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My disk has a few bad sectors and has already failed the SMART tests. It obviously is going down. It gets remounted to read only and I have to fsck and reboot all over again. Is it safe for me to remove the errors=remount-ro part from the fstab file?

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Did you consider keeping the file system in ro state, connect you backup device, synchronize and dispose the failing drive? –  Marco Oct 31 '12 at 9:22
    
I am getting a new hard disk installed this weekend.It's long time from now and rebooting every now and then is really frustrating. Wanted to know if this could 'calm' things down till I replace the drive. Yeah I did backup my data. :) –  Phani Kumar Oct 31 '12 at 9:38

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Quick note: I assume when you say its "failed the SMART tests", you mean that it has one or more pre-fail attributes failing now. Not that a long self-test failed. If its just back blocks, then you just need to get them remapped, and your problem is solved—even without a new disk. (But still have backups!)

Is it safe? Well, define safe... I mean, you're continuing to use a disk that (via SMART failure) is telling you it expects severe data loss within the next day.

errors=remount-ro is intended to prevent potential bad outcomes of attempting to continue full use of a corrupted filesystem:

  • You could get kernel panics. Relatively safe (well, you may lose work in progress when the system panics).
  • You could get massive filesystem corruption. This is the real big one; you could lose a lot of files when e.g., the kernel loses track of the inode backing /home. Or when you get two files "sharing" the same sectors. Fsck should "fix" this regardless, but you may wind up with a good part of your filesystem sitting around in lost+found, and many of the files corrupted from overlapping sectors.

I hope you already have a backup. I hope you've tested that backup.

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When my root HDD get damaged, the indicator just kept blinking, and the system stuck,

A temporary solution is try to fill the damaged cell blocks, first find all bad blocks with badblocks, then use hdparm to tell the HDD stop using that block.

But that would cost a great time, I don't it worth it.

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Well, this is the rare case when I accept using DOS or Windows. ;-) Sector-level operations like these are ideally done with Victoria and other tools, lots of which are available on common boot-CDs like Hiren's Boot CD and others. Yet another inside tip: Victoria sometimes FAILS when a HDD was locked by ATA password, and keeps complaining it cannot access the drive. I could solve this by aid of its derivative, MHDD, which (make sure to use DisPWD option, not "Unlock"!) could remove the password permanently and made the drive available and readable for any tool. –  syntaxerror Dec 3 at 17:05

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