1 Comment

Back in Business

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.

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About Todd Partridge (Gently)

Good times, good people, good fun.

One comment on “Back in Business

  1. Uh oh. I’m hoping my KDE4 lag and temporary freezing is simply due to an aging system…
    Time to whip out a test.

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