Dodged a bullet in the shape of a hard drive

A few months ago I had trouble installing a newer version of Linux on my computer. This is my main machine and houses the vast majority of our data. After the install failed I tried a different distribution of Linux. While most everything worked fine, there was one issue that haunted me. The hard drive partition that we have our photos stored on would not mount (I could not read from it). In fact as soon as I tried to mount the partition the whole machine would lock up instantly. Two other partitions on that drive worked without any problems.

I was hoping that the newer version of Kubuntu would take care of the problem. After installing it I was still getting the same behavior I had experienced with Slackware; instant lockup as soon as I tried to touch the partition.

In preparation for a new external hard drive purchase I decided to dig into this problem.

With the drive completely unmounted (even the partitions that were working fine) I ran an fsck check on the partitions. Since the partition is an ext3 file system I ran the following command:

sudo fsck.ext3 /dev/sdb2

Western Digital External Hard DriveSudo gives me root privileges. fsck.ext3 is the fs (file system) ck (check) specific for ext3 formatted partitions. The /dev/sdb2 means that I ran it on my second drive and second partition of that drive.

After putting in my root password I got a bunch of output that said:

Free blocks count wrong for group #XX ...

It asked it I wanted to fix it and I replied yes to the couple of hundred requests.

Apparently the drive was not cleanly unmounted. By running fsck I allowed it to clean up the corrupted table that said where all the data lived. While my drive is a traditional internal drive, this is a good lesson as to why you should always eject USB drives, or any type of media, before popping them out of your computer. That is true for whatever operating system you are running.

I am pleased to have recovered the 28 GB of photos that I had on there. I have most of them backed up in various locations, but do not have a full backup in one place. Since today is Thanksgiving I guess I should say I am thankful for having finally gotten to the bottom of this and that tomorrow is Black Friday and I am able to pick up an external HD that will back up all the computers on my network with room to spare.

Now, where is that coupon code for those online backup solutions?