had hoped) I thought might allow me to be able to run KDE again but to no luck. The drive I got is a good drive and considerably better than the previous but programs are just taking too long to load. Even with JFS (which is a great file system to help reduce load) KDE is out of the realm of possibility. I’ve been using LXDE and think I will stick with it. It runs great and has what I need through it… though can be a little boring at times :D.