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Old 24th December 2010
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
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What are you rambling about? if you believe your disk is failing you will know.. errors will appear in the dmesg when you're reading/writing to or from it.

You can use dd(1) to do arbitrary I/O like that, no filesystem needs to exist on the drive.

Assuming the disk is sd2, use the raw character device (..unbuffered) to avoid kernel caches.. rsd2c spans the entire disk, ignore the read error when it reaches the end of the disk.

$ sudo dd if=/dev/rsd2c of=/dev/null bs=64k

If it succeeds you should not see any kernel messages (..white text on blue), this isn't an absolute guarantee though.

Note; that most drives cache reads & writes in hardware... and internally remap bad sectors, this can cause "soft errors" which are detected in the kernel.

Other factors include bad IDE/SATA cables, overloaded power supplies, physical turbulence (..shaking a laptop roughly), solar flares, and C-x M-c M-butterfly..
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