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Swapping hard drive boot disks between machinesKeeping FreeBSD ports updated

Disk Error Diagnosis

A little while ago, I noticed that I was getting disk error messages on the Linux machine (gold). Disconcertingly, the errors were occurring on the newest disk drive, a Western Digital 120GB drive. The kind of errors I was seeing were like so:

Sep 21 12:01:57 gold kernel: hdb: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReadySeekComplete Error }
Sep 21 12:01:57 gold kernel: hdb: dma_intr: error=0x84 {DriveStatusError BadCRC }
Sep 21 12:01:59 gold kernel: hdb: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReadySeekComplete Error }
Sep 21 12:01:59 gold kernel: hdb: dma_intr: error=0x84 { DriveStatusError BadCRC }

I was also finding disk errors under Windows 2000. Since I had two disk drives on the primary IDE channel, my first thought was that this was a failing disk drive. The device was still under warranty, so I emailed the supplier, Komplett, asking for an RMA.

After sending the email, I decided to google for the disk error text. I found a number of hits, some of which advised that the disk drive was bad, others that this was a sign of a defective IDE cable. The IDE cable I was using was a fancy round one, designed to aid free circulation of air within the case. However, I did have a spare standard ribbon IDE cable, so there was nothing to lose in trying out a different cable.

To my surprise, the errors did not recur, despite all my efforts to cause maximal disk traffic on the Western Digital drive. So much for spending extra money on up-market IDE cables.

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Swapping hard drive boot disks between machinesKeeping FreeBSD ports updated