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Old 20th December 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 507

I'd first check the hardware, since hard drives used in laptops are quite fragile and don't last particularly long (even with good care). I'd suggest one of two ways: boot from a live CD and check whether you can read data from it, or move it to a desktop for more thorough checking. For the latter you can use something like smartmontools; it is not perfect, but can give you a good idea if the disk is functional.

In either case, see if dmesg picks it up, mount it, and see if you can read data from it. If you can, you probably have picked up a bad sector, If not, your drive is probably toast.

You can relocate bad sectors by using "dd" to write some character to the entire drive. That wipes out the entire drive, and you then have to format and reinstall everything. But if you can read from the drive you can pull off the important stuff first. I'd still replace the drive -- they are relatively inexpensive, and losing a drive unexpectedly is really a pain.

If you can't read from it at all, I hope you have a recent backup and the money for a new drive.

Note: I am not a NetBSD user, so I won't offer software advice. But this sure sounds like a bad sector to me, and if you can, I'd replace the drive.
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